Sunday, May 15, 2016

Crooked Swollen Knuckle Sandwich

I've been in a lot of pain lately. It's been going on for a couple of years, but the worst of it has been in the last few months. I started a rather physical job in October and my joints have been killing me ever since. Some days I can't lift one of my arms above my shoulder. Other days, one of my hands will swell and I can't hold on to anything causing me to drop everything I touch at work. I've had some days when I've had to call in sick because I can't walk. Luckily, the job offers plenty of personal leave days.

Until this month, I had maintained my manhood and avoided any doctor. I would just pop some pain pills and try to power through it, but I was missing so many days of work, I was beginning to worry if I could realistically even keep my job. One day, while accompanying my wife to an appointment because I wanted to hear what her doctor said about a test result that had us a little concerned, he talked me into coming to see him the following week. So much for being a man.

At that appointment I told him about my concerns and he ordered a bunch of blood work and wanted me to keep a food diary until I returned to see him two weeks later.
When I returned for that appointment, he walked into the room looking at my food diary and asked, "Is this real?"

I replied, "Well, yeah. I tried to be completely honest and not deviate just because I was recording everything for you."

He shook his head and said, "You eat like a homeless teenager digging leftovers out of White Castle and Applebee's dumpsters. I don't know how your body is functioning. I mean, according to this, for six days in a row your breakfast was Mt Dew!"

"Yeah. It takes too long to make coffee."

With raised eyebrows, he said, "Two days ago for supper you had a rack of ribs on bread"

 "I took the bones out."

He pointed at the paper, "There are no vegetables on here. For two whole weeks! Not a single vegetable"

I retorted, "Not true. I had vegetables last night. Spinach, sweet potatoes and tomatoes."

He glanced back at the paper and shook his head, "Veggie Straws are NOT vegetables." He then pulled out his own paper and sympathetically said, "Okay, let's try this. You really need to eat more fruits and vegetables, so let's make a list of which ones you like. What vegetables do you like?"

I got excited, "I know this one. Macaroni and cheese!"

He looked at my wife and pleaded, "Can you make sure there's fruits and vegetables in the house and that he eats them?" She agreed.

He said, "Good. Let's move on to your test results."

For the next half hour we went over what was found in my x-rays and my blood work and there was plenty found, but the best part had to do with the results of a particular test. When he pulled this up on his computer, his eyes got wide and he said to his assistant, "Have you ever seen that number that high?" His assistant, whose eyes were even wider just shook his head.

I pretty sure >300 is more than 3

You only need to score over a three to test positive for rheumatoid arthritis and I scored over three hundred. In fact, we don't even know what my actual score is because the charts only go to three hundred. I can actually say that my numbers were literally 'off the charts'.

After taking a few minutes to look at the results of several other tests, which all confirmed the same thing, he turned to me and gently said, "I hate to tell you this, but you have rheumatoid arthritis."

I smiled and said, "Okay."

He seemed a little taken back that I was taking it so well, but I pretty much already knew this. It had never been confirmed by a doctor before that day, but I knew. So, his grave declaration didn't get the response he was expecting.

Because my numbers were so high and he was able to locate several nodules in my hands and did see some degenerative damage in the X-rays of my feet, he put me on some pretty powerful drugs immediately to try to get it under control before we start the actual treatment. I don't know what that treatment will be yet, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. If it works, I won't have to cross it in a wheelchair.

I have another appointment in two weeks. For that one, we will go over my food diary again to see if I took his advice and I will be asking what the implications are of having that incredibly high number that seemed to startle him so much. Cross your fingers. I would do it myself, but they just don't move that way any more.


  1. Sorry to hear you aren't feel so great. I did find your malady a bit entertaining. sorry. not sorry. You'll want to be careful on those pain pills that you don't damage your kidneys. And I agree, food diaries are the pits.

    If all else fails and it hurts to write, you can use the speech to text programs. Auto-correct should be plenty of fun there!

    Jingle Jangle Jungle

    1. The doctor's treatment seems to have removed all pain. I am no painkillers now and am having no pain because all the swelling is down. It's awesome.

      So far, I can still type and I hope it stays that way. I would hate to have trouble navigating the internet. I live on it.

  2. Thanks for alerting me to your blog. I had no idea those alphabet thingies were yours so just whipped right past them. Am anxious to hear any further developments in this health issue. My arthritis was not the rheumatoid variety, but wish yours could be fixed as "easily" as mine.

    1. Anything TRANSFORMED NONCONFORMIST will be something I wrote. I'm happy that you know about it now. I will keep you posted.

  3. I don't think I've ever read a more entertaining description of being diagnosed with arthritis :-) Hope you and your doctor are able to come up with a plan that brings you some relief.

    1. Thank you. It's good so far. The initial treatments make me feel great. I don't yet know what the long term plans are.

  4. I think he was hoping by "veggie straws" you meant "carrots and celery sticks".
    Your food diary will be so much better next time, he'll be shocked.

    1. Yeah. I'm looking forward to the surprised look I'll get from him.

  5. Possibly the only person alive who could make the diagnosis of arthritis so entertaining.

  6. Wow, sorry to hear about it, but this was pretty hilarious. The food part reminds me of a great comic I read once upon a time ago, where the doctor was going over a formula with a patient, and he said that he could calculate how long the guy would live based off of his diet and activities. He would add 10 minutes for every time he exercised and every time he ate healthy, and subtract 10 minutes for every time he ate junk food, or smoked, or drank. So the guy took the test, and then asked, "What does it say? How long will I live?" The doctor replies, "This says you died 6 years ago."

    1. That's a good one. Mine would probably come to a similar conclusion. Any good health I do have is definitely not due to how well I took care of myself.

  7. I am sorry to hear the diagnosis, but your version of it is hilarious. I've had some fun times too at the doctors. Mine likes to talk about his hair loss when I am there about issues unrelated. I think I should be charging him after my last visit. :) Thanks for the laugh.

    1. When my daughter was being born, (like, during the actual delivery) or doctor just kept paling on about the latest episode of FRIENDS. He really seemed to like that show.

  8. Nurse and fellow arthritic typer, lol. Sorry for the final diagnosis, but elated that you wrote about it.

    We MUST laugh at ourselves, right? Or at least be the first one to do's competitive sometimes.

    First visit! Loved it.

    1. I missed this comment somehow. Thank you for visiting.

      I have to laugh at life. It just makes things easier. Plus, there is plenty to laugh about. Life is funny.


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