Friday, April 16, 2010


I have been having a rough week - my inflammatory arthritis is flaring. It's always a lottery to see which joints will be affected, and this week it has been my shoulders. Flare-ups usually last 24-36 hours, but this has been going on since Sunday. It hurts. It really, really hurts.

I've got about 10 years' experience with this, so I know what to do to minimize pain and the possibility of joint damage: heat and not using the affected joints at all. Heat has been no problem since I invested in the world's best moist-heat heating pad. But immobility - I have a real problem with that, especially since there's so much I want to be doing in the garden. And the longer any flare-up lasts, the more I start fearing that it won't ever end, and I won't be able to keep up with the garden, and we'll have to move back to the city and live in a condo and eat packaged food from Walmart.

I know my mind is my worst enemy sometimes. So today I decided to treat this episode as a reminder from the universe that sometimes we have to stop doing, and just appreciate what already is instead.

Here's what I found to appreciate.

The big perennial bed around the crab apple tree is a marvel of coexistence to me. There are snowdrops, chives, aconite, fawn lilies, tulips, rhubarb and hostas all living happily together. And each of them looks more marvelous in proximity to the others.

Nearby is a tiny, spindly star magnolia tree we planted last spring. It didn't do very well last year, and we have been thinking of moving it, but there, today, were the first blossoms beginning to open.

This Japanese maple hasn't had an ugly day in its entire life. Bare-branched, just leafing out, in full green leaf, or in autumn glory, this tree is gorgeous from beginning to end.

The forest beds are full of ferns. Is there any plant more Dr. Seuss looking than this?

Also in the forest beds, the first trillium are flowering...

...and the fawn lilies have reached the English-barrister-wig part of their life cycle.

By the pond the marsh marigolds and these double primula are flowering. William came for a visit, to see what I was doing.

Even the bumper crop of dandelions in the chicken yard looks beautiful.

Easiest to appreciate: the classic Aussie smile.


Paula said...

I have a very dear friend who has - let's see if I can remember this correctly- osteoarthritis that was upgraded to rheumatoid arthritis (or maybe I have it backward)- anyway- her rheumatologist treated it very aggressively like a cancer. Jenni had chemotherapy for it for many months on end. I kept praying for her because when she'd flare up, she'd flare up everywhere, especially her spine, and the pain was so bad, she didn't want to be alive. The chemo didn't make her feel much better, either. At any rate, after several years of various treatments and drug therapies, they got it into remission. She hasn't had a flare up for a long, long time. I guess she'd contracted it in her twenties somewhere and got it under control somewhere in her late thirties. Anyway, I've seen what a flare up looks like, and heard the pain in her voice, and I'll pray for you too. I hope that you can beat it like she did.

In the meantime, I hear that capsaicin-based creams go a long way to relieve arthritic pain- they burn for a while, but bring relief that lasts for weeks. Much good luck to you, and I'm glad that you're dealing with it in a positive way.

jeanives said...

Lots of love and hugs from the other side of the mountain.And thank you for posting these beautiful photos.

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