My hands are my work

My hands are my work. I like to think of myself as a writer and photographer of some worth (I’m not fishing for compliments, I’m realistic about my level of talent). Without functional use of my hands, those two tasks become immeasurable difficult.

A week before Christmas I started having ‘issues’ with my right hand. I am right-handed, so this was cause for concern.

The problem started in the first two knuckles, but quickly spread across the back of my hand and up into my wrist. There was pain and swelling, joint stiffness, and it itched like crazy. After a few days of this I went to see my General Practitioner. She thought my symptoms indicated a staph infection and I went on a 10-day regiment of antibiotics.

The swelling and redness abated, but the aching only migrated upward into other knuckles. It felt like a hammer hit those two fingers and the slightest pressure, like holding a pen or camera, was uncomfortable.

I am scared.

See, I have one auto-immune disorder that affects my thyroid. That put me at a higher risk of developing a second AI… which I did. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis several years ago. RA, being bilateral, means, if your left knee is affected, your right knee will be too.

I’ve been lucky in that my RA seems to be progressing slowly and the meds I take are able to manage the pain and discomfort it causes. I’m grateful that my disorder has been limited mostly to my lower extremities – affecting mainly my feet, knees and hips.

I know it might be odd to say I’m grateful, but see my hands are my life work.

When the problems started with my hand, I worried that the RA was finally working it’s magic, so I was actually relieved when my doc thought it was a treatable infection. Then it came back… or rather never really went away.

Fortunately I had my annual check with my RA doc a few weeks ago, so I brought the problem to her attention. There was some blood-letting and X-rays done to look for signs of RA – I’m waiting for those results.

A return trip to my GP only re-enforced my concern that the problem may be arthritis related. The downside is that if it has moved into my hands, there’s really nothing I can do.

I just wait. This is one of those instances where knowing the problem’s cause isn’t going to help. Maybe this time, ignorance is bliss.

Redness and swelling; doc outlines infection; more redness and swelling

Submitted as part of Shell’s “Pour Your Heart Out” writing prompt at Things I Can’t Say. Please stop by to read the other posts, and give a little comment love.

19 thoughts on “My hands are my work

  1. To the extent that you should give your hand a rest (you know … a little vacation … for healing) You should a) stop beating your husband and b) get a copy of Dragon software. speech recognition technology has gotten to be REALLY good in the last few years, and Dragon hits as much as 99+% in accuracy.

    Besides, your voice is so nice …


  2. There’s definitely a scary aspect of relying on one thing so much for our livelihood. As an entrepreneur, I often think that if I were to get really sick or be unable to work, I don’t even have sick days I can call in. I have a friend with RA and she’s explained how painful it can be–I’m sorry to hear this.


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