Sunday, January 16, 2011


I have been in the grips of a major flare for the last 2 weeks.  With the exception of an occasional mild flare up, I had almost forgotten what one felt like.  I have experienced severe shoulder pain that I haven't felt since separating my right shoulder some 25 years ago, swelling, fatigue and my feet have hurt so badly that I could barely stand to walk.  I am feeling better now, I believe the worst is behind me for this time. 

I have not hardly been on my computer over the last 2 weeks, I will catch up with everyone's blog soon.  I am reposting (I should feel like doing a new post next week) a humorous ride I did a couple of years ago.  

Randall and I had both worked Saturday night and got off at 7am Sunday morning. We did not have to work Sunday night for President's Day so we decided a ride was in order after 3-4 hours of sleep. I arrived at Randall's about 1 pm and we loaded up and headed off to the woods.
We had an excellent day riding, found some new single track trail that was incredibly fast (40-55 mph) without a rock in it. We also missed a turn and rode some of the new trail twice which was fine because our 525's were built just for this type of trail. We got caught on one of our favorite trails late in the afternoon. An ice storm had came through 3 weeks earlier and had left a ton of downed trees and we were riding 200 yards, getting off of the bikes and moving tree branches, limbs, and brush. In most places the woods were so dense that you could not ride around the fallen debris. It was getting late and we were running out of daylight quick. When we finally made it out of the woods, we lit our bikes up and hammered them back to the truck, arriving just at dark. 
We thought our excitement was over. Boy were we wrong! Randall has a heavy duty lock on the back of his HiPoint trailer and the numbers are not highlighted with paint, they are stamped out of the metal. Randall and I both have excellent vision ... far off ... one foot in front of our face, we're both blind as a bat. We have no problem with the numbers in daylight, but it is now night time in the forest.  We started my bike and aimed the light at the lock, Randall tried, I took a turn at it, we took Randall's cell phone and tried to use the light off of it to see better. All to no avail and by now it is dark, foggy and cold. We both had our reading glasses locked safely inside the trailer ... the one with the lock on it that we can't read. A bit of irony here but a lesson learned the hard way. Even on short rides when we're not taking maps, pack your glasses in your fanny pack! After 20 minutes of this I broke out into laughter while trying to read the numbers and yanking on the lock to no avail, Randall walked around the side of the trailer. I hear a muffled "I'll be damned" and I feel the trailer move. My first thought is "Great, the trailer has a flat tire also". 

But instead of more bad news, it was some much welcomed good news. Randall had not locked the side door (something I still can't believe for Randall) which worked out great for us on this particular day. Once inside he found his glasses and opened the lock. It was well after dark by the time we loaded up and once again we have another story to laugh about.


Wren said...

I'm so glad this latest bad flare is fading into memory, Terry. I'm an old hand with severe shoulder and foot pain, man. It's absolutely miserable, and even more so when you have to somehow work day after day with it. That you did speaks to a special kind of courage and a big dose of guts. Wow.

As to your story--I was really tickled by that. I've been wearing glasses for years, now, but it's only been in the last year or so that it's gotten bad enough that I have a truly hard time reading small print without them. And in poor light? Like you, forget it. Thank goodness your buddy forgot to lock that back door, or you'd have had to spend a long, cold night cussing that lock...

Best to you, as always. Take good care, and feel the warmth and hugs headed your way from the mountains of Northern California. Thanks for the chuckles, too!

Squirrel said...

Hey Terry, sorry to hear about the horrible flare. Funny how our bodies 'forget' pain eh? I hope you are back to normal soon and stay that way for a long while.

I don't wear glasses but some of my best friends do and they've told me some funny stories about walking into cupboards in strange houses in the middle of the night thinking they were in the toilet etc. Glad you didn't get stuck in the forest!

tharr said...

Wren, thank you. You are always there with your awesome comments and words of encouragement. I am lucky that I have made it so long without a bad flare but this one made up for missing several. I did manage to work everyday although it took a lot out of me.

Even though this original post is 2 years old, I have not broke down to wear bifocals yet. I still see fine far off and carry reading glasses with me. We have several riding stories like this one, I might have to post about another funny ride soon. We all need to laugh.

Squirrel, exactly! It's funny what we can adapt to and on the other hand, how quickly we can forget some of the bad things.

Even though it was dark and cold, it was really funny, even at the time we were trying to get into the trailer. I just have reading glasses, still holding out on wearing bifocals all the time just for close up work.

Lana said...

Sorry to hear about your recent flare-up and I can sympathize considerin g that is what winter has been doing to me. Lately, I have been getting these really painful quick flares that start quickly and last from anywhere from a while minutes to a half hour. They are a lot more painful than the gradual ones so it really sucks and then at the end of the flare, the flare lives with it a longer period of achiness. The thing we put up with – not for sissies that is for sure. Anyway, I hope you start to get some relief soon.

What is with the tacky outfits? This is a couple years ago. They look like those wind suits from the 80s. A couple of old guys – no wonder you cannot see but I shouldn’t talk either since I am blind as a bat too. :-)

Anonymous said...

Work has been tough lately for me too. I feel for you buddy. I am back on orenccia and arava but according to the doc I have to wait till things build up again. It is hard to be patient when you are swollen all of the time. I always enjoy the read. Hope things turn soon. On another note, you were talking about hydrotherapy previously and today at 20 degrees and two feet of snow outside, we sat next to a blazing wood stove and even though we were roasting in heavy clothes, my pain just dissapeared for a while. Maybe I should get a heating blanket.
Be good.
Phil - Syracuse

tharr said...

Lana, I usually have a short (a few hours to a couple of days long) mild flare up but this one has really reminded how nasty flare ups can be to us. I know the weather we have had has an effect on it but I am ready for the flare (and winter) to be completely gone! Been using a lot of Voltaren Gel and the hot tub just trying to get through this one.

Haha, we are wearing them so we don't notice them being tacky. The jackets we wear (winter time only) are layered for insulating, protection (back, shoulder and elbow pads are made into the jacket) as well as being water proof. The pants also have the same features as well as coming down over your boot. Perhaps not stylish, but if we go down, our odds of getting back up and taking off are greatly increased. Besides, all other dual sport and adventure riders are wearing the same stuff. lol It sucks getting old ... at least everything still works, just sorta like my eyes... not as well as it use to.

tharr said...

Hey Phil, although I have FMLA on my RA, I have worked every day through this flare up. I seriously thought about using my FMLA one day last week, but struggled through the day at work.

Glad to hear you are back on your meds, it won't be long before you will be feeling good again. I know what you mean about the wood stove. We built a fire in the fire pit about 3 weeks ago when some friends came over, and it felt good right up next to the fire. Wood heat feels altogether different than central heat. My wife actually bought a heated mattress pad with dual controls for our bed, so you are actually laying on top of the heat instead of the heat being on top of you like with a conventional electric blanket. We both like it better.

Cathy said...

When a flare hits my shoulder it seems to create the most pain. I am not sure why, but it is extreme. And those feet. Even now that I am feeling better, the feet don't want to give up the fight.

I hope you continue working your way out of this flare. It sounds like RA really ganged up on you.

tharr said...

Hello Cathy, it has been such a long time since my shoulder has hurt, I have been very fortunate to not have had many severe flares, but this one has sure kicked my butt! I'm ready for spring, warm weather and getting back outside. I don't like being cooped up inside.

Laurie Grassi said...

Hey there!

Hope your shoulder feels better soon; did not mean to jinx you with all the talk about my own darn shoulder pain!!

Ditto for your feet, of course...

:) L

tharr said...

Laurie, I think I'm having sympathy shoulder pain from reading about your shoulder so long. lol
I have accepted that my feet hurt 24/7 but the last 2 weeks have caused them to hurt way beyond my normal pain.