Invisible?

Two days ago it was very hot and windy. Then the change came and it suddenly became cold. Which was nice as the heat was awful, however I am still learning to listen to my body and I still get shocked at how much pain I am in and how many things happen in the 6 or so hours prior to the change.

If it was the other way around then I could respond to the weather change by keeping low and staying out of harm’s way, in the hope that I won’t get hurt, but because my body freaks out before the weather change, I don’t know about it until it is too late. Sometimes if I am resting at the time, it is subtle; … Frank starts aching deep inside my foot, or my hands start to ache. It is quite a specific kind of pain because it is so deep and strong when I am doing nothing. It hurts like hell, but at the same time no extra damage is being done, and if I go and have a really hot bath straight away and put myself to bed I can get through it and come out no worse than I was before.

But if I am out and about then it is another story. Yesterday all I did was open a teabag sachet (who needs each teabag to be in it’s own sachet anyway???), but we are staying in a hotel as we so often do with my husband’s work and sport travels (which is a perfect combo as I get to leave the house and have a change of scenery and spend the day writing in a cool pretty hotel room), but there was no warning. I did what I have done a thousand times before, and I simply opened a paper sachet. My hands are still able to play with clay and fabric and I need my hands to keep writing and creating things for therapy but to do such a simple task and feel the twang and every millimetre of that tendon from the back of the end of my thumb all the way up into my arm, twist and twang and distort was excruciating and in less than a second the use of my thumb to create anything decent went out the window for the next few days.

No warning, just bam… oops, …out of action for the day! (no, the weather report is no help, it has a lot to do with barometric pressure rather than temperature change so it doesn’t always happen).

This is where the invisible part of “invisible illness” comes into play. There is nothing to show you, nothing to patch up, nothing to even see happen. For those around me all they saw was me open a teabag and then say “oh dear” in excruciating pain… nothing else. They don’t get it, especially strangers.

img_5751So what photo do I share on this blog? What pic do I put on Twitter or Instagram?

Here you are… I have just taken a pic of my thumb… can you see the pain? …see the damage? …see that the tendon is angry and inflamed and burning?

Nope? Why not? Aren’t you looking closely enough? Don’t you care? …

I know, you are looking and I know you care, and you are dong nothing wrong as there is simply nothing to see. Especially as yesterday you saw that thumb roll out some clay or hold my husband’s hand or a fork when I ate, and it didn’t look any different … but today it is sore, deeply sore, and it doesn’t work very well at all.

I am thankful for ultrasounds and MRIs because they can see, but I can’t have one or both of those every time I hurt myself, which is mostly every day, multiple times a day. I rolled my ankle a week ago and still need pain meds to sleep at night.

I can dress that picture up as much as I can… add filters and change the colour and smooth out the wrinkles… but none of it will show what is happening inside… it is all invisible…

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