A Permanent Visit from Arthur
A couple of days after I started this job, the top of my right hand swelled and hurt bad. I sling heavy boxes most of the day every day and figured I had pulled a muscle or strained a tendon or jammed a knuckle. I have tried to doctor it myself, at first with some success, but finally had to break down and go to the emergency room Sunday morning since I had the day off. It isn’t anything I thought it was. It’s Rheumatoid arthritis. Apparently if flared up the first couple of days and the work I do kept it inflamed afterwards. It got so bad this past week that I couldn’t lift anything. It was very frustrating and depressing. The news of what the problem actually is, is even more frustrating and depressing. This isn’t something that goes away.
I lucked out and got a really good doctor at the emergency room that spent a great deal of time with me and explained it in great detail. He said I would have to limit the weight I lift, however, he said this job was probably the best thing for me because not using my hands would only cause them to stiffen up and begin to deform. The diagnosis also explained why my feet hurt so bad after being on them all day because they also have the arthritis in them. I also have osteoarthritis which presents itself in the top joints of the fingers just below the nail bed. I’ve had little knots in them for years but they don’t hurt like the knuckles of my hands do. I had heard of both types of arthritis but didn’t know how to differentiate between the two. The Rheumatoid Arthritis presents itself in the knuckles of the hand and may cause severe deformities if the hands are not kept busy.
He gave me two shots of painkillers and steroids to reduce the swelling and stop the pain. They worked well and tonight most of the swelling is gone and all of the pain has subsided. I was actually even able to get some housework done this evening that I had been putting off because I was hurting so bad.
I have to say that I have been too happy with my job and my life in general to let this really depress me. I just know that I have to completely rethink my position at work now in order to avoid the flair ups. All of my employees have known that my hand was hurt and swelled and so I don’t think that it will be a problem to enlist their help in the change of duties. I will definitely have to hire a young strong guy to do the heavier merchandising that needs to be done rather than put it off on the other ladies in the store. They already work hard enough without having to take up my slack too.
It just goes to show that life is full of ups and downs. You never know what is around the corner every day. You just have to keep your chin up and keep moving on.