Yet where an equal poise of hope and fear Does arbitrate the event, my nature is That I incline to hope, rather than fear, And gladly banish squint suspicion. – John Milton (1637)
One of my prayers each evening is of thanks for an “ordinary” day, one with no accidents, illnesses or catastrophic occurrences. One where all my loved ones are healthy, safe, warm (or cool as the case may be) and secure.
I think about all those who have just been given a devastating diagnosis of a terrible disease, one that promises suffering and pain, or one that promises a swift death. I think about those whose loved ones have been snatched from them by way of an accident, an encounter with evil people or worst of all, by self inflicted means.
Recently I went to an orthopedic surgeon to have him take a look at my hand/wrist which I’d wrenched a week or so ago while trying to open a door that didn’t want to open. It’s hard to describe exactly what happened, but it was painful, and the pain didn’t go away. I was stoic for awhile, but then realized I was probably making things worse by not having it checked.
He took x-rays and basically said he could fix the injury to my tendon, but what concerned him were my fingers, which have gotten somewhat stiff and painful over the past months. Long story short, he suspected rheumatoid arthritis or a lupus diagnosis and called my regular doctor to ask him to refer me to a rheumatologist.
Wow. He was very grave about it all, and it frightened me a little bit. It took awhile to get in to see this new doctor, so I had to live with this possibility in my future until then.
For such an active person as I, who runs, bikes, gardens, hikes, etc. the prospect of being restricted in my movements was troublesome. But I refused to cave in to any despair or angst. I put on my running shoes the next morning and hit the trail, and vowed to just keep going as long as I can go. If a disability is in my future, I hope to be graceful about it. That’s all one can do!
Note: I wrote the above prior to my visit to the rheumatologist, who is a capable young woman… very personable. Upon examination and questioning, she basically “pooh poohed” the orthopedist’s concerns, saying that on a scale of 1-10, I was basically a .5 with what she described as “inflammatory osteoarthritis”. Not that one would want such a diagnosis, but it’s one that is easily managed with various over the counter supplements rather than the NSAID drugs that make me feel queasy and have unpleasant side effects.
I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I was after that office visit; just knowing I was not going to end up a worst case invalid with gnarly hands and feet was a huge load off my mind! I quit taking the NSAID that the orthopedist prescribed, and will be grateful every day for my minor aches and pains… which, in the grand scheme of things, are of little consequence. I consider myself blessed to be old enough to have them!