“How’s the wrists?” or “how’s the?” accompanied by a shimmy of fully operational appendages are two of the most common greetings that I receive nowadays. I have no complaint with this; in most it shows a degree of interest or care and I guess they are now one of my more distinguishing features.
My favoured answer is “they are still there”, the complexities of daily life are mine after all and not particularly interesting. For the sake of completeness though I thought I would share with you the extended version of “they are still there” just for the record so to speak.
If you ask after the wrists in the morning then the statement includes the fact that I will have awoken a dozen times in the night. Each break to my sleep will have been caused by some pain; a movement of shoulder that has settled is the most common one. Having been woken by pain I will shift but here Ms Nature is at her best, probably on account of being wide awake, and the movement will always increase the pain first. It is not just the shoulders of course; the wrists get their fair share of stabbing pains and excruciating lock ups.
When I eventually get up I stretch, like the rest of the world, but for me the stretch is… well… louder I guess. Like rolling a sack of logs down a hill all of the pieces in all of the joints have to settle into today’s horizontal position. Through this cacophony of crunches and creaks there is an undercurrent of pain as I press unwilling joints into action for another day.
I have learnt to never leave the kettle filled the night before because it leaves me testing my load carrying capacity with a vessel full of boiling water. Better to drop the empty kettle when my wrist declares that it has not yet ‘booted up’. There are teeth to brush of course, a task that can no longer be performed in a daze. The trouble with restricted wrist movement is that something else has to compensate, in the case of teeth brushing this is my head. If the bathroom mirror was a one way sheet of glass then the viewer would see my head take on a number of jaunty angles like a curious canine.
If my hair goes into a ponytail then this is an exercise on par with a major construction project and, again, requires me to be fully alert. I have now perfected the task and rarely get left with a bunch of hair grasped in the only hand that is capable of applying a band to said bunch of hair. Tucking a shirt in is like Russian roulette crossed with salsa as I generate the complex angles necessary to reach my lower back. Get the angle wrong and Ms Nature is there with a crack of pain to educate me.
Once I have completed the necessary tasks and head off for the day I have to settle a right knee into perambulation, something it likes to start slowly. Icy steps or potholes are ill-advised until the aforementioned joint has booted into full operational mode. If you have the misfortune to travel alongside me first thing then you will notice that for the first couple of hours I am repeatedly cracking joints that are aching or working pains out.
All done now you must be wondering? Of course not, next up is the aching that comes from using the limbs. Like a child who has tidied their room they do like it to be known that they have been busy.
I won’t bore you with the evening instead I paraphrase the great Mr Haynes and say that “the evening is a reversal of the morning”. So next time you hear me say “they are still there” treat yourself to a smile as you now know what that actually means.