Something really hard happened today. I stopped wearing Michael’s ring.
I didn’t choose it. And I’m sick about it.
I have worn Michael’s ring, literally, since the day he died. I put it on my ring finger, topped it with a black band he bought for me last year on my birthday, and wore it like that for a little over 3 months now.
The ring was just about the closest thing to him I can think of. When he was in and out of hospitals and procedures, he wouldn’t let them take off his ring. He was adamant about it. One of the few times he was obstinate or uncooperative, it was over that ring. Sometimes, the surgical staff (who were wonderful people) would take it off after he was asleep and put it back on him before he woke up. Sometimes, they covered the whole thing with surgical tape and let him wear it even though he wasn’t supposed to. Shhhhh. That ring was everything to him. And when he died, I couldn’t bear to take it off of him. I was devastated. My lovely friend Cindi asked the mortuary guy if he could please get Michael’s ring. And when that man presented me with that ring, I broke down. I put it on my finger, and there it stayed. I have always felt him in that ring.
Lately, I’ve had some health concerns. I haven’t posted about them because I thought people might over-react, but then I wondered why the hell I’m censoring myself on my own blog.
I’m dealing with terrible back issues that are getting addressed this week (this is a progressive degenerative condition so I know what’s happening here), but two more recent developments have come in to add to things, and I’m basically in horrific pain 24/7. Not exaggerating. My feet, my knees, my hips, my entire left leg and foot, my lower back, my upper back, my upper right chest, my neck, my shoulders, my hands, and my wrists ALL hurt like a mother. I’m not kidding. I have a high pain tolerance. I don’t whine. This is BAD. All over.
It started with a bump on my finger. I thought maybe it was a callus. But it was getting bigger, and painful. Then, it got so big in just a matter of a few days, that my finger is starting to change direction. Then, my thumbs started hurting. My knees. My hips. then, I didn’t recognize my own hands. HUGE swollen knuckles. And then, I couldn’t tie a shoe because my fingers and thumbs won’t bend. I can’t grasp a doorknob. Or bend enough to shave my legs in the shower. In a matter of days, the pain has become unbearable and the lack of mobility is increasing fast. It’s coming on hard and aggressive. And it scared me a little. So, I went to the doctor today.
For starters, I have pleurisy. I’m taking anti-biotics and steroids. Hoping that resolves soon. It’s really painful. Second, we’re almost positive I have an autoimmune disease. That’s basically a condition where your body is attacking itself. I think it’s rheumatoid arthritis, (which is QUITE deceiving because it’s an autoimmune disease where your body is attacking the joint and bone tissue and not your typical arthritis although it presents like arthritis), and my doctor put his money on Psoriatic Arthritis, which is another auto-immune condition but I don’t think it’s mine. They drew a lot of blood today and will have results in about a week.
My doctor kept telling me not to worry. I kept telling him I’m not worried. Because, I’m not. This newfound perspective of mine doesn’t fear death at all. In fact, if I do get bad news I don’t know how I’ll feel about it. I’m just not digging being in this kind of pain around the clock.
Regarding my spine and leg issues, I have an MRI tomorrow and an appt with my neuro-surgeon next week. I know what to expect, I’ve been down this road before. It’ll be time for surgery, I can’t have that done right now for painfully obvious reasons, and then we talk about a bunch of bullshit therapies that basically buy me time until I land right back there again. It’s like a big circle. Round and round. It’s madness.
And through it all, until today, I wore his ring. I took it off to put on lotion earlier, and my knuckles and hands are so swollen right now, I can’t get it back on.
Now, it lives on top of my ring. My ring has been in our hands for several weeks. And now his ring covers mine, in our hands. I’m worried that I may never put it on again. Maybe I’ll get used to it. Maybe I’ll stop living a lie by wearing it on my ring finger. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me it was time to take it off. Or maybe it’s just shitty luck and none of this means anything. I just know that my heart is breaking and my hand feels so exposed and vulnerable. It’s amazing what a piece of metal can become when it’s one of the only things you have that meant something to the man you loved.