My previous post on this subject elicited several comments from family and friends to the effect, “What is so bad about cortisone shots?” This site discusses some of the possible drawbacks to cortisone shots, as well as their benefits. I found this balanced view reassuring. I also realized I had overcome my fear and dislike of needles on many other occasions in my adult life, and I could again if I kept the goal (being able to garden again) firmly in mind. I also saw that a lot of my anxiety stemmed from seeing that none of the recommended “cures” for de Quervain’s is a sure thing. But when it comes to healing and the human body, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Once I faced this fact squarely, it became obvious that to do nothing more than endure the pain was the coward’s (and the victim’s or martyr’s) way out.
I saw my doctor shortly before Christmas. He felt I should try a different anti-inflammatory and more rest before pursuing more aggressive treatment. I asked him about using a thumb splint, and his reaction was, “That’s a good idea! Let me see if we’ve got one in the supply cabinet.” Unfortunately, they didn’t.
So now I am taking the generic form of Remafen. It is working about as well as the ibuprofen did–the perpetual ache is gone, and I can do most things without discomfort. Those things that hurt, such as bearing down with a knife, using scissors, or simultaneously pinching and pulling (such as you need to do to tear open many types of food bags) I ask someone else to do. As long as I have help, I could go on like this indefinitely provided 1) I never wanted to garden again and 2) the anti-inflammatory never bothered my stomach, as the ibuprofen did after weeks of continued use.
I’m glad that the Remafen is working, but I’m a bit concerned that it’s merely instituted a new status quo. I can’t tell if it’s actually helping me heal, or just enabling me to continue to overwork this area of my body without immediately paying the consequences. I’ve forgotten to ice my wrist on a number of occasions, and the temptation to type with both hands is getting increasingly more difficult to resist. (I’m being good tonight, though.) Once again I crave a magic formula to guarantee success.
I am also taking, with some ambivalence, an assortment of vitamins and supplements. Partly I resent the idea that the food I eat isn’t sufficient to supply all my body’s needs, partly I suspect the motives of those who supply both the information about the supplements and the supplements themselves, partly it’s the expense, and partly it’s the tedium of taking so many pills. Just about all these criticisms could be leveled at conventional medicine as well (except my insurance will pick up most of the tab for the Remafen, but won’t pay a penny towards the supplements). And I feel it’s only a matter of time before the Remafen starts bothering my stomach, so I want to have more than one way of tackling the problem in place.
Still don’t have the splint. My husband picked up a therapeutic support glove at the grocery store that does seem to give some comfort and support without restricting movement. I wear a wrist brace that we already had, similar to this, at night. The restriction of wrist movement at night eliminates the sudden sharp pain I experienced from moving around in my sleep. I am concerned about losing range of motion in my hand, and I’m not sure where the balance in immobilizing the joint is between promoting healing and losing flexibility and strength.
I hope someone, somewhere, benefits from my rambling on about what is truly a minor problem in the larger scheme of human suffering. I do feel a bit sheepish–or is it guilt?–but I think (I hope) it teaches me compassion for those suffering from other health problems. It also brings home to me the importance of facilitating gardening for those who have disabilities of one sort or another.
It is very tedious typing with only one hand.