Well, yesterday I managed one of the typical stupid injuries that just…happen around here. They’re typical mostly because of the connective tissue disorder I live with, but also because of the sheer number of old injuries and the touch of clutziness that is rather typical of people with life-long connective tissue disorders.
I dislocated my shoulder.
Now, before you all get worried, I’m fine. I missed my afternoon class, and called off the girl who comes in in the evening because I wasn’t in any shape to supervise.
The real annoyance comes in with how I dislocated my shoulder. I wasn’t doing anything particularly stupid; didn’t try to lift something heavy, catch myself falling, get yanked on by the dog, or anything of that ilk. No, I just tried to take a sweater off.
Out of habit, I tend to take pullover sweaters off the same way – I cross my arms and grab the bottom edge of the sweater, then pull up and over my head. I got about halfway when my left shoulder – the fragile, tempermental, and generally infuriating shoulder – decided it wasn’t in the mood to do that.
I had to have my boyfriend ease me out of the sweater around the dislocated shoulder, which got jostled in the right way and snapped back into place in the process.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, just getting in and out of basic clothing is dangerous when you have EDS.
It’s a lot of things.
First off, let’s start with the basic shapes of clothing. You see, it doesn’t take much to pull the joint of an EDSer out of place. A jacket that pulls just a little at the shoulder. A sleeve that bunches too much at the elbow. Pants too long, stepped on, can put out any joint in the leg. Shoes that aren’t JUST RIGHT – and even ones that are – can put out any of the myriad joints in the foot. As can socks that are too big or too small – too big and it can bunch and wrinkle to the point of dislodging joints, too small can squeeze joints out of place.
Going beyond that, putting them on. It is oh so easy to put a shoulder out when donning or doffing a jacket, especially the heavy winter variety, and elbows can be prey to this as well. As I mentioned happened to me yesterday, clothing that comes over the head like shirts and sweaters can dislicate the shoulders, or alternatively wrists, hand-joints, or elbows. Putting on pants is just downright dangerous – either you are sitting down and put them on, in which case you need to stand before you have them all the way up, or you put them on standing up and wobble and try to stay upright. Either way, you’ve got a risk of falling, you put a lot of pressure on the ankles, and if you’re wearing tight pants you risk putting a hip out. Socks can be hard on the fingers and toes.
And then there’s the fasteners. Ever thought about how hard it would be to do up your fly when gripping something too hard can dislocate your fingers? Not to mention buttoning shirts, zipping jackets, doing up a jacket, lacing shoes… Any one of those is a risk to my fingers, and some are a risk to wrist and shoulders as well.
Sadly, the kind of clothing that doesn’t produce these risks is not exactly the sort of thing a well-heeled future attorney wears. While my pyjama pants are the height of comfort, Tinkerbelle does not exactly set the right tone. And frankly, when it comes to anything on my upper body, well EVERYTHING is a risk!
And before any of you says it, no, going naked isn’t an option, either. My boyfriend might appreciate the view, but I appreciate not being locked up, and not having all the goods on display for the whole world.