I’ve got gammy knees right now. There is no glamour here; no sashaying from room to room in a green satin sheath dress, no jumping out of bed in the morning lookin’ sharp. No running, no fast walking, no getting down the stairs in an elegant way;and it’s all thanks to my psoriatic arthritis which comes along every so often in the Spring, kicked off by the barometric pressure or the plane trees or just some type of unkind scaly skin/glass shard knee curse which sees me walk like an unoiled grandma robot. It hurts – I am downing anti-inflammatories every four hours and drinking expensive tart cherry juice from Planet Organic in the vain hope that my knees remember themselves and snap out of it. The swelling in one leg led to an emergency doctor’s visit in case I develop a Baker’s Cyst again like last time (it’s sort of a hernia but sticking out of the back of your calf) and my jeans won’t go on over my tree trunk legs. My ankles – my formerly perfectly normal ankles – have disappeared into a wad of puffy flesh that looks like an amateur prosthetics person had a go at making The Elephant Man’s lower half in the dark. In the night, when I move my stiffened legs, it feels like someone is bending my knee joint backwards. My stupid knees are waking me up so much more than the baby.
So it comes and goes and it debilitates me for awhile and then slowly gets better. It is very good for perspective and makes you long for the days that you feel no pain – for the days when you can run around the park and chase the kids up to school on time and bolt after the dog when he has escaped to the rubbish bin for some rotting chicken carcasses to gorge on. Oh, to be able to get off the couch or out of the bath without first figuring out how on earth I am going to do it. Luckily, we live in a Hoarder’s Flat and everywhere there are random bits of furniture, cane baskets filled with 1990’s cassette tapes, broken chairs and huge round bits of wood that “one day” Mark will “making a carving with”. These are my crutches.
To all those who have actual permanent chronic pain conditions – I do not know where you draw the strength. The least I can do is try not to take my usual good health for granted when these knees return to normal size and function.
Here’s a cankle photograph. That ankle thickness just goes up and up and wider and wider. Please ignore the nasty polish – it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to get down there, what with nine months of pregnancy, post partum uselessness and broken knee joints:
But that’s not all in the realm of broken things. Casper came home after walking back from Scouts one night a few weeks ago with an arm that looked like a white sock loosely packed with a few tennis balls. He had unsuccessfully attempted calisthenics, which a kind of outdoor gymnastics where really strong ripped young people use their upper body strength to lift them up and help them jump from bar to bar. Casper slipped and broke and fractured some bones which needed a dose of ketamine so two people could try to strangle the bones back in place, and then he needed an operation to pin the bones back together. ITS ALL DRAMA ROUND HERE.
See the sad cast in a sad sling:
We had highs: finally our house in New Zealand got sold and we have almost bought another smaller one (tiny mortgage – hurrah) which feels like it would be great to come back home to. It’s exciting and fun and scary and it has made my eBay watchlist jump up a few notches. I’m thinking Murano chandeliers! House of Hackney reupholstered couches! Slim Aarons’ framed prints! Mid century modern sideboards! Vintage Heals’ foot poufs and antique French linen stacked in freestanding walnut art deco cupboards! I’m thinking teal and orange and stripping floorboards back and patchwork quilts and conch table lamps and mosaic side tables and a great big clock. Metro tiles in the bathroom (black grouting, obvs)and glossy houseplants (won’t stay alive for long though) and whether or not to paint our big brown furniture in bright citrus coloured chalk paint. Outside in the big garden there are protected trees and we can all walk to school and to work and to the park and to the town harbour for very good coffee. Not so much to work, really though, because we have no jobs as yet. And two of our six boys need braces and that is entirely free here but $12,000 per kid in New Zealand. This stuff must be thought about, you know. So.
The other thing we have been doing is winning pub quizzes. We have a very very brilliant team of Mark, Kerry, Chris and me, and sometimes the temporary resident Australian director Gregor – and we have won three out of five at our local pub. Each time we have been showered with £50 pub vouchers so we will save them up and have a giant boozy lunch. Gregor turns out to be a secret brainy all-rounder weapon and he stole my anagram crown by working out in about 40 seconds what the only anagram of TEARDROPS was – which is still hurting me a tiny bit. But OH the fun! What have I been doing all my life up to this pub quiz glory?
Here is my nose and I hugging the lovely lovely lovely baby:
And to finish – five of the six after another Portobello lunch last Saturday. I cannot tell you how marvellous they all are. They make me forget my knees for several seconds: