Yes, here it is – every arthritic’s favourite time of year. It’s the season to eat, drink, be merry and put on loads of weight so that your joints struggle just that little bit more come the new year. It’s the one time of year when you have loads of parties to go to but can’t possibly get away with the perfect heels to go with that dress.
I can’t be unfair to winter here, it’s my favourite season. I get to wear massive jumpers to stop my joints getting cold. It’s okay to wear boots so I can actually fit my insoles in my shoes. Fair Isle patterns. Fairy lights. All the food. All of it.
Obviously winter has its downsides – it’s super-cold, for example. Planning outfits around a heat pack on your elbow/knee/hip becomes an issue all of a sudden (I recommend cutting up a black sock to cover it up under tights when wearing a dress). When you go out, you have to take an emergency bag just in case (staples: spare flats, support bandage, ibuprofen, splints).
There is snow and ice. When there is snow and ice the ground is dangerous to walk on. I spend three months of every year feeling like a very ditzy mountain goat, living in fear for my life and knees.
There’s that one joint that kicks off every year and it’s always a total surprise. I normally bank on it being a leg joint, you know, with all the walking around on the cold ground. I thought it was going to be my left ankle for a few weeks, but that’s passed now and joint of the year has settled on my right wrist, doubly annoying for using the computer at work, and writing blog posts such as this. It’s inconvenient for the time being, but I can rest easy knowing that it will either get significantly worse so I require medical intervention, or it will pass entirely when the spring comes.
The concerns don’t end with the cold weather, weight gain, increased alcohol intake and risk of falls. There’s also all the shopping.
I’m not a girly girl who likes to walk round the shops for hours on end – not for myself, not for anyone. I don’t really like walking for hours on end full stop, certainly not when that involves pushing against mad crowds, standing in queues, and not being able to find anything in my size. It’s even worse if I don’t have a helper with me to carry my bags and coat, while I focus on easing my limpy legs along the polished floors of a shopping mall.
The impacts on my arthritis after a day out shopping can wipe me out for a day or so, but I’ve now developed a foolproof method to handling my Christmas shopping. Ordering online can add up with postage and packaging, so I limit the gifts I buy online to those from shops I can’t get to easily.
I then spend the rest of my time browsing the websites of shops that I can go to, check the stock online where possible, choose a day to go and take my own little helper with me to carry all the purchases. It’s served me well this year – I say, feeling very smug that I have finished all my shopping a week before Christmas.
When it comes to Christmas, I’m a massive fan. I’m one of those who wants to do everything Christmassy, and spend the season in a haze of wrapping paper and pigs-in-blankets. But it’s so easy to overdo it, so we have to look after ourselves amid all the festive joy.
But let’s face it, winter is the one season when it’s okay to sit down all the time and eat a lot, but for some reason doctors frown on that behaviour when you want to do it while you’re on steroids.
I wish it could be Christmas every day.
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(Any opinions expressed in Collette’s blog are not necessarily shared by Arthur’s Place. Nothing that you read in Collette’s blog constitutes medical advice.)