I used to think “stiff” was an old person adjective. My physiotherapist would measure my “stiffness & spasticity” and I didn’t fully comprehend the meaning. I was in my late 20s how can I be stiff? I thought “oh I’ll deal with it when I’m older..” hahaha it was probably 6 months later that I got it.
My right arm and leg are so stiff they curl up like a caterpillar does when you poke it. My leg won’t bend, my hip flexor muscles are so rigid I can’t take steps, and I have foot drop. I can’t lift my arm up without bringing my shoulder and my entire body with it.
The only times my leg decides to work is if I hurt myself and in the evening when muscle spasms say “hi!” The ‘hurting my foot’ time is ok because my foot recoils normally, but I DO NOT appreciate my body’s additional response where my leg collapses and I fall. SO DRAMATIC. Moments later when I can stand up it’s as if my leg is saying “what! that’s not what I’m supposed to do?”
Mornings I get out of bed hunched and slow like a creature woken from a frozen state. Stretching is and up & outward motion, right? When I stretch I unwillingly fall forward like I’m folding in half. The best are unexpected stretches when I’m reaching for something. Oliver asks for a book, I reach up “oh wait a stretch feeling!” and I’m down.
Usually I feel like Bambi walking on ice and can’t trust my legs to hold me up. Rare times, like at physio, my muscles decide to show up the therapist. We will be doing stretches and get to a point where my leg won’t bend. Where is this muscle strength when I need it? Sorry, my muscles are too tuckered out from being difficult all day. I’m stubborn and my body is stubborn. I’m a giant toddler and I don’t know how to make both parts of me cooperate.
Yawning is fun too. I’ll be reading to Oliver, yawn, drop the book, and then my right hand curls into a fist for some reason? I actually need to pry my fingers apart because my hand is being a total dick. I remember once while buttering a bagel I yawned and it became a crushed blob of dough. Great breakfast.
Sometimes it helps to compare my body to a child learning. I would never be upset at Oliver for doing something “wrong” so why am I always so harsh to myself? But he’s 3 and learning new things. How can I not be when once I could? I am not a child learning new things…I’ve done these things successfully! This divide between memory and physical capability is hard.