I had a really good week last week. I swam three times, went for boozy brunch and spent Sunday wandering to / from/ round Brick Lane. I woke up on Monday in no pain (rare) and practically skipped to the tube station.
It changed relatively quickly; I had an uncomfortable three stop tube journey, squashed between sweaty armpits (I am precisely armpit height) and rucksacks, and was mysteriously unable to walk afterwards. Not in too much pain, but my hip, knee and ankle kept collapsing, think Bambi but less cute. This continued for a couple of days; I could hobble round the office clumsily, but needed sticks and crutches for anything more taxing. My hip and knee felt out of place. It never actually occurred to me that it’s because they were.
I’ve definitely dislocated / sublaxed my hip twice this year, and both times I’ve not been able to weight bear at all afterwards. I just assumed that any sort of partial dislocation would render you completely immobile, but it seems that’s not the case?
I had a conversation with a friend of my flatmate, who is also extremely hypermobile, and she explained that they are partial dislocations and that the reason that the joint feels out of place is because it is. It was enlightening. For years I’ve been describing the way my joints were feeling using phrases like ‘popped out’, ‘misaligned’ or ‘not in the right place’. People generally respond with platitudes and facial expressions that clearly say ‘hypochondriac’. If she’s right, I’ve been partially dislocating joints FOR YEARS; walking, sleeping, at the gym, sitting in certain positions. It happens a lot. It feels odd for a few minutes / hours / days and then the joint feels like it clicks back in. It’s a bit sore for a couple of days, and life goes on.
I’m self-diagnosing here, and I realise that the fact that someone suffers from a similar condition doesn’t mean they are all-knowing, but this is definitely something I’m going to chat to my physiotherapist about. In the meantime, it makes me feel like less of a hypochondriac. It’s amazing what being able to attribute your pain can do for your wellbeing. Hypermobility feels arbitrary, it’s difficult to explain to people and its effects are often underestimated. I constantly ask myself if the pain is really that bad, fearing that I am making it up. Often, medical professionals, colleagues and even friends, unknowingly, perpetuate this fear; everyone that I’ve spoken to with a chronic condition has felt disbelieved or invalidated at one point or another. Having something that people understand makes all the difference, as it makes you relatable. People might not know what it feels like to dislocate something, but it sounds bad. Being too bendy, does not.
Either way, for now all of my joints are comfortably in their sockets. Apart from a repeatedly twisted ankle (I gave up counting, but when my hip and knee were out of place, I was twisting it at least five times a day), and a pulled shoulder from holding on to the bar on the tube, I’m grand. I’m off for brunch and to get sunburned for the 65th time in this heatwave.
Have a lovely Sunday everyone!