Girl, Dislocated

They got my arm back in its socket using some kind of medieval torture technique–me lying face down on the bed with my dislocated arm hanging off the edge, the nurse pulling down on the arm, the doctor pushing down on my shoulder blade with both his hands, and both of them telling me to relax–but at least they got it back in without making me play Russian roulette with any more IV medications, so I’m not complaining. Plus, not only did they get it back in, but all the rolling around on the bed must have given my hair a sexy dishevelled look because the X-ray tech who did my post-reduction films said I had pretty hair! From Girl, Dislocated

Not dislocating things is an art. I have spent months in physio learning how to notice when a joint begins to dislocate so that it doesn’t follow through all the way. Partial dislocations (also called subluxations) are pretty painful and annoying occurrences. Some should be negligible (there’s a big difference between ribs shifting a millimetre and ribs shifting a centimetre) but often don’t feel insignificant and others should be more serious than I allow them to be (such as the time I went into anaphylactic shock, fell down the stairs, dislocated my shoulder and almost dislocated – what difference a degree or two can make –  a few other things and had great difficulty figuring out how to make my Epi-Pen-still-in-the-box work).

It’s easy to fixate on something like World of Warcraft and trying to make it work for me. It’s harder to think about the twenty four hours that are in a day and what else I can and want to fill them with. My current strategy is that health comes first. I put things back the moment they start to move out of place, a seemingly insignificant habit that has greatly cut down on A&E visits. I make time to stop and rest, I make time to sit down before I faint and I try my utmost to find a balance between doing things without overdoing things. The result is that my once very visible illness has become much less visible and severe. I can push to get up the hill and live with the tumbling down that always follows or I can stick to even roads and leisurely strolling.

It’s much harder to maintain a semblance of health than it is to maintain a semblance of life. It’s difficult to stop before it’s required. Strapped into an MRI this week I spent 30 minutes listening to horribly loud hospital earphone music whilst fighting the sensation created by an optical illusion that I am falling, I thought about the A&E trips and hospital stays and consultant appointments and was content to have most of that behind me. DIY management works well for me. I now stop before it’s required and it’s a good decision.

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