I’ve seen a total of five different medical practitioners/professionals at this point. Only this most recent one thought that I should know that my type of tendinitis can take two years to heal.
I am not even at the halfway point of that. All of the advice I had gotten before this week indicated that I would be healed up by this summer. Now I know that I’m in for a very long recovery, and on top of that, I may never really get back to normal.
Tendons, as I’ve just found out, suck. They are very sensitive, and once they’re irritated, it’s next to impossible to get them back to their normal state. According to this newest doctor, I should be able to start phasing out the braces and be totally done wearing them by the end of July. Given my track record so far, I’m extremely skeptical, especially since apparently tendinitis has a habit of dying down and flaring up. (This does explain the magical weeks in which my wrists felt good enough for me to play an hour or two of some videogame.)
The best treatment is rest. This is advice I had been hearing since day one, but when it’s your hands that are affected, it’s hard to ever really rest. What? You want to wash your hands today? Bummer. Need to bring a brand-new jug of milk out the fridge? Good luck! Forget stuff like grating parmesan or driving more than half an hour or pulling more than three weeds. (I also found out that my wrists are perfectly built for osteoarthritis, so, that’ll be fun.) In my case, resting has involved a career change so I can work from home with the use of dictation software. Luckily for me, I have an amazing husband with an amazing job, which allows that scenario to even be possible.
In the meantime, I’m dealing with having the rug pulled out from under my life, again. I’m sure there’ll come a day when I won’t need to prioritize being able to prepare dinner over typing a quick email. I’m sure I’ll be able to participate in game night with friends and play four player co-op again. But for the time being, little pieces of my identity, minor and stupid though they may seem, have been chipped off of me and I’m not sure that they can ever be put back.
Like my biceps. I was proud of my biceps. People always pointed them out and were impressed by them. But I haven’t done a push-up in eight months. Lifting weights is completely out of the question. I wanted to try to learn rock-climbing. I used to be able to claim that I was stronger than I looked – now I can’t.
I was proud of my crazy fast typing speed. I’m sure that one’s not going anywhere, but I miss being able to use it.
I was proud of being a gamer. I love gaming. I love talking to my friends about gaming. I love researching and writing about gaming. When I got my new laptop, I specifically got one that could handle moderate gaming, thinking that my hands could re-acclimate to the keyboard and mouse faster than they could readjust to using a console controller. Now that I’m not capable of playing, what role do I have in that community?
I can’t be the wife and homemaker that we had planned I would be. Thank God I don’t have kids – I can’t even hold the cat, let alone take care of a baby. Kevin has to help with dinner most nights.
Which is another facet of my identity that has diminished, if not totally gone away: cook. I’m not excellent, but I’m pretty good. I really enjoyed treating Kevin to a meal that I’d whipped up all by myself. Maybe it’s old-fashioned and housewifey, but the look of pure happiness that he would get on his face when I made something particularly exciting is one of my favorite parts of being married. But now I need help with almost every aspect of preparing a meal, which not only take some of the joy out of it, but makes me feel bad for forcing him to work more. He says he’s happy to do it, and maybe he is, but I really really really hate asking for help, especially from someone who’s already put in his nine hours.
Hopefully in fourteen months I’ll be healed up and this post will seem totally blown out of portion. I’m grateful that I actually have the circumstances in which I’m able to heal, inasmuch as I can. But every time I have a quiet moment now, the words two years spring to mind and I feel panic set in.
I still read. And thank God, I still write. This dictation software is something of a lifeline right now. If I couldn’t write, I probably would go straight-up insane.
And I may not be able to work out my arms, but I can still walk River, and now I can work on getting the best legs ever on our recumbent bike in my badass Batman UnderArmour tee. (Youth XL on clearance, aww yiss.)
I know my situation could be way worse. In the grand scheme of health concerns, tendinitis is pretty darn minor. I just wish I’d gotten the full story when this first set in, rather than slogging through eight months of ineffective treatments and misguided therapy. I wish I hadn’t gotten my hopes up. I wish I could shake the feeling of being a burden.
Ten months down, fourteen to go.