ALL COMFY? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Comfortable

Note: Yes, it is the wrong word, but somehow, this is what popped up in my email this morning. So I’m going with it anyway!

Comfortable is what I wish I were, but which, so far, I’m not. Despite a new mattress, pillows, and all that, by the time morning has rolled around, my back has seized up.

It’s frustrating, not to mention painful. On a more positive note, the thing I have to do — which is the thing I don’t want to do because I could really use another couple of hours of sleep — is get up and move.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Every time I see Lionel Barrymore in his wheelchair — a result of his arthritis — I wonder how come they didn’t help the guy keep moving. But those were the days when if it hurt a lot, they plopped you in a wheelchair and that was it. Bad idea.

Arthritis hurts. No argument. About the only thing that makes it hurt less is activity. It doesn’t have to be heavy exercise. Mostly, I can’t do that for other reasons including that my heart doesn’t like it.

Light exercise helps a lot. “Woman’s work” like vacuuming the house, cooking, dusting — all of that and other examples of inside work loosen you up and make you feel a lot better. Quickly, too. A bit of gardening and even light raking or snow shoveling makes it better.

Marilyn can still walk! Photo: Garry Armstrong

The hardest part of the effort is not doing the work. It’s getting out of bed and getting started. I have to do a lot of mental pushing and shoving to convince myself that it’s what I need to do. Oh, those conversations with one of me saying “Sleep. You need sleep. You are tired.”

Meanwhile, the other me is shrieking “Get your lazy butt out of bed and do something. Come on! You can do it.” I frequently say it out loud too, sitting on the edge of the sofa telling myself “You can do this, I know you can. One little push and you’ll be up and moving.”

Eventually, the second me wins.

Those first few steps are pretty wonky, but I look relatively normal a bit later. Eventually.

My arthritis is severe. I take relatively high (or as high as I’m willing to go) amounts of painkiller. All they do is lower the level of discomfort. Nothing will fix it. More drugs won’t make it hurt less and would probably make the rest of me feel worse.

I had surgery to fix my spine when I was 19. It was an early version of the work they do these days, but without the electronic assistance and tiny implements. Everything depended on saws, drills, and bone paste created from a different bone (my left hip).  It crumbled over the years and now, it’s a mess. No surgeon wants to go fix another surgeon’s mess. Fixing old surgeries is one of those things most surgeons hate.

Since chances are about equal of making things better — or making them much worse — and this from Boston’s top spinal neurologist — I’ll pass.


I’m up. Not quite at’em yet, but I’m working on it. It’s about an hour and a half earlier than I wanted to on my feet, but I am out of bed, dressed, having coffee. The vacuuming is done. The dogs are barking. The sun is shining through the hazy, humid air. And I feel better.

Almost comfortable.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

22 thoughts on “ALL COMFY? – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I do my daily housework regularly and it really does help. The same routine with the Hoover and mop, but it keeps me going and that is really what I need. I am lucky that I have no real pain as such. I tire quickly, but after 10 minute break, I am back in action. As you say, it is the initial push to leave the bed that is the most difficult.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s hard to move in the morning because we congeal as we sleep. I can’t walk any distance, but I can manage the vacuuming and floor washing and some dusting. After that, I run out of steam. I don’t do a lot, but the little I do makes a difference. Some days, though, it’s a harder push than others to get this old carcass moving.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I always associated arthritis with old people and never gave it a thought over the years. Now, I can hear myself moaning and groaning as I climb stairs or get up from the couch. Please don’t say anything. I get it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have my computer set on a box on my desk and stand in front of that on some little carpet squares. That helps too. I also take herbal antiinflammatories that do not harm the liver etc. but do make everything better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried the herbals and they did nothing except upset my stomach. I think I’m way past herbals. The spine is one long sheath of calcification. It has always been really bad, but now it is worse. I’m hoping this is as bad as it gets. There must be an end point, after which you are finished with it, right?


        1. It’s bad, but I’m hoping it won’t get worse. If this is as bad as it gets, I can manage with it. And some days are better than others. I know it sounds like a joke, but it depends on the weather!


  3. I thought the same and did stairs a lot, walking, and ended up with a knee replacement. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, heredity and arthritis take over. Good luck. I kept moving until I couldnt.


    1. I don’t exactly run a gauntlet and I don’t walk long distances, but I at least try and manage in the house. I avoid the stairs to the extent I can — there ARE stairs and one way or the other, I’m going to have to tackle them eventually. But mostly, it’s just not going completely immobile that matters. Also, if I stay in bed long enough, my back feels worse, not better, so getting up has immediate benefits.


    1. I have about an hour of sitting, then I have to get up and do something. Anything. Even if it’s just walking around for a while. Garry can sit a lot longer than me, but his lower back isn’t as bad as mine. It’s his cervical (neck) area that’s bad.

      Liked by 1 person

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