Thursday, June 27, 2013

Taking the gloves off!

First thing this morning, I realized I'd overslept--by a lot! Looking at the time, and having an "Oh, s***" moment, I got in and out of the shower in just enough time for Esmeralda to arrive for Mom's day care.

After this burst of adrenaline subsided, I centered myself and allowed a few things to register. 1) I'd slept more soundly last night than I had for several weeks; 2)I had experienced no shoulder pain last night; (3) when looking at my hands and wrists, there was only a small amount of swelling; and (4) there was almost none of the discomfort I'd come to expect first thing in the morning.

Okay...when's the other shoe going to drop?

As elated as I was by this turn of circumstances, I was able to pull myself back down to earth. This would be, after all, only my second day on my new medication regimen. It's treatment, not a miracle cure.

But, I still allowed myself to savor the first wave of symptom relief.

Remembering my extensive session yesterday with Dr. La, I deliberately retired the compression gloves to a drawer. He had said that RA needs to be treated from the inside out, and gloves were obviously not going to achieve that effect. Going out without them, though, was actually scary. It amazes me how I had ascribed to the gloves some kind of protective power. Without them, I was thinking that my hands and wrists would be too vulnerable. I took deep breaths each time I called upon my hands to do something, like dressing myself, or turning the key in my office door lock.

At no time today did my hands "break." And as I type this post at day's end, they're still intact, and attached to the rest of me. Yes, my right index finger is looking like a sausage right now, and I did wince when I braced myself with my left wrist a couple of hours ago. But that's part of the process, and I need to be prepared for some setbacks, big or small.

I also found that my mixture of euphoria and anxiety especially enriched my professional empathy today. It reminds me of how both resilient and fragile we humans are. We can fight whatever battle presents itself, and know when it's prudent to call allies to our side. Take, for example, the common reluctance to ask for or accept help from others. This is addressed in several places in the Arthritis Foundation website.

Many blog posts ago, I proclaimed my intention to become a wholly self-sufficient urban homestead woman, who, among a long list of other things, was going to continue to cut the front lawn by herself, manage all the household tasks, run my practice, tend to my mother, and have spare time for a social life.

Painfully (yes,pun intended), I have learned the wisdom of dialing things back a bit. Perhaps the old "work smarter, not harder" would be useful here.

I'll let you know when I've figured out how I'll apply it to my own life. I'm a stubborn creature, set in my ways (sign of my age?).
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