So yesterday I was practically immobilized by a sore pinky. To be precise, it was the joint where the pinky met the hand. I was rating that pain at a 10, relentless at a 10. It was the most extreme joint pain I have ever had, and if that is the way rheumatic arthritis feels, my hats off to anyone with that crap. Notice I’m speaking in past tense. No, it’s not gone. But it’s better. I went to the doctor. Yup, I called them up and said I have to see someone today, my pinky hurts worse than all hell fire. They got me in.
Now to put this all in perspective. My hand didn’t look bad. It was a bit swollen at that joint, very minor redness, probably just from the minor swelling. When I put it next to my left hand, yes, I could see a pronounced difference, but it only looked bad in comparison. I know I seemed very crazy walking in there declaring my little pinky at a 10 in pain. The nurse looked at me with her doubtful eyebrows, at which I declared, “Hey, I’ve had a kidney stone and ptosin-induced childbirth. Those are my 10 ratings, and this is just as bad only in my hand.” Her eyebrows settled a little back to normal, obviously knowing I wasn’t going to be shaken from my 10 declaration.
The doctor poked my poor swollen joint a few times, explained how since there was no injury she really couldn’t do any imaging. She had the doubtful eyebrows too. I considered underscoring the direness of my pinky situation by crying or throwing up, but I’ve trained myself for the last 40 years to not express or show pain except when I’m by myself or among close family members who don’t mind when I moan and groan so much. I’m like my collie who limped on three legs for a few days and then pranced around on all fours like a puppy at the vet’s office when I took her in. Instead of crying or throwing up, I explained very clearly and concisely that my hand HURT. That’s it and that’s all.
“Could be gout,” the doctor said doubtfully, “But that would be really weird.” Tell me about it, I thought – I’m not an old English gentleman with an English manor and serfs, and only old Englishmen, usually with a title of some sort, get gout. Right?
Game plan – treat this conservatively. Naproxin and an analgesic gel. That’s what she would have given the 41st Earl of Chechistershire for his gout. It will be better probably by the end of next week. I visualized myself sawing my hand off with a rusty hacksaw by the next morning. I reminded her that I’m a secretary. “So you do some typing…” Her voice trailed off as if I needed to remind her that I needed my right hand to type. I fluttered my fingers in air-typing and she nodded. “Yeah, it hurts.” Damn right it hurts! I didn’t say that out loud.
We were at an impasse. She was insisting on being conservative, I was insisting on amputation. I would have settled for a drug-induced coma until it went away, but no. She won. I got back to Winona in time to pick up the analgesic gel and a bottle of generic naproxin. By the way, if you get gout in your pinky joint, don’t drive a manual car. It’s very complicated.
The gel helped right away, so I got a good night’s sleep. Today, I can touch my hand without looking for the spike that went right through. The wind can blow on my hand without making me wince. I can almost make a fist and practically straighten it. Yes, there are still issues, but nothing I can’t handle. So I’m thinking, hey fibromyalgia analgesic cream! If it can solve my pinky problems, can’t I just take a bath in the stuff? No really! It’s a big tube….