Tuesday, March 01, 2016

A bit too far...

Another symptom I am struggling to adjust to is that my joints will extend further than they are supposed to if not supported. I find this difficult to explain.  For example, if I forget and cross one or both legs beneath me, where my foot is tucked under, my ankle will eventually ... stretch ... and hyperextend.  The pain is unbelievable as is the ICK factor of grabbing hold of my foot and very, very, very carefully move it back the way it should be.

I first noticed this in bed.  The most difficultly I have is rolling over on my side and having an arm flop partly off the bed.  I wake up in agonizing pain because my elbow joint has hyperextended and have to very, very, very carefully take a hold of it with my other hand and bend my arm back the way it should be.

When I am sleeping, it hurts to have any of my joints straight, especially my hands.  So, I try to have them all bent and supported by pillows or the plain cotton blanket I use to keep warm when my skin turns icy.

This makes sleeping work.
Something else I have to manage.

The ankle problem is newish ... perhaps a few months.  So I really stink at NOT tucking my legs beneath me on the couch.  I think it wasn't so much a problem before because I spent more time lying in the GREEN chair than sitting on the couch, which I find more exhausting.  But ever since the pacemaker surgery, I have been trying to sit up more.  Honestly, I don't know why.

My right knee was the first loose joint and becomes that way when I am really tired ... extra tired.  The arm things in bed started last year, I think.  The ankles this fall.

Sometimes, when I am at the symphony sitting in a chair, I have to be careful how I cross my legs.  At the Embassy Theatre, there is really not enough room to cross my knees, so I cross them at my ankles.  But the weight of one foot atop the other can flex the joint too much.

Often the problem is the weight of my limb itself.  By this I mean that if I rest my feet up on the coffee table for too long, my ankle will begin to bend inward.  UGH.  It is painful and just plain WIGS ME OUT!

It was weird, during the intake assessment of the integrated specialist for her to ask me about this very problem.  When we first discussed it, I immediately said, "Nope, not a problem."  I think I was a bit relieved that something on her list got checked off in the "No" column.  But the problem has become more and more an issue as my joints have begun to extend a bit too far.  Even my fingers.  Grabbing something and holding it for a long time can overextend those joints.  Of course, they are the easiest to physically move back in the right direction, even if it hurts like the dickens to do so.  The plus about my fingers is that I can hold the entire finger in my hand and squeeze.  Something about the pressure helps mitigate the pain of the overly stressed joint.

As far as the doctor has talked about it, the issue is another autoimmune problem and there is ... wait for it ... no treatment.  Just vigilance on my part.  Gosh, it is ever so hard to stop crossing your legs and tucking them beneath you when you've been doing that for nearly five decades.  I see her again on the 22nd of this month and thought that this would be the main talking point I would like to have ... the main issue to ponder.

What more can I do when my joints have extended a bit too far?
What more can I do to prevent them from doing so?
What more can I do to manage the pain?
What more can I do to swallow yet another "new normal"?

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