Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Hands

I've thought about writing about this for a while but have not done so, until now.  I think mostly because writing about it makes it seem more real.  And I don't want it to be real.

When I saw the rheumatologist six weeks ago, she told me I have osteoarthritis in my hands.  I knew there was something wrong with my hands.  I'd been having difficulty opening those child resistant caps on medicine bottles.  Sometimes typing or using my computer mouse causes pain in my hands.  I can't rip open plastic food packages anymore like I used to; I keep scissors in my kitchen to open them instead (I got a stern warning from my dentist not to use my teeth to open packages and I definitely do not want to do anything that might damage my very expensive bridge that I am still paying for!). 

But it's getting worse.  Sewing and crocheting, things I used to like to do, are now really painful.  Painful enough that they are no longer enjoyable.  I've been considering, reluctantly, some sort of talk-to-text software to make writing easier, because that's not something I'm willing to give up.  Recently I've wanted to make some chili but I've been reluctant to try dicing onions.  Yesterday I wasn't feeling well and wanted to try to drink some tea, but it was very difficult to hold a mug.  Getting my fingers around the handle was hard.  This morning, I had a hard time brushing tangles out of my hair.  It was hard to hold the brush.

I want my hands to work.  I need my hands to work.  I don't want to think about them not working right.

The last two times I had prescriptions refilled, I thought about asking the pharmacist not to use child resistant caps on the bottles.  And both times, I "forgot" to ask.  And now I have medication bottles in my cupboard with the lids sitting beside the bottles, because it's too hard to open the lids every time I need to open them.

It's time to do something.  This is not working.

Next time I call for refills, I ask for the other caps.

I have decided to cut my hair, so it will be easier to wash and brush, and less painful (holding my arms up to wash my hair is pretty painful these days).

I'll find out about the talk-to-text software.  Maybe I can get a 30 day trial or something.  I hate to spend a lot of money if I end up not liking it.  I hate to spend a lot of money, period, but I think I have to.

Honestly, the decision today to cut my hair was... I don't know what the right word is.  It was a painful decision.  I have long hair.  Most of my life, my hair has been long, although occasionally I've cut it fairly short.  But when I've cut it before, it's always been because I wanted to.  Not because I felt I had to.  This feels like a loss.  This hurts. 

But, at the same time, after making that decision, I feel lighter.  It's like a weight off my shoulders.  And the decisions to go ahead and check into the software and to do other things I need to do came much easier after that.


  1. I so relate to your feeling of loss.

    Personally, I've been physically ill for a very long time. The illness has made me unable to make long-term, or really even short-term, plans. I simply no longer know when I will be physically able to meet comittments. And I'm talking about things I look forward to and enjoy like vacations and visits with friends and relatives. Sometimes I literally cannot plan from day to day.

    After avoiding recognizing the truth for as long as possible, I have been finally able to achieve some small level of acceptance of the cold hard facts. I can't keep waiting and expecting things to "get better". The odds are they won't get better - at least for any extended period of time. My life is different now. It won't ever go back to the way I remember it to be, the way I wish it would be. Ever.

    Accepting that has given me a weird kind of freedom. But I went through a long period of depression that I believe was actually a type of mourning. It sucks. But trying to be someone I could no longer be (dependable and able to make and keep comittments) sucked more.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I wish you weren't having to deal with this. But because you share I feel not so alone and that really helps.


    1. I'm sorry you have go through this. Thank you for sharing, though. I'm sure there is a period of mourning. You're right, trying to be someone we can no longer be does suck. I hadn't exactly thought about it like that. That's helpful to me.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this! It must be so hard to have to deal with pain and inability to fully use something as fundamentally useful as one's hands. I would definitely feel sad and frustrated. I am amazed at your coming to terms with it by the nature of your blog post. I'm sure that changes when things seem more challenging and that's understandable. I hope there is a practical solution your doctors arrive at so you aren't further limited by pain or abilities.