kaffyr (kaffyr) wrote,

Dept. of Pain

Give the Lady a Big Hand. Or a Healthy One. Or Two.

     Do you know how easy it is to type with a wrist splint support on one hand and a thumb splint support on the other?
     No, really; do you know? Because I sure as hell don't.
     Remember that bad cold I had three weeks or so back? Well, coming out of it, I realized that my hands hurt a lot. I figured it was an unpleasant mash up of minor arthritis and the cold; something to whine about but nothing more.
     It turns out that that isn't quite the case.
     The cold went away. The pain didn't.
     It got worse. It also became rather multifaceted, if one can say that about pain. First, every joint from the wrists down ached, all the time; general arthritic fun, bone crunches included. Then I developed what felt like a wicked sprain in my left thumb ('Aha!' I cried, "Can't be carpal tunnel, because I don't mouse with that thumb!') and then, later, in my right thumb — and by sprain I mean that if I moved either thumb while moving my wrist, I sent a white hot knitting needle into the base of my thumb and pushed it four inches up the side of my forearm for 2 seconds.
     The least painful, but most troubling thing, was the tingling and numbness I had in three or four of my right fingers and, to a lesser extent, in the same fingers on my left hand.  I'd had occasional flareups of this years ago, whilst driving on the job. I'd attributed it to clenching the steering wheel too tightly, and thought no more about it.
     Now, however, it began happening any time I raised my hands higher than my heart, which makes washing my hair interesting, to say the least. And several times, the numbness has come with apparent lack of circulation — it's amazing how yellowy-white your skin looks without that healthy pink "blood's reached the proper place" glow.
     You have to understand that I have long been used to pain. Headaches and I go back 45 years, for instance. I hate it, and it's interfered with my life, you betcha. But I am not used to moving my hands and crying out because it hurts so much to do so. I'm not used to being unable make a fist because it hurts too much. I'm not used to seeing my fingertips look and feel dead.
     So off to the doctor I went. And, yeah, it's probably wear and tear-induced arthritis, plus carpal tunnel syndrome in the right hand. The doctor referred me to a rehabilitation specialist that day, set me up for x-rays and an electromyography test, and drained a little bit of blood. She put me on Celebrex, plus prescription Prilosec, to keep the Celebrex from putting holes in my stomach. (Celebrex apparently does that far less often than the naproxen I've been eating for three weeks, but because I've had a couple of ulcerific moments in the past, she wants me to use the Prilosec , too.)
     The next night, the doctor called me at home. She's now referred me to a rheumatologist. Why? Because there's an element in my blood that's elevated, an elevation that can sometimes signal the possibility of things like Lupus. It's almost certainly not that, she said quickly. But ... almost certainly doesn't make me feel good. I really wish she'd practiced truly old-fashioned medicine, by not telling me quite that much.
     The Celebrex may be working; my hands don't hurt today. Much. 



Tags: home stuff, life in the circus, pain

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