The thought of losing the use of my left hand paralyzed me for a little more than a month. I dreaded what the rheumatologist would say about the pain, tingling and numbness that was making it progressively more difficult to grip or to type. So, I waited for a day off to go to do X-rays and speak with my doctor.
The 50 minute trek into the city by car reminded of me of how much I hate rush hour commutes. The stress of it had me on edge before I slipped into the paper shorts for my a scan of my hand and knee (that’s another story).
An hour later, as I waited to see the rheumatologist, the results were in. The X-ray found arthritis at the base of the thumb near the wrist, joint space narrowing and subchondral cystic changes.
“I’m going to inject steroids into you hand,” my doctor said. “This should help for now but you have to ice and rest it as much as possible.”
“How?” I wondered. “I type for a living. I’m a journalist and a writer.”
I sat, wondering if this was a sign that end of my career may be closer than I’d prefer. “If my right hand goes too, I’m screwed,” I thought. “I always figured my autoimmune disease wold shorten it somehow but I didn’t think of this.”
I sat, clutching ice packs as I waited for the doctor to inject me. Before she sprayed the topical numbing agent she said, “sometimes with dark skinned people like you, the steroid could cause skin discoloration.”
“Great,” I thought. “Something else to look forward to.”
A few sharp pricks and it was over. The bleeding puncture wound was covered with a bandage. Then, I was handed another ice pack. I also left with a referral for a hand surgeon, knee surgeon and a podiatrist (an issue my rheumatologist discovered during our visit)
“I’m going to have to look past all of my brokenness to see the rest of the beautiful mess that’s me,” I thought. “If I keep doing that fighting to keep my body working as best is it can will bearable.”
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