If you are anything like me, this time of year is a Catch-22. I love the heat. Let me say it again, I LOVE the heat- most of the time. I love when it’s hot out during the day. I love to spend time out in the sun. I am happy to eat out on my patio, to sit outside and read in shorts and a tank top, to feel the sun warming my joints. The rub is that I can’t sleep in it so even if we didn’t have the pup to keep the house cool for, we would have to keep it cool at night for me and during the day for my opposite-shift-working husband. Unfortunately, in Kentuckiana, along with the heat comes humidity that can be oppressive. Now- most of me doesn’t even mind the humidity, but my joints do.
When the humidity rises it’s an invitation for my entire body to swell. It’s like my body wants to draw that moisture in and keep it all for itself. I mentioned when I took my day off that my shoe size ranges from a 6-9 (or more) due to swelling but my hands and wrists swell like balloons too. So I end up with Flintstone feet and fingers like sausages. It’s not cute at all. I mentioned that the feet burn when I use them. The hands don’t hurt much- they are just harder to use due to the swelling so typing is harder, gripping is harder- you get the idea.
Now, I am a “ring girl”. I love, love, love rings. As a rule I wear 8-10 rings at all times. I wear my wedding ring and anniversary band on my left ring finger, a knuckle ring on that middle finger, thumb rings on both sides, and three rings that are important to me on my right ring finger. When my hands swell- they hurt, a lot. So- I have been removing them when they start to cut in so much that I need soap to get them off but that leaves me feeling…naked. While I have accumulated most of the rings over the years, I have been wearing a wedding band for 30 years and though I have had to go up a size from the original- not having it on feels like I am missing a part of myself.
Recently I gave myself permission to buy myself a “spare”. Just like I have shoes that are much larger than normal, I bought an inexpensive silver and glass wedding set to wear when I can’t wear my real set. It’s pretty-ish ( I prefer 10k gold) and I know it’s not the same but it’s the symbol and I am not missing my rings as much. When I bought my bigger shoes it was a decisive action because I was tired of only being able to fit into flip-flops with swollen feet. These rings are just another work around so that I don’t dwell when I swell. Kind of a way to move past this side effect and keep going if you know what I mean. I may not be able to beat the swelling, but I don’t have to let it win either.
This is my question for you- what do you do to accommodate so you can keep feeling “normal” while your body is in a mini rebellion? Whether you swell like I do or if there is another reoccurring thing that happens due to your illnesses, what small things do you do to rise above it and keep living your life?
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