December 2010. I’m on a plane with my sister, flying back from San Diego. I’ve attended Tony Robbins’ six day program Date With Destiny in Palm Springs, then met my sister in San Diego. She was there for a weekend conference. We decided to meet there and fly back home together. On the plane, I’m flipping through a magazine and by chance I come across an ad for Brown Hand Center. The ad claims, We can help to alleviate carpal tunnel symptoms. I don’t have carpal tunnel syndrome, I have rheumatoid arthritis. But, if they work with carpal tunnel syndrome then maybe they work with arthritis too. I make a few notes in my journal.
July 2011. I have an appointment with my rheumatologist. I ask him about Brown Hand Center. He says I don’t have to go to U.S. and recommends the hand clinic at Toronto Western Hospital. There is a long waiting list and he starts the paperwork to get me on the list.
November 2011. I meet with a hand surgeon at Toronto Western Hospital. He assures me they can do certain things for my hands. The first procedure would be to open the joints and insert a rubber thingy and position the tendons so that they properly go over the joints. The process would be done in day surgery with a regional anesthetic applied, do my arm would be numb following the procedure. He would do only one hand at a time and my arm would be in a sling and useless for about six weeks after as I go through the post-op rehab. Surgery is not something one would normally get excited about, but I am optimistic about the outcome. My initial feeling is to go ahead with it, it’s just a matter of when? I’ve just started a work related training program; I’m set on completing it. Maybe I’ll wait until March or April.
August 2012. A chance conversation with a woman I meet at a business networking meeting. She notices my hands and they remind her of her aunt. She tells me her aunt had surgery and encourages me to do the same. I think about the appointment I had at Toronto Western at the end of the previous year. I’m not in a position to take six or more weeks off for rehab. This is not a good time for it. But then – when is it ever a good time?
October 2012. End of the year is just a couple of months away. I realize I have been putting off surgery by making other things more important. It’s time to turn that around; make the surgery my primary decision and let everything else fall into place around it. Because of the length of time that has passed since my previous meeting with the surgeon at Toronto Western, he wants to meet again for a new consultation.
November 2012. I meet with the surgeon again. Although a year has passed and I’m sure he sees a lot of people, he still remembers me from last year. I speak with his secretary about scheduling. I can expect a call after the new year, maybe in January, maybe in February. I will do my left hand first. I will want to wait about three months after before doing my right hand. As I leave the hospital after my appointment I see a big sign up on the main level in the east wing. “Support the campaign to cure arthritis.” Web site is cureforarthritis.ca. I’ll want to check it out. There is also an Arthritis Centre of Excellence here. Something else to check out.
January 2013. I have my surgery date. February 19. I’ll have a meeting with the anaesthetologist a week or two before then. Now that I have an actual date to mark on the calendar, this goes from an abstract idea to something real. Preparations to make. Paperwork to settle. My feelings fluctuate between excitement and apprehension. Some of the music I start hearing in my head – Cuts Like a Knife. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me. Living On a Prayer. There’s a saying, the cure is worse than the disease. I disagree, I say that the paperwork is worse than the disease. The surgeon will complete some of the forms that I need to go to the insurance company and there will be a fee for that. Hopefully the fee for having the hand surgeon write a doctor’s note will be less than an arm and a leg.
February 2013. The big day has come.
TO BE CONTINUED
- We Control The Meaning of Our Lives (sethigherstandards.com)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Popular Form Of Arthritis (casapalmera.com)
- Arthritis Part 3 Rheumatoid (newlifebug.wordpress.com)