CRPS Awareness Day 19: Hot Tub, Cold Turkey

Nancy writes about living in pain, but experiencing workouts, hot tubs, and wine.By Guest Blogger Nancy Meagher

Nancy details a day in her life with CRPS pain. A day of hot tubs, wine, and workout routines. What does Nancy learn through her journey through time? Find out!

Submerged in the rough swirling water, my feet become redder than most. All ten of my half moon nail beds glow almost a fluorescent white. They reach the tips of each toe.

I feel a bit freakish as I climb out of this warm friendly place and I slip into the pool to begin my daily laps. The cold water of the pool is duly noted by my overheated feet.

The sudden temperature drop causes them to sting and I switch from laps to kick board. This high alert spike in pain is completely my doing. The reality of that is duly noted by – me.

On cloudy cold days, when steam is rising from the lovely hot tub and all the power jets are pumping full force, settling myself into it and resting my tired head on the tiled rim feels worth it.

So does that second glass of wine when dining out. It’s hard to say no thanks to more happiness. Like a small canoe overturned on open water, my nervous system and I will eventually right ourselves. Then we’ll return to a more familiar level of pain.

After the pool I change from swimsuit to spandex. I’ll climb to the second floor of the gym where I ride the stationary bike. I’ve added rowing to my workout too. The rowing machines face the pool and I imagine I’m on the quiet inlet of the Connecticut River where my husband and I recently joined a “Summer Dragon Boat” canoe ride.

A bald eagle landed in the trees above us. On cue we pressed our oars forward causing the boat to stop. We looked up. She stared down at eighteen rowers for a full ten minutes. Comfortable with her body, she lifted her wings in slow motion and was easily airborne.

I’ve had CRPS for 5 years. After two years, I rented a rolling walker from the local Senior Center, and used that to walk our dog several times a week.

After three years I bought a wheel chair for long excursions like walking through art museums or visiting our son in Brooklyn.

We bought the wheelchair second hand in the town where the Boston Marathon begins each year. Strange that we picked it up the day before the actual Marathon. Runners in spandex and pricey sneakers dined on pasta in the outdoor Café where we stopped for lunch.

Soon enough, I realized that with the comfort of these walking aids, I was losing muscle and bone density. I realized that if I walked v-e-r-y slowly, I could manage small, short distances without help. I’ve tried really hard to let go of vanity. Sometimes I walk so slowly that people might ask if I need

In restaurants when making my way to the bathroom, folks might think that I’ve had too much wine. God grant me the serenity to:

  1. Stay out of the Hot Tub starting: TODAY.
  2. To limit myself to one glass of wine when dining out beginning TODAY.
  3. To be an invested partner with my nervous system and comfortable with my hard working body.
  4. To imitate the Eagle, moving slowly and with confidence.
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