It’s still National Arthritis Week, but coincidentally I’ve actually had a lot of arthritis admin to get through this week.
On Monday I went to an orthotics appointment and had some new insoles made to wear in my shoes. I normally don’t wear them, because they hurt (and because I am a total badass) but I decided to this week. My reward for being such a sensible arthritic has been a broken pair of shoes, because the insoles are too big and ridiculous to fit in anything properly. I’m sensing I’ll probably have a lot more to say on this subject later, so we’ll leave that there for now.
Today and tomorrow I’ve found myself with two days off work (what a treat!) as I had to have two steroid injections this morning (not a treat!) – One in my right elbow, and one in the knuckle of the middle finger on my right hand. I’m trying to type this using only my left hand but I keep forgetting and using my right and then wincing in pain! I hope you all appreciate the lengths I am going to for this blog! I then got sent for lots of X-rays which took about a million years. Now I am home, and my mum is making me lots of cups of tea, a surprisingly complex activity to complete with just one hand.
I’ve been having steroid injections infrequently for a pretty long time, but they can become less effective on joints over time, so I’m told. Before today, the most recent injections I had were in July 2009 – I had injections in both my knees to ease the pain and inflammation caused by a flare-up I was having at the time.
They tend to be used to solve flares of JIA in specific joints, by targeting the treatment to the area of inflammation. I’ve had injections in my knuckles, wrists, knees, hips and, as of today, my elbows.
When I was a lot younger, I had to have the injections done in my hips quite a lot. As they’re quite a difficult location to get to, I had to go for a scan beforehand to mark the location for the injection and be put to sleep under general anaesthetic for the actual procedure.
Once I got a bit older and had to start having injections in other joints, I didn’t have to go under general anaesthetic – I was given laughing gas instead. For someone who laughs quite a lot anyway, especially when nervous (like you might be before having a really painful injection), this may have been a mistake on the part of the NHS. On one occasion I was laughing so much that my limbs were actually shaking too much for them to do the injection. Awkward.
It was around this time that I was told that once you go through to adult clinics from paediatrics you don’t get any anaesthetic (other than the local anaesthetic included in the injection) when you have these injections. I decided on one occasion to be all brave and have an injection in my knee without any laughing gas.
My reaction was to say “OW” really loudly. All the doctors (and students doctors, as this was at LGI) stepped back from the table as they thought I was going to kick one of them, which would probably have made this a much funnier story if it had actually happened. Shame.
Obviously now I’m a real grown up I do have to get them without any painkillers, but I think I handle it quite well. I’m not sure how other people react, but I certainly think my arthritis has increased my pain threshold significantly. Today, I was so quiet when I had my hand done the doctor had to check I was okay and not silently weeping/passed out from the pain, presumably.
In other news, today my blog was tweeted about by Arthritis Research UK (@ArthritisRUK) and the Scottish Network for Arthritis in Children (@SNAC_JIA), so if you’ve found your way here through one of them thank you, and I hope you enjoy reading my limpy legs life story!