Me and my companion Arthritisby Rajeshwari Karle
My career started flourishing from 1974. I became a 'Model Teacher', started drawing & painting and I was playing roles as a wife and mother at the same time. I was quite successful on all these fronts and was being appreciated, too. I was justly proud of my achievements. I remember I had a fever that day and during it severe pain developed in my left wrist. So much pain that I couldn't even hold anything in my left hand. But then, just as it had appeared suddenly, the pain vanished so I forgot about it after a few days.
Then my wrists, fingers, ankles started to stiffen in the early morning hours. My husband prepared tea for me and also provided warm water to soak the joints. I used to feel better after drinking the hot tea and soak but it became increasingly difficult for me to carry out routine household and kitchen jobs – peeling potatoes, slicing and cutting vegetables, kneading the dough…My husband helped me with that, too. I had to go to my teaching job on time so it became a tiring schedule right from the start of the day because I had to choose clothes that I could wear relatively easy and fast – tops without buttons and leggings with elastic at the waist!
I felt better as the day grew warm but come evening and my joyful day went away with the setting sun. Moonlit nights brought no pleasure but the dreaded cold weather ! I couldn't sing properly for long durations nor could hold the brush and bottles for painting. I felt miserable. This phenomenon affected ALL my daily movements. Sometimes unforeseen situations took their toll. I remember one such – I went to sleep sitting in the sofa. Nobody bothered me since I appeared to be sleeping peacefully. When I was awake at odd hours of the night I simply couldn't move! All the joints were at pain. I felt cold and even screaming for help became impossible. I was just sitting there, stiff, crying silently. My younger son was awake. He noticed my plight and somehow half carried and half dragged me to my bed. Thus a major ordeal was over!
I consulted Rheumatologist and after the medicines and exercises he prescribed I could feel the control over the disease. I could paint again, arrange exhibitions and could even manage the hustle of exporting them. Then……there was an accident and it took me 3-4 years to bring myself back to normalcy from it. All exercise was stopped. Arthritis was making its presence felt but it had a new 'chum' now – osteoporosis! Arthritis and Osteoporosis have apparently vowed never to leave me alone!
But I learnt a few important things during this long journey –
You can fight this disease quite effectively if the family members are helping and understanding, especially the spouse. Don't take tension! It only encourages the disease to spread!
Your doctor is the best judge of your ailment You concern yourself with your mindset – try to be happy. Yes its difficult but not at all impossible. It is said you get to be a human only once – so enjoy it fully; no one has seen the future!