Bottled Water and Doorknobs

“You know.  You really need to see a doctor about this.  Enough is enough,” my husband Mark said.  He’s never that bossy.  And, he was right.  I couldn’t turn the doorknob to our hotel room without shooting pain in my hand and wrist.  What was happening to me?

We were at Walt Disney World with our kids on vacation.  My hands and wrists were killing me- burning and felt out of joint.  If I’m being honest, they had been hurting for two months.  But, I self-diagnosed myself with carpal tunnel.  I’m an English teacher and a writer.  It would make sense my hands and wrists would hurt due to overuse.  And, this kind of pain is part of getting older.  Right?

However, having to rely on my 12-year-old son to open water bottles for me at Disney – because I literally could not open them due to weakness and pain – was a wake-up call.  I called my doctor for an appointment from our hotel room.

On the way to my doctor’s office, I still found the appointment futile and it annoyed me.  It’s carpal tunnel!!!  I will wear some braces and be all set.  What a waste of time and energy!

My doctor did all of the tests for carpal tunnel and I passed all of them.  Whoa, wait a minute.  What is this then?  She posed some ideas, but wanted to get blood tests to rule out some of these issues.  One of the issues was rheumatoid arthritis.  Surely, it couldn’t be that.

My blood tests came up positive for rheumatoid arthritis due to the elevated rheumatoid factor in my blood.  Genetic.  Hereditary.  Born with it.  Flare is how I found this….

I felt the same way as I did when my kids were diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  I was dumbfounded because I kept saying to myself then–surely, it can’t be autism.  Now, I was saying the same thing – surely, it can’t be rheumatoid arthritis.  I guess old habits die hard.

It was as though I was underwater when my doctor shared the diagnosis with me.  I caught her speech in snippets:

Need to find a rheumatologist quickly.  Before disease spreads.  Chronic.  Attacking your body even as we speak….

All of my thoughts read danger.  I am in trouble here.  And, I need help.  Quickly, evidently…

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