One Summer evening I was entertaining the kids with different games to tire them out. I came across an oldie but a goodie. We have all heard, danced & chanted along with this wonderful song as a child. Head, shoulders, knees and toes. As a child we do the movements with so much enthusiasm. The giggles that came from the kids throughout each new movement was such a beautiful sound. Each time they moved on to the next phrase the silliness would increase. I look at these words now as a person with Ankylosing Spondylitis and realize the song takes on a new meaning. It’s strange how easily I can relate it to my AS. So many unrelated ailments and yet, in the end, they come back to this chronic illness I fight daily. So let’s put on our dancing shoes and see how AS moves to this children’s song.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. And eyes and ears and mouth and nose. Head, shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes.
- Head – Can I even move my head today? My neck is so stiff that I may only be able to look down or straight. Let’s not forget the great headache I may have due to my medicines.
- Shoulders – Touching my head is out because my shoulders hurt so bad there will be no lifting in my near future.
- Knees – I want to dance to this song, but I stand and realize the swelling in my legs is putting to much strain on my knees. Touch my knees? I can barely bend.
- Toes – Is it strange that during flares even my toes hurt? Any pressure is almost unbearable. Socks, covers & even shoes do not exist during my most painful days.
- Eyes – One word…iritis! No, I have not been smoking funny plants…I have AS!
- Ears – Seeing as my immune system is compromised I am here to say it is possible to get an ear infection in the summer.
- Mouth – My jaw has shifted, my gums are weak, and sometimes chewing is even a chore.
- Nose – Bloody noses, bruises and colds due to the low immune system. Beauty at its best.
The list goes far beyond this song. I don’t expect the pain to go away. I have accepted it as part of my life. I do however hope that my fellow AS & chronic illness sufferers not let the music within them go out due to their pain. We must realize that although we live with a chronic illness we must find a moment to dance, sing and even giggle. We may not be able to boogie like we used to, but we still can love and appreciate the song.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey general educational
information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.