Not everything is as it seems… a picture in the morning of the day my body betrayed me at the museum.
I can barely type because my right forearm aches. So do the back of my hands, my elbows, my fingers, my shoulders and my wrists. The feeling is akin to when you sprain a muscle badly and then it’s cold outside. But all over.
On Sunday, I found myself standing in the crowded entrance hall of the Natural History Museum, my knees and hips seizing up, panicking about how I would get home when I could barely walk. Tears building up and glistening in my eyes. My back hunching and curling as my knees buckled further.
I wasn’t able to walk out of the museum, I had to shuffle. I painfully lowered myself down each stair one foot at a time while clinging to the bannister with my achy fingers. Every person who jostled or nudged or shoved me as they hurried past sent another wave of agony through my suddenly immobile body.
The pain in my joints was not new. The swiftness with which it overtook my body was. The disruption of my mobility was.
It took me a long time to get home that day and I had to admit this week that I need to start carrying a cane. I cried a lot over that. I’m 30. I don’t want to use a walking cane. Mum suggested getting a tall umbrella to lean on but that’s just as bad. The problem isn’t the item itself – it’s the fact that my body won’t always do what I want it to.
Soon a height-adjustable fold up walking cane will arrive for me. I think it’s probably too much to hope it will never come out of my bag, but I do hope that its use is incredibly sparse.
The cane is rainbow coloured, though. So at least it’s not black.
My knees and my back and my ankles and my feet are all stiff and sore today. It feels like you could snap pieces off me.
I try to keep a smile on my face for work. I try to make a joke out of my situation. But last night I had to order a cane and I cried for hours. And I don’t look forward to the conversations when it arrives in the mail at work.
People are already obsessed with my desk. A toy to them. It’s motorised so I can stand when the pressure is too much on my back and sit when it’s too much on my knees. But to everyone else it’s a shiny gizmo and more than one person has told me they’re jealous.
My body is a novelty. I just wish it were a fun one.