Tag Archives: pain

Anti-inflammatories, inflammatory comments, and gym-going businessmen

I feel like I came back to sit in my apartment. Like all the freedom and beautiful things I experienced in the city by the sea got crushed under the forced and weary footsteps I took yesterday on a quest to find wheels. Like the cheap wine and post election revolutionary stirrings in the street were not worth the lack of mobility and freedom I am experiencing right now, in this moment. I haven’t felt this much physical pain since I left Edmonton and thought I could just go to the dog park and walk around with my Mum like I used to. Boots laced up tightly and dog drooling all over the beige spring earth. I was wrong.

And I was wrong to expect that the Rheumatologist I came back in time to see would have anything to say that I haven’t already heard: take anti-inflammatories, here’s a prescription, oh they hurt your stomach and you don’t want to damage your kidneys? Well take this other thing at the same time, so it counters the side effects. Its all about quality of life. You want to have a normal life right? Well, take these things and walk like I do until you can’t anymore. Then have your bones cut out and reconstructed and then walk around like I do some more.

I don’t like ableism, the idea that the definition of a good life is one that mirrors that of the normal, jogging businessman. The guy who lifts weights after driving to the gym. The kind of guy who carries all his grocery bags in one hand. Its oppressive. And he, incidentally, is also the type of guy who cuts you off in the grocery store because he’s in a rush to go home and grab his ergonomic shoes and extra breathing exercise clothes and make it to the gym tonight.

I don’t like ableism, the training and practice in medicine that aims at contorting you, your body, your reality to fit the norm. The medicine that makes you conform. The physio who says, I’m closing your file, you need to stop seeing me and get on with your life. As though doing exercises that strengthen me and make me feel balanced in my movements are a temporary, post-crisis experience; the time in a wheelchair a negative period in an otherwise bi-pedal, therefore, positive life.

I can’t sit, I can’t stand, when I lie down the nagging god damn pain makes my breathing short, my muscles contract, and makes me scowl. This is what I get from their normal.

Why should I struggle getting everywhere I go? To let doctors feel that they have succeeded? To make people in the public feel more comfortable with my body? To feel like I made it back to the enrobbing comfort of the false norm?

How about instead of me walking around just so I can get on the metro and hopefully have the mobility required to buy groceries, get fresh air, see things and get to a job, we just put elevators in the metro so that I can use some sort of wheeled vehicle to do the same stuff? I promise having crips in public places doesn’t contaminate the public experience. I promise we won’t roll over your toes or force our ways of being on you, like you have on us. I promise you’ll stop feeling so uncomfortable the more you see us in your spaces. I promise that diversity of existence is a positive thing.

Swimming and tired, but not tired of swimming

I just went for an amazing swim at a pool in Burnaby near my bro’s house.


As I looked through the sun window in the ceiling, feeling my arms go higher and higher each stroke, and focusing on relaxing the tension stored in my muscles I remembered that I had written about swimming while I was in Edmonton, but hadn’t been sure if I wanted to post it. I wrote in a frustrated frame of mind and it deals with a personal struggle I am going through right now. I deliberated between thinking ‘that my business’, and saying to myself, ‘I’ve read some really personal things on tumblr that have shed light on my reality and have been like a reassuring hug by a stranger’, so I decided to share..

Swimming in the pool I used to swim in as a kid, the diagonal windows reflecting my arms-only stroke and spending more time in the hot tub than doing laps, the activity I used to be able to do for hours, it hit me: my bod aint like it used to be. I was operated on, casted, splinted physio’d OT’d in order to make me as mobile as possible. And I was, for less than ten years. I grew accustomed to, with a little bit of pushing, functioning just below the level of stamina and energy as an average ordinary. Hiking, cross trainer, standing up to cook. Tonight in that pool as my cardiovascular self craved the panting and exhilaration of lots of laps and fast, my muscles and joints said I don’t think so bucko. No rodeo for this cowgirl tonight.

It worries me that I can’t reach that level of exercise for my heart and mental well being. It worries and frustrates me that I can’t walk to where my cousins parked their truck let alone walk a few blocks to my friend’s house. That the ways I used to be present in this city are no longer a reality for me; rushing to bus stops, my feet my primary mode of transit, going up and down stairs for exercise, not gauging what to bring downstairs at my Mum’s house, my childhood home, because I don’t want to have to come back up. Like ever. It is a drastic change and not one I anticipated.

There is a medical narrative around arthrogryposis telling us from birth that it is not progressive, non degenerative. Well why am I so tired? Why was I climbing mountains and drinking my face off after high school graduation and preparing myself for the long walk across the stage at uni graduation? I’m only 26 I said to the lines in the ceiling as I arm-back-stroked my second and final lap. I’m not 85 fucking years old.