Not Being A Man
I’m a 53-year-old man, I’m 6′, 225 pounds, and I used to be totally able-bodied. I used to do almost everything myself. I worked on my car, I worked on the house, I worked at the farm, and more importantly, I worked 50 or more hours a week doing my job. I spent 10 and half years as an active-duty U.S. Marine, doing everything that Marines do. I wasn’t an adrenaline junkie, but I was always active. I loved to camp, hike, and swim. Then I met Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Costochondritis. Those three little bastards have stolen my identity and won’t return it.
I no longer get to do those things that I did. I wake up in the morning, usually very stiff and sore. It takes about 15 minutes or more for me to start to loosen up my joints (usually my hands, wrists, knees, and feet are stiff and painful). I take my handful of pills and wait for them to dull the pain. Some days the pain never goes away, but it is what it is.
I have fallen down our stairs at least four times in the past five years, thankfully never getting seriously injured. The last time I was laying on the landing, with my leg under me in a strange position, thinking that I had done some serious damage to it, and thankfully I was ok, just in pain for a few weeks (in a new location).
This means that I obviously can use things like a ladder, which leads me to the latest blow to my ego. Our roof needs replacement and I’m so embarrassed that I can’t do it, I know how, but I’m not able to actually do it and that hurts, knowing that I’m not the man that I used to be.
In fact, I feel so less of a person every day, knowing that I technically can still do all that, I can climb a ladder, walk on the roof and swing a hammer, but I know that I will not be safe doing it. I know that I will be in great pain while doing it, and for several weeks later. I know it will take me three-four times longer to do than normal, due to fatigue. Hell, I can’t even unload a round bale of hay safely, what makes me think that I can do all that safely?
I wake up almost every day, with the thought in my mind of how much is my body going to remind me today, that I’m basically turning into a totally useless being.
It’s not just the roof, it is things like, I’m teleworking nearly half the time right now and that is because, I get so exhausted when I’m onsite, running around, doing my job. I come home and often have to take naps and go to bed early. I’m so frustrated with myself, I try to push myself further and harder, but it fails every time now. But when I was younger, I could push myself harder and get more, but not anymore.
I’m ever so slowly forcing myself to realize that I’m not the same person I once was and that I can’t do the things that I used to do, but it is very difficult to digest at times.
I know that many of you are reading this and thinking to yourself “suck it up pussy” and I feel you, I really do and I keep pushing and the harder I push, the harder RA pushes back.