“Spring has sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where the birdie is?
The little bird is on the wing,
But that’s absurd!
Because the wing is on the bird!”
This little ditty, which many of us learned as children, should be changed for all chronic pain sufferers: substitute “pain” for “bird”! (The verse is equally nonsensical if you read bird or pain, with apologies to author Ogden Nash, an American poet best known for writing pithy and funny light verse).
While spring explodes around us (blooming flowers, greening grass), the arthritis on our wings and other assorted appendages take flight like a bird. The pain soars, for no apparent reason, then mercifully dips towards manageable levels (whew!) and then resumes its fanciful and enigmatic course.
Seasonal change, especially the spring, is a tough time for people with arthritis. Symptoms from my raging osteoarthritis, followed closely behind by my ankylosing spondylitis, have forced me to reach for the extra-extra strength acetaminophen. While there is no known medical link between increased symptoms and changing weather conditions (cold to warm, dry to humid and rainy, etc), many of us experience flares in our arthritis that appear to be linked to the changeover in seasons. Spring in eastern Canada is always short and sudden; one day it’s cold with temperatures barely above zero and the next day the mercury shoots into double digits.
This year’s spring has been delayed, with inexplicable nighttime lows, chilling winds and then sweltering daytime temperatures. Although I escaped south for some of this year’s brutal winter cold in Eastern Canada, I still managed to catch the tail end of the prolonged and profound freeze. The spring’s seesawing temperatures and successive rapid climate changes resulted in (at first) some episodic pain, then some temporary relief and finally a full-blown flare, followed by more episodic pain. To add insult to injury, my situ was doubly aggravated by a decision to change my NSAID medication during the same period (really bad timing).
As I limp into spring, I am not encouraged by the Farmer’s Almanac’s predictions for a warmer than normal summer (read: high humidity), with a forecast for a higher than usual rainfall. Perhaps I should add Ogden Nash’s light-hearted poetry to my summer reading list for some comic relief.