Words don’t do it justice…
I think I am going to stop calling my body events ‘flares’. Flares sound like pretty firework type things that bring hope of rescue; people fussing around and blankets and hot tea. It is also reminisce of a dying campfire that springs to life for a brief shot of warmth before snuggling into a sleeping bag. “The coals flared briefly….” MMmmmm, sounds comforting.
“Flairs” also make the rounds on the internet, like our disease is some flamboyant add-on to our fantastic lives, a little pizzazzz to set us above the next person that we can unpin from our outfit when we undress at night. I cringe every time I see it in that context.
Nope, I am going back to calling them ‘attacks’. When I first felt symptoms of this ridiculous disease I wasn’t familiar with the medical terminology so I called them attacks because that’s what it felt like: my body was attacking me. It felt as severe and unpredictable as a heart attack, and so I had ‘joint attacks’ until I was schooled in the proper nomenclature of body malfunction.
Of course I understand that flaring refers to a sometimes dormant condition becoming more active, but telling someone you are having an attack gets a little more active listening from them than if you say you are flaring. Try it.
On that note, I find that language that exists is insufficient to describe the world of Rheumatoid Disease. So few words for pain in a world of wall-to-wall agony. Where is the word that encapsulates a future of hopes and dreams crushed by diagnosis? Which word describes the deep betrayal of the spirit by the body? What utterance can ever convey how much I would like to do something with you and for you, but am completely unable?
There is a wealth of language yet to be coined to describe the land we find ourselves in and we will be estranged from others and misunderstood until we get inventive and create a bridge with words.
‘Attack’ is my start.