Pain: Don’t Interfere With My Vacation

Today I feel like a ghost who is destined to lug a hundred pounds of chains around for eternity. Okay. Not really, but I am that pale.

Yes. I have had a bit of a bug the last few days. Exhaustion. However, I’ll power through it. I have books to read, write, and friends to talk to as well.

Did I mislead you by suggesting my horseback riding in Tucson was on Leap Day?  Did I actually say that? Or was it inferred?

When I saddled up in Arizona, it was August. Yes. We grabbed a cheap flight there. No. We did not notice that the heat would kill us.  Yes. We learned our lesson. Whew!  It packed quite a wallop.

It was about three months before my rheumatologist diagnosed me with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and fibromyalgia. I had bad edema but couldn’t use my diuretic because I’d get dehydrated.  I was in agony.  I already suffered from chronic pain but the heat set fire to my skin.  The burning was relentless.  I was cranky.

Suddenly, I couldn’t even lift my leg the short distance to step up on the old two-tone green trolley. The driver and his young son, Silas, dressed in crisp white shirts and black pants, waited so patiently for me. They were so respectful, gentle and kind. Still, I felt humiliated and embarrassed.

One of my main goals on that trip was to go horseback riding.  Besides, people touted about how the Arizona weather would be great for me. I never thought it could make the pain worse.  Regardless, I vowed we would still follow through.  So we did!  I’m so glad too because I met Sugar, a chestnut-coloured horse with splotches of white on her rump.

Every little hill and dip in the terrain jolted me in Sugar’s saddle. Every time I ducked forward to avoid being knocked off by tree branches was excruciating.  It was the same as I pulled the reins and leaned back while we descended the steeper areas. I was a natural on a horse but my back muscles locked up as tight as a bank vault.

Despite all that, I loved the Sonoran desert. It was quiet. I got some great shots of cacti and different flowers. I patted Sugar’s strong back in appreciation. She was majestic. I even managed a half-smile when we finished the trail and were back at the ranch.  I laughed when they rolled the huge wagon wheel over again for me to step on while dismounting.  I did it!

A strange thing happened later in the evening. We watched a flash lightning storm from our hotel window and the kaleidoscopic colours wowed us. It was another gorgeous sunset.  Then we decided to walk across the street to the nearest convenience store for a cold drink.

“Oh My God!” a woman said, approaching us quickly, while we finished up at the cash. I heard her sandals clicking along the floor as she got closer.  Normally,  I would have stepped away but this time I didn’t; I was so happy, I felt invincible. My friend and I exchanged blank glances. “I can’t believe it!” she went on. We turned to face her with the sheen in our eyes unmistakable.

She was short, had jet black hair with flecks of blonde in it, and had the hands of a grandmother.  Her brown eyes were huge as she yanked the red sunglasses off her face.  Motioning with her hands, she cordoned off a huge and invisible circle around us. “I see angels all around you!”

“Really?” I said, not sure what else to say. I cracked open my diet pepsi and took a huge gulp. I instantly held the cold can against my right wrist, which was still swollen and sore.

“Yes!  Everywhere. They’re all around you!” She put her hand lightly on my forearm as she spoke.  I met her glance and saw that warmth and kindness oozed from her every pore. “I just HAD to tell you!”

“Thank you,” I said.  I smiled and clasped her hand gently for a few seconds, as if she was a long-time acquaintance.

That brief encounter in Mac’s reinforced my approach to everything. Inflammation will not stop me.  Flu or fatigue will not stop me. Thunderstorms and tornadoes will not stop me.  They may give me a super-bad hair day and contort me in pain like a Cirque de Soleil star.  However, I will still mosey on no matter what.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *