Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Avoid Stairs

After taking the Meloxicam all summer, I have seen a small improvement in my hands. But my knees...

It's incredibly painful to stand up and sit down. I'm not sleeping well because I fall asleep on my side and trying to find a comfortable position when my knees hurt sometimes means I toss and tossing is painful. I am close to being out of the Meloxicam, so I called my doctor who decided I should see an orthopedic doctor just to rule out anything. That appointment was this morning.

I don't have pain when I sit. I don't have much pain when I'm up and moving around but I do have to watch how I move. My knees hurt, a lot, last night, from standing in the kitchen making dinner. Those little sideways movements we all do when we turn from the counter to the stove, cause shooting pain through the knee. I cannot move anything near "fast" and even "slow" might be pushing it.

And, I'm having problems with my hands. I feel my fingers look swollen. I get shooting pain below each thumb and the middle finger on each hand aches. I'll get cramping in my right hand from working with the computer mouse. I don't have a problem with my counted cross-stitch or my sewing, but I don't feel I have strength in my hands anymore to pick up, hold and grab heavier items.

I took all of this to the doctor today, along with the medications I take and my x-rays. He had me do a number of tests for range of motion and for strength. I was certain a couple of the ways he would bend my knees was going to hurt. It didn't.

At the end of this, it's not arthritis. The arthritis the radiologist thought he saw is an "artifact" on the x-ray and not evidence of it. So, I don't have arthritis, at least, not yet. I am susceptible to it and will probably get it eventually, but I don't have it right now.

What I have is severe trauma to the cartilage in my hands and knees from when I fell. That cartilage was injured. It wasn't torn. It was bruised and the underlying bones were also bruised. This cartilage is also not as fat and thick as it was 20 years ago so it will take a long time for it to heal.

He was empathetic to my mobility loss but there isn't really anything that can be done. Stretching exercises will make sure the muscles stay limber. Time is all I have to work with here. This is good, kind of. It won't take surgery or anything invasive. This is bad because it's just going to take time. I guess I have spent 3 months in pain what's a few more.

He said the natural things I've found to treat arthritis won't hurt me. They may help and there is nothing wrong with eating jell-o every day. I must avoid stairs if possible, he said. Those few stairs, such as the ones going into my house, I need to take slowly. The washer is in the basement. Once I get to the bottom of the stairs, I can load up the machine and hang up the wash when it's done. I looked at what I have waiting to be washed and it's one load of darks. Once or twice a week up and down the stairs I can do, otherwise, I am to avoid all stairs.

I'm depressed. This weighs me down. It feels as if I have lost 50% mobility. I don't go anywhere without considering whether I can sit. If I need to stand, can I do it for only an hour, maybe 90 minutes, before finding a place to sit down? I feel as if I've lost 75% hand strength. I can sort of cope with the hand thing. I use two hands to move things where I used to use one. There is no gardening unless I can stand but I've had problems grasping things and pulling. I don't have the hand strength.

Was the appointment worth it? Yes, it was. There is no expensive procedure in my future. I don't have any underlying disease. He looked over the blood work done back in June and I don't have diabetes or signs of rheumatoid arthritis. I don't have carpal tunnel. I just have a body that was involved in a tough fall. My age is what works against me in the healing process.

But it doesn't make me feel better knowing this is the way it is. I already feel isolated just because of my life and my lack of finances. The inability to move about more freely isolates me more. I don't want to drive anywhere. It hurts. I can't do for myself what I've always been able to do.

Life goes on and I'll deal with it as best I can.

Beverage:  Blackberry tea


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