Saturday, October 11, 2008

Still Holed Up in Missouri, NOT All Maudlin About Bane

Well. Not much, anyway. Nope. Not me.

No, actually I've been silenced by my hand.

When we went to Sam's yesterday, picking up 17 prescriptions for me and 5 for Walter (the rest are due for refill in two weeks), a certain young, pretty, sweet, smart pharmacy tech spotted me. I was sitting on a Sam's scooter, my foot propped up in the basket as usual.

And she scurried up from the far end of the counter and said, --OH!! Are you the one who stutters in sign language now?--

And I broke into a huge grin, because her memory impressed the hell out of me. Told her so, too. She started giggling and said she told her boyfriend all about me. --Yeah, there's this lady who came in, and she said she got a dropped tendon in her finger so she couldn't sign right in ASL any more, so now she stutters in sign language and I NEVER heard of such a thing in my whole life, and it was actually really funny and we were laughing and laughing!!!-- I was still grinning at her as she ran away again to catch a phone call. I like shooting the breeze with folks at the store.

I didn't have the heart to tell her I stutter with both hands now. Probably that wouldn't seem funny any more. Ah, well...Such is life, eh?

Rheumatoid arthritis is the culprit that got all my health problems going. IMO, anyway. I got it when I was eight years old. My current RA doc still calls this *JRA,* for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Maybe one day I'll remember to ask him why it's still JRA now that I'm 50.

The pix show the brand new flare in my left hand. Walter took some pix for me of both hands together, to compare them. But the thing is, my first two fingers on the right hand already had some RA swelling from a previous flare.

It tends to hit bilaterally, that way; but for some reason, my bilateral flares are often staggered in time. I can't remember when the right hand went, but I think it was several months ago. It stayed a bit swollen ever since.

Not as bad as the left, though, huh? Overnight, my hands have turned into an old woman's hands.

So the thing is, I can't type very well any more. Even if I can work the pain control down to *don't need to scream while typing* level, the stiffness makes the hand not work right. My fingers and thumb simply won't go where I tell them to. Even with all the mechanical techniques and pain meds at my disposal, I still can't get the left hand to function much.

The RA flare is all over my body really, making me sick and slow and generally full of stiffness and pain, which doesn't help matters.

To get the overall pain level down, here's my usual daily routine: elevation, massages, heat, liniment, Vitamin C, MSM, malic acid, Relafen (an anti-inflammatory), Minocycline (an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties), guaifenesin, Prednisone, Doxepin, Actonel, Fentanyl patches, Lyrica, Zanaflex, and oxycodone - did I mention I take a lot of non-recreational meds?

Anyway, when the usual suspects helped, but not enough to get that left hand actually typing again, I finally covered it up with two Lidocaine patches. They cost around $400 per box of 30, and aren't covered by my current insurance, so I hoard my dwindling supply like a crazy hurricane lady. But!!! I just found out the pharma company FINALLY put the patches on their Patient Assistance Program. Maybe I can actually refill my prescription! They do help some.

So I throw everything in my arsenal at it, then simply wait for it all to come together with a little reduction in the flare. That's when I can type. I'll try to seize those moments and use them well.

This arthritis flare-up will subside at some point. How much? And when? Nobody knows. In the meantime, I'll ask Walter to look into some voice recognition software. I'll keep working out whatever I can do to keep my life the way I like it.

But this does throw a monkey wrench into it. In a big way. My life has changed again.

Now: Having explained - and thereby, also having a fine excuse to complain - and filled you in on what's happening, I'd like to get back to my irregularly scheduled programming.

Not to mention, my irregularly scheduled observance of not letting life's disappointments intrude too much on my fun.

And there are events swirling around us these days that hold a peculiar, intense, particular interest for me.

Fun. Ah, yes. You may now see a level of morgue humor from me like you never knew existed.

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Granny J said...

Oh, sweet k, I only wish there were something that each and every one of us who reads your tale could be of help in some way. You should be blogging as "j" as in Job!

k said...

Isn't he the guy who got ate by a whale? Funny thing is, I was just thinking of him last night as I filled my take-away box at the Chinese restaurant. They had a delicious Seafood Combination, with what looked like bits of small octopus tentacles in it. For some reason this made me think of Joy of Cooking, wherein lies the recipe for...Whale.

Sort of a *man bites dog* twist, standing there musing over my takeout. heh!

I'll be all right. You're walking again. See? One way or another, we figure it out.

This is one of those situations where we have to say, --Okay. Here's what I can't change. Here's what I can.

Your comments matter to me. I draw strength from them because you care.

Jean said...

You are that Energizer Bunny... just keep going and going and going.

Well, just so ya know...Florida is still here. We haven't floated away or anything :-)

We are missing you, though you are forgiven under the circumstances.

Hope that all things get better soon so you and Walter can be home before much longer.

SeaPhoenix said...

Sending you a big 'ol concentrated dose of "feel the heck better" vibes, I know you must be sick of being in landlocked Missouri away from your yard of tropical babies. Good to hear from you again.

k said...

Hee hee hee! Yup. You have me pegged, Jean. Stick a quarter in me and wind me up. ;-)

Walter's keeping a weather eye on the old homestead. I'm trying to pay more attention to Here, while we are still Here, which won't be for that much longer I think.

I thank your for your gracious patience, my dear. I'm missing everyone else too. How odd for us, really...when we're *away* for whatever reason, we have to battle feelings of guilt over not posting or commenting, even while we miss it ourselves.

In a hundred years, will anyone read back on the history of the first blogging communities, and how they evolved artistically and emotionally? Will they have any sense of our bemusement as we watch ourselves be ordinary humans - contradictory as usual - but learning the effects of that in this brand new medium?

SeaPhoenix, thank you. It's good to hear from you, too. I've been wondering how you are and what you've been up to. Wishing things could come together for you to make it to Florida before the cold sets in.

I feel so lucky that I have my tropical babies to return to. Somehow it's easier for me to take the mild homesickness when my home is such a happy and fitting place for me. It's comforting, knowing it waits for me in perfect patience.

And to think it only took a few decades for me to find it! ;-)

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Jonah. That would be Jonah who was eaten by "a big fish." But Job fits, enduring boils and other painful and distressing stuff with equanimity and poise. Like our friend k here.

That looks sore as heck, and I'm sure is no fun to fool around with! Do you think you will EVER get home again??? Or are you resigned to living in your old Missouri Home? I check on you every day.... Be well.

Pretty Lady said...

I checked on you every day until I took a 6 day vacation; I thought that would be enough to get you to post, and I was right!

I had an old friend who used voice recognition software in the early days, due to RSI. I think they've come a long way with it. Now I've even got automatic voice recognition functions on my throwaway cell phone. You might even be able to get some freeware.

Now you're going to HAVE to keep those patches on, however, because it is simply Not Fair to tease us with 'events of a peculiar, intense, particular interest' and then leave us hanging. You should write Lemony Snicket novels.

k said...

eeekkk!!! *blush* So that's why it sounded a little funny to me. Jonah was the Big Fish guy. Right. Joyce, I guess you can tell my scripture studies left a great deal to be desired. But even pop culture should have steered me right on that one!

Poor Job. He had all that stuff without benefit of modern antibiotics and painkillers. HIS poise took a heck of a lot more effort than mine ever did!

Yeah, considering what all I can throw at it, that hand is amazingly painful. It isn't showing any signs of getting over its flare yet either. *sigh* Ah well. I'm just glad it took this long to get here.

And supposedly. we'll be leaving here in 10 days or so...supposedly! So I'm trying to make sure we get out some and drive around, now that gas is going down again, yay!

Thank you for coming by so faithfully, my friend, even when I don't post for such long stretches. I would like, very much, to see to it that this summer is the last one I have to spend so inarticulate as this.

Pretty Lady, you crack me up. I finally posted. So I could start a little reading now, my duties up to date. I was wondering where you were, and when I checked on your blog, there it was, you were going out of town for a bit...

Last summer my dad showed me his voice program, and Joyce and I had been emailing about one her friend uses. Then the mortgage mess hit and we never got around to installing anything at all.

Now, it's time.

heh heh! If I didn't leave you hanging from time to time, why, you may not be motivated to get up in the morning! It's for your Own Good. See?

The last available Lidoderm patch has been on my hand for far longer than it's supposed to. My mom will send me more from my house, fedex, whenever she can get out there.

I'm also out of my 50mg Fentanyl patches, which were supposed to be refreshed Monday. I have an appointment with a local doc Thursday at 2PM. Until then I get a very brief and mild trip to hell. Side trips to the countryside, or even through the 'net, are pretty much excluded.

One more day.