Last night I had excruciating outer ear pain from a quarter to five until a quarter past six in the morning. It was so agonisingly painful that I was groaning in my mind as it pulsed and the pain overcame me in waves. This was a screaming, pinching, slicing pain, different from the aching pain I get in my joints. Even just the sheet touching it was almost too painful to bear. What the hell is this?! Why would the outer ear (and I really do mean the external part of the ear — I think it’s made of cartilage?) be that intensely sensitive and engulfed in pain? It’s bizarre. I lay there gritting my teeth trying to decide how to put either a hot water bottle or a pack of frozen peas on it when any contact with anything was impossible, and what kind of pain killers, if any, would work. Somehow I made it through enough time for it to ease off a little, and I managed to doze off and sleep fitfully until seven o’clock.
Sometimes I wish someone I trusted had given me advice about being hypermobile when I was younger, instead of what actually happened which was my friends giving me masses of positive attention and telling me to, “do it again – stick your legs behind your head!” or “show us the splits,” or “do another backflip.” I wish someone had said, “don’t stretch your already over-stretched ligaments any further or you’ll have constant pain in your knees, hips, and back when you’re fifty.” If I could speak to my younger self I’d say, “be gentle with your body. I know you get a lot of admiration from pushing it to its limits and doing crazy party tricks with your unnatural flexibility, but you’ve got to understand this will wreck your joints forever and you’ll have pain when you’re older that will never go away. Life is fleeting. You’re in your prime only once and when it’s gone it never comes back. So enjoy it, make it good and interesting, but look after your body. Treat it with respect and don’t overstress the ligaments in your joints. And another thing… Live how you want to live. Make your life count for you. Soon you’ll be old, your body will start failing and your beauty will be gone. All too soon it will be over and then someone will be saying about you, “yes, she died fifteen years ago…” And that will be true! You will have died fifteen years ago and life will have moved on. Everything will have changed. Your time and your one chance will be used up. Make the most of it now, and be aware that your lifetime is very precious and very brief.”
Life is so pleasurable between bouts of pain and anguish. I guess that’s what we live for, those fleeting moments of glory.