Me darlin’s. Life’s the best, and the biggest twat at the same time.
So I’ve developed symptoms of osteoarthritis in my hands. That’s the non-rheumatic arthritis, folks, the one that comes from a loss of the cartilage which usually cushions two bones meeting in a joint. Usually this happens to older people – unless, of course, you happen to have done a lifetime of practising the piano and a decade or two of extremely typing-intensive jobs as well as a few years of gaming. You know, the way I have.
Before I continue: Please, please note that I’m not looking for medical advice. I’m very well looked after and know exactly what I’m doing (doctor, physio, home treatment, supplements etc etc). People mean well, but it’s extremely tiring to explain over and over why I’m doing what I’m doing, why I’m not doing what they suggest, and why I’m not even open to hearing anything else anymore. It’s exhausting, and I’m not willing to talk about it for longer than it takes to keep you in the loop of what’s going on. Okay? Thank you.
It sucks, no question. But it’s early days and I still have a chance to protect what cartilage I have left. Right now, my main problem is that the OA came paired with carpal tunnel and cramping muscles in my hands – whether as a side effect or from being rusty after not practising for so long, I’m not sure. I’ve checked my technique, which has of course suffered from not practising for 15 years, but it’s not bad enough to warrant this. So I have to force myself to take it slowly. For a while, I practised no more than 5-10 minutes a day, which is completely ridiculous – it’s about enough to warm up, not to progress on anything. Argh.
So now I’ve extended it to 2 x 15-20 minutes. And even that is hard to stick to, especially as I’ve started practising a waltz by Chopin, my favourite composer. It feels like coming home to play Chopin again. And when it’s time to be sensible, it’s like I’m re-enacting that good-Kermit, bad-Kermit meme, talking to myself (as Oscar Wilde said, at least it’s intelligent conversation):
Me: That’s it, now stop and get up.
Other Me: But.
M: Hands are hurting.
OM: I still miss that d-sharp occasionally. I need to practise until I hit it every time, otherwise the wrong note will sink in and then I’ll struggle with it for weeks.
M: Get. Up. You need to ice your hands. Or maybe: Make hot chocolate, ice your hands and listen to Ivo Pogorelich playing the “Tempest” sonata. How’s that?
OM: But first I’ll play it through one more time.
Like I mentioned before, I’m learning to see the pain as guidance, rather than annoying, and I actually manage this most of the time. And I’m just so happy to be at the piano again at all.
Other decisions had to be made: No more gaming for me, and swords are out for good. I’m also discovering lots of things that aren’t good for my finger knuckles, such as carrying grocery bags – ouch! Strictly speaking, I probably shouldn’t draw a bow either, but I’ll give up archery over my cold, dead body. I won’t train daily anymore and only shoot for myself, not competitively, once a week or so in Massbrook. But I’ll keep doing it.
And since it’s my first post of 2019, here’s a list of what was great in 2018:
- I paid back the absolute last of my debts. That meant that I couldn’t travel or buy anything until October, but gods was it worth it. Feels great to have an actual net worth again, and a budget for things like travel.
- I stepped up my Coaching, got clear on why I’ve been put on this planet and found amazing friends who are solo entrepreneurs, too. It makes the world of a difference.
- I got a different position in my daytime job, with hours that suit me so much better. Cue happier hag and better business hours.
- I reconnected with some long-lost friends. This is still a work in progress. It feels like the last of the healing from my “dark years”, but this one reaches a lot further back. One day I might blog about it, right now I’m not ready to share on that level. Suffice it to say that it concerns trauma I’ve been carrying since my short and ill-advised marriage. It feels great putting the last of the pieces back together.
- I got a piano! I’m practising again!
- I also found an exercise routine I can actually stick with. No more start-and-stop, I’ve been at it for 8 months and there’s no end in sight.
My plans and goals for 2019 are secret, apart from those I’ve already shared: Travelling to meet old friends and beloved places again, and to see some of my favourite musicians live. It’s already an amazing year!
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