Head falling forward for the last 8 years or so, making it feel as though someone is constantly pushing it from behind. Difficult to counteract the downward momentum that feels as though my chin will end up on my chest. This accompanied by a distinct curvature of the spine just below the neck, which is accentuated by bony growth of one or two vertebrae. When I am tired, I tend to use my eyes alone to look up.
A swollen right knee which has never properly gone down for the 15 years or so that it first flared up, resulting in it being next to impossible to squat without pain, meaning that most of the strength in both legs has greatly diminished.
A clicking and painful right hip joint which was mistaken for ordinary arthritis until it magically disappeared, meaning that it was not a deterioration of the ball-joint as two of my friends have experienced and cured through artificial hips.
Hard lumps developing on the tendons of both hands and fingers which can be painful under pressure. These have been around for many years now, and are not getting any smaller.
A spur of bone-growth on the middle joint of my little finger which forms a pronounced lump. This was exacerbated - but not necessarily caused - by my left hand constantly hitting the stone I was carving over the last 35 years.
A reluctance to crouch down at low supermarket shelves because of the discomfort this causes me, and a regular feeling of fatigue, even if I have not been working at all. A tightening of the rib cage. The inability to get up from lying on the floor without turning over and using my arms to push up.
A feeling that all work-surfaces are too low for me, causing a draining, dull pain when I am doing the washing-up, followed by the need to straighten myself up every few seconds and take deep breaths.
My apparent short temper - according to my Step Daughter - is getting shorter, and I believe this is because I have not been out of pain to some degree for many years, especially when I am cooking for her. If I know this is the reason, I can assure her that I will do my best to counteract it, so she can come round for a drink at Christmas after all.
I will pay a visit to my friend who is a senior physiotherapist at the Bath Mineral Water Hospital, just so she can give it a name, and I am 99% sure that name is Ankylosing Spondylitis.
It is a genetic, incurable and progressive, auto-immune condition, but at least I will have a verbal excuse for not being able to climb onto a four foot wall (as I had to the other day) without assistance, and nobody will be able to blame laziness for my reluctance to carry heavy weights around.
A Call To Arms - It's a sad fact that whilst calls to Samaritans are on the up ( and considerably on the up since the introduction of it's freephone number 116123!) the n...
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