That's what they called it when I was a kid, back when sabre-toothed tigers and mastadons roamed the earth. The Rheumatiz. Now its simply known as arthritis. I prefer thinking of it as The Rheumatiz, since that sounds vaguely sinister and possibly even deadly, and plain old 'arthritis' sounds so, I don't know, commonplace.
I can't even remember when it started wrapping its creeping tendrils around my knee, hip and back. One day I was young and whole and suddenly I was not, it was as simple as that. Some days its no big deal, just a little creaky in the morning when I get out of bed and maybe need to support my back when I bend over to pull the bag out of the garbage pail under the sink. Other days, it has me scrambling through the medicine cabinet to find something, ANYTHING to MAKE IT STOP.
Last spring I got tossed off of a horse I was working on, nothing big but it did rock my noggin a little. I went to the chiropractor the next day, since I had done a nice twisty number on my back as I fell. He was concerned and ordered x-rays. His old crappy x-ray machine (hey, fancy chiropractor? You can afford better equipment!) showed a couple of lines on one of the lumbar vertebrae that he was afraid looked like hairline fractures, so he sent me to the hospital's x-ray group to get the digital pictures. As it turns out, they were only scleroidal tissue, but the scans did show an amazing amount of that all over the lumbar region. As if I needed a picture to tell me what my body's been saying for YEARS. The Rheumatiz.
So today is a bad day, as it turns out, for the old arthritis. Which has me feeling cranky and mean. And wanting to scramble through the medicine cabinet. But its too early for drugs, I don't want to fall asleep at seven freaking oh clock in the evening. Then I'll have more in common with grandma than just the bad hips. I'd just like say, though, if I seem a little bit crabby? I am. Painfully so.