by Nicole Cater
I stand here in defiance of all that is wrong with me. No matter how hard my life is, I will not let it beat me. And it is hard, so very hard. I have my appointment soon to get the steroid shots in my sacroiliac joints that will allow me to walk for three months until it is time for another round. The first round of needles contains a numbing agent, the second contains the steroids. The second needle must hit its mark exactly, a joint a quarter inch wide.
There is a screen in front of me so I can watch the whole process through x-ray. I no longer feel the needles poking deep into my flesh just as I no longer feel any shame at having my ass bared in front of six people. For my last session, I had my mother apply a big pink bow fake tattoo right at the top of my crack, just to lighten the mood. There’s no use in crying about these things. Crying gets you nowhere. Better to put on a facade of good cheer. No one likes a whiner.
But internally, I whine. I can’t help it. When every joint in my body screams bloody hell when a rainstorm is still two days off, it’s hard to laugh and put on a smiley face. When addiction to painkillers has become a scary monster for doctors, it’s hard to explain to them that busting you down from 400 milligrams to 150 milligrams isn’t protecting themselves, it’s torturing their patient.
I laugh at my own condition when someone asks how I am doing even while I fidget in the chair because no position will ever be comfortable enough. No one wants the truth. No one wants to hear that I just barely made it out of the house because I’m so fatigued from never sleeping. They don’t care that I spent twenty minutes putting on makeup so I won’t look as sick as I really feel. They can’t fathom the idea of getting three or four hours of mere dozing for three days.
But I go through it just the same. What’s the alternative? As I said, crying gets you nowhere. It’s reserved for those special occasions when sleep is an impossibility and emotions are a live wire. And I’m just as likely to laugh my fool head off as I am to cry. Because as much as the pain hurts and is relentless, it is a part of life. It doesn’t go away. It can be adapted to. Humans can adapt to anything. It is background noise. Sometimes loud, sometimes a mere murmur.
Occasionally I miss the things I can no longer do, but the truth is I’m often too tired to care. I’m too busy learning to deal with pain that is new, fresh, pain that has never been there before. My fingers ache. But those are small joints; joints that are affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis. My Ankylosing Spondylitis is supposed to stay in my large joints, that damn back pain I’ve been fighting for fifteen years. My knees and shoulders can burn; my fingers and toes are off limits. I need something to still call my own. I want desperately for something to still work. I’ve come too far to give in to this bullshit now.
So I defy you joints. You will not hurt. I will not let you. Oh, you may think you get to wreak fiery havoc on my hands and feet, but I’m telling you no. They are all I have left and I will not yield them to you. Not without a fight. I defy you to sabotage the only appendages that allow me to express myself freely, openly, without having to laugh through the pain. I’m not old enough for that yet. I have too many years ahead of me. Think what you will on rainy days, but you are wrong. I stand here defiant against you. And damn-it, I will win!
This is our showcase page, containing various submissions from various Authors. Please look for snippets about the Authors following their pieces.