Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

The cat's coat is soft and lovely and today it's positively gleaming. Now he can shed as much hair as he damn well likes on the carpets, but at least it'll be clean! However, as a result of bending to wash and dry him, which, as I explained, was hardly a major task, I woke up even stiffer than usual with pain in my lower back and right up the sides of my torso and into my shoulders and arms. From years of experience, I know it will take days of stretching and rest to unknot.

Yet, if I were reading that and wasn't inside my own body to know better, it sounds like a little bit of ache and stiffness: something one can "buck up" and ignore.

Honestly, the only way I can explain the back pain is that my torso feels like it's broken in half and, it feels like my spine isn't strong enough to hold the top of me upright. The pain is always much more disabling than is sounds. In addition to the aching, which is actually all over pain at a level that can't be ignored; distraction doesn't work and it doesn't respond to painkillers, one also feels generally unwell, more often that not with nausea, exhaustion (despite just having got up), and a general malaise akin to that you'd have when you're wiped out by a bout of bad flu. You feel so ill that even lying still takes supreme effort.

Walking to the kitchen or the loo takes supreme effort too as one feels like one's weight has just been trebled, one's legs are made of rubberised lead and you're dragging a ton weight behind you. Such simple movements make me breathless. And when you've felt like that every other, or every third day, or even once a week, for 15+ years, you've really run out of ways to buck up and carry on.

But the sun was out, so one tries.

(And, of course, the mere fact that one tries one's best not to be floored by these symptoms means that one looks capable and, consequently, you're judged to have nothing at all wrong with you, because your legs do, in fact, still exist.)

The gardner came to cut the lawn and I'd not met his new dog yet. I do so miss mine, so I asked to meet her. Of course, I knew I'd have mixed feelings, but what I wasn't expecting was that she would be a facsimile of my dog, who I'd had to put down just a few short months ago (against my wishes); my best friend joined at my hip. Just a little darker. Same temperament. Same eyes. Same ears. Same nose. Same tail. And as I took the lead she just naturally took me for a walk. I wanted to hug her, but I couldn't. I went cold. To say that this devastated me all over again, would be the understatement of the century. I felt a pain like a kick in the chest. A real pain, an ache, a longing that I can neither shake nor stand.

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