How ‘bout that to greet you on a Wednesday morning?
That’s what the doctor told me yesterday as I sat there giggling and knocking his reflex hammer against my knee over and over. I love how my knee jumps involuntarily while I thump away at it with the little rubber mallet. Thump Thump tee-hee Thump Thump. Does this place have any sugar-free suckers?
I had been into the doctor’s office a few times now for exams, needle pokes, x-rays, and a semen sample (I did that one on my own. Turns out, it was unnecessary and they were quite pissed especially since I didn’t have a cup or anything. Sorry!) I hinted at some joint related issues I was having way back in this I is Old post. (Use caution when clicking the link as it contains an old dude in a purple Speedo.) Then, I figured I was just cold, old and creaky from a long winter inside.
But then spring and summer came and my finger joints were still swollen and creaky. Each morning, I could barely bend them until I got into the shower and the warm water loosened them up leaving me with just a nagging, low-level ache the rest of the day. Two weeks ago, my left index finger remained swollen, extended and unable to bend for 48 hours. Every time I spoke, the kids thought they were getting a lecture the way I was pointing at them. It was great for picking my nose and ass but not so much for clutching and pinching once an extractable item was located. Ever try to flip another driver off with a swollen, extended index finger? It doesn’t work. Everyone thought I was giving them the peace sign…with cursing malice. It causes confusion more than anger which makes it completely ineffective.*
Finally, after some postponements, I went back to the doc to see what the tests showed. I already knew what the tests would show. This is the age of the internet and Google. You can’t surprise us anymore. The doc is just a dude with a hip white jacket, cool rubber mallets, nice house and the ability to prescribe drugs. In short, a drug dealer…with a rubber mallet.
“You have an incurable disease.” He said.
“Stop playing with the fucking mallet for a second. Did you hear me? You have rheumatoid arthritis.”
“Cool. Do I get to park up front now? ”
“If we don’t put you on medicine, your finger joints might become so damaged that they’ll curl up into a claw…” And he makes two curled up claw hands to demonstrate.
“Like Hawkman?!” I ask, barely able to contain my enthusiastic smirk. I start making claws of my own, my eyes wide with wonder and excitement.
“Get the fuck out of my office.”
The truth is, I wasn’t so much kicked out of the office as held for ransom in the lobby until payment could be made. A bunch of aged, arthritic seniors surrounded me with their walkers hissing and threateningly stabbing at me with clawed hands.
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis though, fortunately, it is considered a mild case at this time. RA is considered an incurable disease though sometimes the symptoms can go into remission for years on end and, in odd cases, disappear entirely forever. I don’t intend to be a “long term” patient. Besides, what does a doctor know? I was once told I had another incurable condition: Herpes. You know what? I cured it. I didn’t treat it (or tell anyone about it) and it just went away. The only things that remind me that I once had it are the occasional cold sores on my lips and itchy, burning genitals. But that only happens periodically and Mrs. Nitmos now shares these sympathy “after effects”, as I call them. Bless her heart.
So, for the short-term, I’ll be popping some weekly pills and continuing to run, run, run. I haven’t missed more than two scheduled runs all year. Fortunately, the symptoms have largely left my feet alone except for some tenderness in the small toe joint. But who uses their small toe joint anyhow?
How did I get this? The causes of RA aren’t entirely clear but there seems to be some genetic disposition to it. But no one in my family has it.
As I sit here in my basement playing with the rubber mallet**, I think back to the I is Old post and the first symptoms I was experiencing. What is that nestled quietly, in smaller font, at the end of that post? A note about reading two Beardsley books! My nemesis. The man solely responsible for undermining my 2008 Boston Marathon. He’s done everything in his power to keep me from a rematch in 2011. Has he started…biological warfare?!
*But I think slashing their tires probably cleared the matter up.
** Yes, I took it.
I am concurrently training for a half-marathon and 10k for the end of September. I have been invited to join the Dance with Dirt 100k relay team in September as well but I may have to pass due to soccer coach obligations.
Speaking of which, prepare for more soccer stories in which, despite my expert coaching, my team continues to under achieve.
Anyone seen Vanilla/Ian?