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Monday, January 26, 2015

The Russian Rheumatologist

My joint pain and swelling, which for a while was only on the right side (unilateral), soon spread to the left side.  In addition, my right foot swelled to the size of a football.  It hurt my feet to stand, and my knees to sit.  I had to buy larger and larger shoes.  Eventually my left foot swelled, but never as large as the the right.  I kept blaming the hard floors at work and the slab floor in Tom's new home.I discovered that Sketchers were making shoes lined with memory foam, which really helped.

I couldn't believe that my health had deteriorated so quickly.  Does arthritis really happen this fast?  One day you are fine, then practically crippled?  I questioned my doctor about that.  She said that the virus that I had in February probably triggered the Rheumatoid arthritis.  I had a nagging feeling and kept researching arthritis online.  I compared my symptoms to Lyme disease.  They seemed so much like Lyme disease.  The illustrations of a Lyme patient's knees looked exactly like mine on the center for Disease Control's web pages.  I even printed it out and handed it to my arthritis doctor.  She shook her head.  "No.  I don't believe in Lyme disease.  Not long term Lyme disease."  I let the subject drop.

I asked about cortisone injections for the pain and swelling.  I did not know how much longer that I could continue to work.  She agreed to give me the injections right away.  She only gave me a topical anesthetic.  What happened next, was the most painful experience of my life.Unfortunately, the shots did not work.

She gave me a refill for my methotrexate and sent me hobbling to spend the rest of the afternoon to my teaching job in even more pain than before.

The weather was getting colder.  I couldn't tolerate the cold weather.  It seemed to make the pain worse.  Tom set the thermostat at 71 degrees and it still felt cold.  I switched from wearing shoes to boots with three layers of socks.

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