I am fully aware of how ludicrous a pinky crisis is. Fully and painfully aware. Now that the crisis has been averted, I can sit back and explain from the point of view of fibromyalgia… hopefully.
First of all, any pain that disrupts sleep is problematic. I was going to say “dangerous” but I’m trying to not sound dramatic. One of the absolute necessities for people with fibromyalgia is sleep, deep restorative sleep. It’s not an easy thing to achieve and probably the absolute easiest thing to disrupt. When I had a sleep study done, I found out that I never once went into REM sleep, never went beyond a light sleep, until they slapped a C-PAP machine on my face, and then they couldn’t wake me up. Unfortunately, like everything else, my body has grown accustomed to the C-PAP and that instant restorative sleep is not a guarantee anymore. I guard it like the Hopi Diamond.
Second, severe pain in any part of the body is a trigger. Throughout the day on Tuesday when the crisis came to a head, the pain was traveling up my hand to my wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck. There was nothing wrong with my wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck except the stress of the pain in my hand. I had to sit back, breathe, and remember where the pain really was to try to avoid messing up muscles by constantly clenching or holding my hand/arm in a strange position.
Third, new pains are too often something I have to get used to. There is a strong psychological dread with new pain. Is this another “permanent” untreatable pain? Am I going to be sent home with a wait-and-see attitude yet again? Can thinking like this make the pain worse? Probably. I admit to walking into the doctor’s office dreading that there’s-nothing-we-can-do-about-this-take-ibuprofen-oh-it-gives-you-stomach-cramps-take-naproxin lecture.
I had a doctor once tell me that people with fibromyalgia were like “saints” to work with. At the time, he was poking a red-hot cauterizer into my tear ducts to try to ease my dry eye problems. Apparently we are very patient as a group. I explained to him, that no, we’re not saints. It’s just that it is very easy to take pain that we know is going to go away. Pain that doesn’t go away… that’s another story. Since those pains can be pretty abundant, it becomes more and more difficult to accept more. My hands hurt very close to 24/7, but not like that. Not so I can’t function. That’s my fear – to stop being able to function. If my pinky pain hadn’t eased up (no, it’s not gone completely), I would have not been able to continue working. Yes, it was that bad. Yes, I dread the possibility of not being able to work, I’m afraid of it. I don’t have a second income to fall back on. I have to work, pain or no.
That’s why the pinky pain was such a problem. Yes, it’s a little pinky, the smallest, most insignificant finger on my hand, but so very important. By the way, I had to stop using the gel that was working so well. It was burning the skin on my hand. I still have it and will slather it on as needed, but an end-all, be-all of joint pain, nope, it’s not. Just once, wouldn’t it be nice if just one thing on my body would cooperate?