Counting Blessings

Sometimes you do everything right, and ole’ Arthur will still rear his ugly head and throw a monkey wrench in your day. That was my Friday. I had gone to bed on Thursday night with a mindset of what all I planned to get done on Friday. I was lucky that I would be working from the home office and had my tasks set for office work. My goal was to get up as usual and start a load of clothes before going to work in my home office. But unfortunately, I woke up during the night with excruciating pain in my left wrist. It was so bad that I had to lay there and think back about my day and what I could have done to it. It was almost like I had injured it, but I honestly had done nothing out of the ordinary. I found nothing was helping, not a heating pad, not even my prescription Voltaren cream, nor spray-on icy hot, nothing was working. I did not want to take any ibuprofen on an empty stomach and was hurting so bad I felt nauseated so the last thing I wanted to do was eat. When it was time to get up, I could not bring myself to get up and start rolling as I had planned. Instead, I put the heating pad on high and wrapped it around my wrist and laid there in self-pity about how my plans were ruined. My left wrist and hand were double the size of my right wrist; my fingers were so swollen that my rings were definitely not coming off anytime soon. I could not think of anything, except why did this have to happen. I laid there for longer than usual and decided I really needed to get up and get dressed the best I could because I was going to have to go to the doctor if I could get an appointment. I could only use my right hand to do anything which quickly decided my attire for the day. I had to settle on a pair of yoga pants and a long-sleeve t-shirt. I was able to get my hair pulled up into a clip, and I was ready to go.

When Chip left the bedroom, I was still lying in the bed with the heating pad on my wrist and he told me once I got up, he would make the bed up. I like my bed made up every day. It makes the room seem cleaner. Once I was dressed, I decided I would tackle the bed myself. I had seen an infomercial during the night for St. Jude’s children hospital, and it showed children with missing limbs accomplish a multitude of tasks and if they could do it, so could I, and I did. I thought how blessed I am compared to the children I had seen on the infomercial. The bed may have not been perfect, but it was made up. Chip later fussed and said I was hardheaded, and I reminded him I was strong-willed.

I did have to accept the fact that there would be no chores done today, no clothes washed, or folded. I was able to work with one hand in my office. I had to do some typing but I type faster with one hand than a lot of people do with both hands, but my hand did tire, so I would type some, do some handwritten work I had, print some forms I needed and then type some more. I was very productive and got everything done that needed to be done.

I was watching the clock and could hardly wait for 8:00am to get here so I could get an appointment to see a doctor. Lucky for me one of my besties works at the orthopedic clinic and she was able to get me an appointment for 10:00am.  I had a rice bag that you heat in the microwave that I was keeping on my wrist and the excruciating pain did ease up a hair, and I mean a hair as fine as the hair on a frog’s behind, but any little bit counted.

Driving with one hand was not too hard until you have to make a 90-degree turn and you had to make sure you had your hand on the wheel low enough you could get a big turn out of it. I circled the parking lot a couple of times and saw someone leaving the building, so I stalked them across the parking lot and thought, “could they possibly walk any slower.” If I see someone looking for a parking place, I will indicate to them where I am parked and walk a little faster. But I guess I shouldn’t have even thought they were walking too slow because no kidding they took longer to get their car started and reverse out of the parking place than it did to walk across the parking lot. I had pulled to the side and was waiting with my turn signal on, so they knew I was waiting. Another car started to go around me and slammed on their brakes when they saw the reverse lights come on as if they had hit the jackpot and found a spot coming open, and I immediately thought, oh no you don’t, because I swear as bad as I was hurting I would have pulled out my can of whoop butt. Thank goodness they thought twice about it. Maybe they saw the look on my face in their side mirror and were terrified because they drove off.

When I had circled the parking lot, I had seen a lady at the bottom of the parking lot slowly walking up the hill toward the door and could tell she was struggling. As I was going across the parking lot, I saw a she had not made a lot of progress and still had quite a way to go to get up the hill. I walked down to where she was and asked if she had an arm to hold would it help and she said it would. I put out my right elbow, and she said asked me if I could get on her right side. I moved to her right and extended my elbow area out for her to hold and she reached out and took my wrist. I thought oh lord, what do I do, I did not want to make her feel bad and my wrist could not possibly hurt any worse, so I didn’t say a thing, as we slowly walked toward the entrance, her telling me that she had rheumatoid arthritis and her knees were killing her. She said she should have brought her cane but did not think she would have to walk so far. We made it to the entrance where it was flat, and she said she could make it on her own and I thought thank God, but honestly, it didn’t hurt any worse than it already did. I again counted my blessings because I believe I would rather have one wrist hurt than both knees because I could tell she too, was in a lot of pain. I was able to share with her that I too had RA and that I had found certain foods made my RA worse. I told her the primary things to watch were dairy, pork and red meat. I am not sure she was interested, but maybe it will spark some curiosity in her to learn more about it.

I didn’t even know what doctor I was scheduled to see but was pleasantly surprised it would have been my first choice. Unfortunately, his nurse, who I personally know, was currently out of work with her husband who is going through a far rougher time than I could ever imagine, so once again it reminded me to count my blessings.

The doctor assessed the wrist, and I told him on a scale of 1-10 it had been about a 15 all night, but the swelling had gone down some with a combination of heat and Voltaren, and the pain level was now only about a 10. He told me he thought a cortisone shot would help and he left the room. When he came back to administer the shot, he said it would be a little stick. Now, if you have never had a cortisone shot into an inflamed joint, then you don’t know what pain is. As I felt the tears building, I reminded him there was nothing little about it and that it was the worst pain an orthopedic doctor could inflict on an awake patient. He laughed, I think at the part about an awake patient because surely, he wasn’t laughing at the pain he was inflicting. By the time I got to my car, I had thought I was going to die the pressure in my wrist was so bad. I only live about five miles from the clinic, but it was the longest five miles of my life. My wrist was now back up to a pain level of fifteen, and I thought if someone cut my hand off it surely could not hurt any worse.

I came straight into the house and heated my rice bag, took some ibuprofen and went back to work in the office. I was glad to see the end of my workday, but I had scheduled an impromptu birthday get together for Bailey’s birthday (which is 01/13) but knew more of the family could get together on Friday than could any other night that weekend. Chip and Bailey both got dressed in jeans and boots and there I stood in yoga pants and a t-shirt. I felt so underdressed, but I knew I would never be able to pull up and down a pair of jeans and decided it was dark outside, and hoped I would not see anyone I knew, which is impossible in your hometown. I decided to wear my wrist brace because I told Chip if anyone accidentally bumped into my wrist, I would probably fall to a heap on the floor and cry like a baby, that’s how bad it was hurting.

Though my wrist was hurting, the night was a lot of fun. We ate dinner with one of my brothers and his family at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Vallarta, and yes, I did see several people that I knew.

We then went to Ballad Brewing (AKA Ballads) to kill some time as we had a lane reserved at Grizzly’s Hatchet House with the rest of the family for 9:15pm and it was a surprise for Bailey and I didn’t want her to know until the last minute we were going. Little did I know someone had already mentioned they would see her later, so she knew something was up, she just didn’t know what it was.
At Ballads, Chip and Bailey had fun throwing darts. Chip won, but Bailey was closing in on him.

IMG-1039

As it got closer to 9:00pm, I kept giving Chip the look, “we have got to go.” He finally told Bailey that he wanted to try throwing something sharper and suggested they go try some axe throwing. She was excited about that as she had been wanting to go back to Grizzly’s Hatchet House.

Everyone was there when we arrived, and we had just enough time to get checked in and grab a drink. I, of course, was not participating but enjoyed watching and talking. I am blessed to have a family who enjoys spending time together.

If anyone in the Danville area has not been to either Ballads or Grizzly’s Hatchet House, you are missing out. Ballads’ has lots of games, including a large connect four, corn holes, a giant Jenga, outdoor fire pits, food trucks, and of course, it is a brewery, so they have beer on tap. Grizzly’s Hatchet House, of course, has axe throwing, a huge fireplace with comfy chairs to visit with friends, a bar and great food. Within the same complex is also River City Escapes. We have not done the escape rooms there, yet, but have at other venues and it is so much fun.  The next time you are looking for something to do, get a few friends together and check out these venues, you will not be disappointed.

Even though I was in a lot of pain, I counted my blessings, time and time again, and as usual, I stand by my philosophy, “I have RA, but RA doesn’t have me.”

I will end with a funny story I always think of when I have a lot of extra pain and talk about “Arthur.”

The (Other) Men in My Life
I typically am seeing 5 gentlemen every day.
As soon as I wake up, Will Power will help me get out of bed.
As soon as I am up, I must go see John.
Occasionally Charlie Horse comes along & when he is here, he takes a lot of my time & attention.
When Charlie Horse leaves, ole’ Arthur Ritis shows up and always seems to want to stick around the rest of the day. The problem with Arthur Ritis is he doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint.
I can honestly say that by bedtime, I’m tired & glad to go to bed with Ben Gay.
If that is not enough men, I’m also starting to flirt with Al Zymer, as I have been accused of having CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff).
Sometimes I think about calling on a couple of other men, Jack Daniels or Johnny Walker, to come and keep me company and drown away my pain, but they would just cause even more problems, later, so I will reluctantly accept my time with ole’ Arthur.

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