My dog is named “Arthur” (psoriatic arthritis). He’s a mean, sneaky son-of-a-bitch. There are times he curls up in the shade and goes fast to sleep, and all is quiet. He’s harmless and benign when he’s sleeping, and like all sleeping things I eventually forget he’s even there. I go about my business, write, go to work, exercise, travel, and think smugly, “Well, Arthur’s gone”. This thought only occurs during long term remissions though, of which I have had several over the past ten years. For the short term remissions, where I know he has one eye peeking open watching me, and he’s not so very benign, I am scared shitless waiting for him to break free. My arsenal against him is meager: drugs, that often have such bad side effects that I try not to even think about what they are doing to my body over the long term; doctors, who are like a dice game in a back alley with a bunch of hoods (you seldom roll snake eyes, but when you do it’s the best snake eyes you ever rolled); exercise, which is good for me but afterwards can make me feel like a wheezing Pinto on the Cadillac highway if I overexert; support from family, which I know they get tired of doing- hell I wouldn’t want to live with someone who suffers with chronic pain. I know I would be thinking “What a little whiner he/she is”.
In the past year, Arthur has been more than just a nuisance. I have been going to doctors for months whining and complaining, my body feeling like I’ve gone eight rounds with Evader Holyfield, and generally making my doctors cringe when they see me coming, but all I’m trying to do is communicate the harsh reality that my long remission is over. Arthur has stretched his snarling self awake and he’s really pissed. I’m tired of whining, but I need certain parts of my life back. I want to know how to fight this dog, or dogs (I think I have acquired another to go with Arthur, but I don’t know his name yet). I am ready to kick ass and take names. The pity party is over.
The dog is off the chain, but after months of covering my head and running directionless around the yard while Arthur bites my ass, I am ready to go “balls to the wall” and find the aluminum baseball bat that will beat him into submission. I used it nine years ago to bash him into unconsciousness. I know it’s still around here somewhere….