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Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 in CRPS / RSD | 0 comments

Not so super, at the supermarket (05.08.17)

Not so super, at the supermarket (05.08.17)

For 25 years now, my husband and I have had a Friday evening tradition. Nothing as exciting as going to a movie or concert, or even going out for supper. When we get home from work on Fridays, we have a quick supper and then head out together – to get groceries for the week. I told you it wasn’t particularly exciting!

Our goal is to get all of the weekly errands out of the way at the start of the weekend, so we can spend as much time as possible outside on Saturdays and Sundays. We both love outdoor sports, and just spending time outside in nature, so we avoid having to go to the supermarket, pharmacy, or hardware store during the weekend.

For more than a year now, since I was diagnosed with CRPS, I’ve been doing 1-hour M&M physiotherapy sessions after work a few times a week; on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I head to the physiotherapy clinic right after work, and get home at about 2000 on Mondays and Wednesdays and at about 1900 on Fridays.

This past Friday night, when I got home from my physiotherapy clinic, my husband and I had a light supper; a salad with turkey sandwiches. We like to eat outside on our little patio, but it looked like it was going to rain so we had a picnic inside instead – sitting on the floor at our coffee table. By 2000 we were on our way to our local supermarket, and rain started to bucket down while we were driving there.

By the time we got inside the supermarket, even from a parking space close to the entrance, we were sopping wet and laughing at how silly we both looked. Our hair was completely soaked and plastered to our skulls, and we had water running down our arms and legs. It had been a very hot and humid day, so the air conditioning was very cold inside the supermarket, and after about a minute I stopped finding our wet clothing, hair, and skin quite so funny.

Photo of a swollen and reddened hand

Photo: Sandra Woods

With the combination of wet skin and air conditioning, within a minute of entering the store my right hand (the one with CRPS) “flared”. What do I mean by a “flare” of CRPS? My right hand changed colour, to a purplish shade of red, and became ice cold to the touch. It had tremors so severe that I couldn’t control my hand; I couldn’t even hold our grocery list. And I had terrible neuropathic pain, even worse than the nighttime pain flares that I still experience at least a few nights a week. It felt as though my hand and arm, from the fingertips to past my wrist, were being simultaneously blowtorched and given electric shocks. All this happened in the space of about 60 seconds.

I carefully dried off my hand and arm with the only dry part of my fleece sweater, and we decided to finish picking up our groceries and hope that the rain would subside by the time we were done. Sure enough, the rain had almost stopped when we headed back to the car. My CRPS flare, though, didn’t end when the rain let up – it’s been over 6 hours now and shows no signs of letting up.

If you’ve ever experienced neuropathic pain, you’ll understand why I’m still awake – and writing this (with my left hand!) – at 0220. Maybe I’ll regret it once I’ve gotten some sleep, but I’m going to title this post “Not so super, at the supermarket”…

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