Pre-boarding announcement 2: take a seat

Ankylosing spondylitis often attacks the sacroiliac joints first. Sacroiliac pain is often perceived in the buttocks – a pain in the arse. Your SI joints are where your lower back fans out, in little wings of bone, to meet your pelvis. Inflamed and damaged SI joints do not, of course, move well. Sitting or standing can get difficult. Getting in and out of a car inspires in me howling fits of profanity. I’m considering calling this busked performance art and charging money. Keeping still for any length of time – sitting, or, foolish me, sleeping – lets the bad joints gel. Everything gets super stiff and painful. This happens with most of my joints, but I’ll just focus on the SIs for the moment as I try to explain why I am, in some ways, dreading my flight.

Because I have to sit still.

For hours.

Fifteen minutes is usually my limit before I must, absolutely MUST, stand up. (Attending my children’s concerts and recitals, sitting on flimsy plastic chairs – I nearly vomit from the resulting pain.)

Yes, one is free to lurch up and down the aisle, a bit, to do frivolous things like visit the bathroom, but once the attendants have the food and beverage carts hauled out, the aisle is blocked.

So, what happens when I sit still? Pain starts in those wings. My hips, those ball and socket joints deep in groin (try explaining that to a stranger) will chime in, first feeing like a severe bruise and progressing to what feels like huge abscessed tooth, pain spreading from the ball outward across the bone to the bursa. Pain creeps up my spine, from the sacral area, up through the lumbar spine, hitting some dandy hot spots in the thoracic spine – hot spots my husband or doctor can feel without even touching my skin – and slither into my neck, curling up at the base of my skull.

Maybe I could walk on the wings of the plane.

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