Thursday, October 05, 2006

I'm Not Thankful Right Now

My general philosophy is that "on the whole life is good, enjoy it, and roll with the punches as best you can in those periods of trial that come to all of us." But we're all human, and we sometimes need to moan and wail for a wee bit before we get on with it. Since Canadians have Thanksgiving coming up on Monday (we'll have our family DO on Sunday) and I'll have to adjust my attitude by then, permit me to wallow in a bit of self-pity for the nonce.

You do recall that I have begun violin lessons? I've had three, am practising diligently, and enjoying myself immensely. Sometimes, I go at it for quite a long time (more than hour and sometimes more than once a day, and that's not bad for an ancient beginner).  At that, I often have to drag myself away, and when I have reluctantly finished with it, I sometimes feel a great sense of joy. Yes, I know I've only had only three lessons and that any listeners would be at great pains to share my joy, but that's the way that I feel about it: up until the past week or so, that is.

Now, where I once had joy, I now have cause for angst and concern and dejection.

I have had some arthritis in my hands for years now. It hasn't been in my fingers but in my palms, below my thumbs. But I suppose that in point of fact it actually has been there lurking in my fingers because the index finger on my fiddle-fingering hand is now acting up beyond all reason. I can hardly bend it in the morning for example, but it is has been a constant problem for the past week or so. It's plain now that the arthritis has been there all along but subdued and unnoticed until all of my exuberant fiddling has greatly inflamed whatever was already present in the joints.

Frankly, I'm in a dither. Does this mean that I have to give it up? That's my fear, and I'm not happy about it. I mean to say that I'm not training to be an Olympic gymnast; all I want to do is move my fingers a bit. Surely that's not too very much to ask of The Universe? In the past, I have given up other activities with rather good grace, I think. For example: there was a time in my life when I played tennis almost every day during the summer. Then there came a day when wrists and elbows and backs and heels all got together and advised me, rather strongly, to call it a day. I did and pretty darn gracefully too, even if I do say so myself. But I'm not exhibiting grace right now. I will be very sad if this is pleasure is taken away from me ... as I fear it may be.

I haven't given up yet. I will curtail practice sessions for a few days and try to practice differently after that: shorter sessions for one thing. I'll see if I can have teacher concentrate on slower songs rather than the exuberant jigs that we've also been experimenting with. Maybe it will work, and if it doesn't, maybe I'll be ready to handle it gracefully. Maybe! But for now I'm upset and dejected. It's my pity party and I'll grump if I want to.


Gina said...

AC, is it rheumatoid arthritis?

Since it has lain dormant for so long, perhaps there are some drugs you can take?

I know RA can be painful, and I'm not sure exactly how effective the various drugs are, but I hope you can work this out.

Rainypete said...

That stinks. I hope your hand frees up and allows you to enjoy your newfound love.

mreddie said...

You have every right to grump and you did it very well, with a flair and a certain amount of finesse. I'm there with you - the fingers are a bit stiff most mornings. ec

Sarah Elaine said...

I think you have every right to be grumpy, too. That bites.

My best friend has had arthritis since she was in her early 20's. She hates not being able to do simple things (like walk!) Some days are good. Some days are not good. That's how it goes.

Don't give up yet. The days the body wants to cooperate are worth celebrating. The days the body does not want to cooperate are worth blogging about. ;-)

Sue said...

Oh, how frustrating :-( But maybe it's partly the enthusiasm, meaning you're using muscles that you hadn't used for a while? I hope you can find some way of continuing without the pain.

The very nice man said...

Maybe it is that the anvilclouds are temporarily replaced with cumular nimbus clouds, causing your joints to swell up!
There will be sunnier days ahead again!

Dale said...

The last time I visited my parents, Dad came downstairs in the morning looking anything but rested.

"You look tired, Dad," I said. "Did you not sleep well last night?"

"I have trouble falling asleep," he told me as he and mum shared their morning hug in the kitchen. "I can't seem to get enough air. I fall asleep and then it feels like I'm suffocating. It's a bitch sometimes."

And he smiled reassuringly.

I'm sorry about your fingers, AC. I know it must be frustrating for you. You have every right to be upset. But it seems that as we age, we must relinquish some of Life's joys. You may be forced to give up your fiddle.

One day soon, Dad may be forced to give up breathing.

Debra said...

Alas! Don't give up... I was coming down with RA really bad a few years ago (runs in my family like crazy) so I started searching the Net, trying to find ways to avoid it (I was--still am--too young for that stuff!). I found lists of foods to avoid, and others to eat a lot of and exercises to stay limber, etc... But you know what I found that was like a miracle? I stopped drinking decaf coffee after I saw a study which said it can bring on premature RA. After just a few days without decaf I was cured! Years later I'm still feeling great, RA-free and I can have an occasional cup of decaf, just not for days in a row. And well, all I'm saying is that more and more studies are finding diet and exercise have a lot to do with RA and tons of other diseases. Check it all out so you can keep making beautiful music! Blessings, Debra

Turtle Guy said...

Perhaps since violin lessons are a recreational pursuit, can you find a way to 'step back' and pace yourself, as your body is comfortable? For the last two weeks I've had a nasty, nasty cold/flu bug that has dictated that I do only what is necessary to meet important deadlines. I've had to skip a few pottery classes and it's driving me nuts. Hardly the same in terms of duration, I know, as arthritis is consistent and painful, but the common principle to me is this: Do what your body will allow you to do when it will allow you to do it. And be at peace with that. You don't have to like it, but somehow it seems if you respect the limitations you cannot change, you often will find some way of proceeding or even excelling through what you CAN control.
(I'm thinking here primarily of being gentle with your body while maintaining a persistent focus on continuing your study. Does this make sense?)

I'll be thinking of you.

oshee said...

You have such kind, thoughtful commenters. I'm not sure there is much for me to add. I give a strong "I second that" to Turtle's comment.

I think you already understand all of this. You say so in the post. You are going to take it easy and ease up the work load you've been enjoying and see if it means you get to keep your new love. That is exactly what I would recommend.

My heart hurts with you though. It is wonderful to be able to immerse yourself in something you find such absolute joy in doing. I wish you only the best results from resting.

oshee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linda said...

I am sorry about your hands. That's a real bummer. I think you have the right attitude when you say that you'll be changing things around. A little exercise is good for your hands but an hour a day would be tough on anybody's hands!

Bonita said...

Well, I posted a comment earlier, and Blogger stalled and dumped it. Probably overload. Needed a rest. Say, I see a connection here. I'm sure you will keep things going, just need to find a careful balance.

Granny said...

I have something like that. It comes and goes. I've had good luck with plain old ibuprofen to knock down mild swelling and pain.

I'd hate to see you give up your fiddle.

sare said...

Awwww. That totally sucks! I do hope you are in better spirits by Sunday... but for now, Whhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaan!
Maybe you just need to build up the muscles in your hands!?

Heather said...

Bummer. Sounds like a good reason for a pity party. Go at it.

Coll said...

Don't give up A/C. Maybe you just over did it a little and the joints have flared up with all the activity. Have you tried taking a couple of advil before you practise. That may help some.

Lisa said...

My vote is for some anti-inflamatory drugs (Aleve?) and perhaps slowing down the pace just a little.

Cathy said...

Let's grump together.
I suppose a modicum of grace is in order, but I like your exrpression of indignation at the toll time has taken on your body. Still, I hope you'll persist a bit. We've listened to the music spun by your dream. No matter what- the song was worthy and we heard, we heard.