Blood, fog, and arthritis

Saturday my husband and I took an easy and pretty and walk along the river, mostly just admiring the rocky citadel of Snake River Canyon and being glad we live here. The squawky intonations of red-wing blackbirds were fun to hear; these birds don’t make it up to the dry high country where we live.

Hours later, the elbow pain that recently returned from a dormancy phase throbbed mercilessly. Lifting, or even handling objects of any mass at all was clearly interdicted. As if to post a sign as a reminder, my right elbow, fingers, knee, ankle, and instep were very puffed up and bright red. Only my elbow hurt. My left elbow also hurt but showed no inflammation. My left knee sported a rash that didn’t itch or hurt at all. The difference between my right and left sides seemed almost like two different people. It was all very weird, but everything but the elbow pain was gone by morning.

Because I have other autoimmune conditions (Addison’s disease and Sjogren’s syndrome), and have had arthritic deterioration since I was 15, when my knees were found to have chondromalacia, I have somewhat expected rheumatoid arthritis to join the fray at some point, and never really gave it much thought as any big deal. Fibromyalgia, which has been a constant in my life for 30 years, has been a very big deal.

Featherweight class opioids keep my fibro pain manageable for the most part; but I have no way of deterring the dense mental fog that most fibro people call fibro-fog, and which I call transitory braindeath episodes.

I saw my doctor today (Tuesday), to get his take on the right-side inflammation. He ordered some bloodwork to try to identify an underlying cause of what he is now calling my poly-migratory arthritis. I suppose that is better than uni-local get-nowhere arthritis. He sent me to the hospital lab, practically next door to his office.

I was tired. I had spent part of the morning getting myself locked out of my bank’s online banking site for using the wrong password three times. It was the right password, but for a different website. Next door or not, I knew I was too fogged-in to find the lab.

I recognized the lab as I drove around the mazelike hospital complex. I went in and proffered my doctor’s referral. Wrong lab. The intake person gave me directions, but I knew I’d never remember them. I intercepted another employee who somehow realized I was lost and she took me to the right lab. I have no idea what made the lab I could find wrong, and the lab which required me to appropriate an escort to find right.

The technician at the right lab deftly filled three vacutainers with my blood; my only aspiration now was to see my car again. And I did, after maundering around the complex for about 20 minutes. My legs hurt. I felt too defective to ask for help.

I was rhapsodic at the sight of the squatty little wrong lab building, and my beautiful Grünhilde parked in front. Once I was home, my brain relaxed; I was able to find a secret code number scrawled on a 2010 check register, making it possible to reset my online relationship with my bank. I don’t care what kind of arthritis(es) I have, or the cause(s). The fog has lifted. I am just as the Lord would have me.

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