Weaving my way around Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Cross Training – RA Style

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PT2 wants me to do as much with my left hand/wrist/arm as I can learn to do. She wants me to be ambidexterous. Start with little, unimportant things, open a drawer with my left hand, then reach into the drawer for a spoon, then move on to more important things. It is a challenge just to remember to give my left hand a chance to act. I know it is capable of much more than I give it credit for. An example: I tried ironing with the iron in my left hand, my right hand guiding the fabric. It turns out that, in the case of ironing, the normal job the left hand does is very complex, while the right hand just guides the iron. So, when I switched, the left hand quickly learned to guide the iron, the normally brilliant right hand is still struggling to learn to guide the fabric.

My latest endeavor on this front is to do an easy crossword puzzle every morning, using my left hand. I’m on number 48 in the book; I am proud to announce that the letters are legible, big, bold, kindergarten style, but legible! It’s working.

Other great accomplishments in this arena: I can drink my coffee with my left hand, wash my hands with the soap in my left hand, turn on faucets, open doors, hang up hangers. Still can’t button buttons or zip my pants left-handed, but I can see the progress.

This journey has been good from three dimensions.

One, It’s good for my brain to figure these things out, makes it work hard.

Two, it is helping to rehab my left hand/wrist/arm from two years of little to no activity.

Three it helps me to know that if the RA acts up in my right hand, my left will be better as a pitch hitter.

Twenty-six months ago, (but who’s counting) when the De Quervain’s was so severe that I couldn’t use my left hand at all, the right hand had to do everything. If I can use either hand for most tasks, then I have a little back up built into the system. My left hand/arm/wrist is in training, and doing well.

Edema Report:

I’ve lost 2.4 of the 4.5 pounds I gained with the last gluten exposure. It’s now day 13, so the worst symptoms should be  past. It doesn’t seem fair that a microscopic bit of gluten, in a bowl of chips marked gluten-free on the label, should cause me to gain 4.5 pounds overnight, while my good friend, who also has CD, and is skinny as a rail, loses weight when he gets CCd. The gods of fate are fickle.

Edema still seems to be worst in the balls of my feet, knees and arms, with the left worse than the right.

The sleeves of lava are only smoldering today, not burning bright white hot.

Joint Report:

Bottoms of feet, ankles, knees are the main complainers, middle toes on right foot, and left pinkie finger. Everyone else is quiet at the moment.

Got up carefully this morning, so no stumbling, just a soft-shoe shuffle-dance into the bathroom. The shower usually undoes the worst of the stiffness, and it worked its magic this morning, too.

All in all, I’m still on the upswing side of this ride. Maybe, maybe, maybe there ARE no more dips on this particular roller coaster, I can’t quite see around the bend.

And I’m a bit fearful of the category-4 hurricane that is bearing down on us. Accuweather predicts arthritis index will be a 7 on Saturday.  Really – a 7 – REALLY – with a class 4 hurricane beating down on us? I think they need a new weatherperson, one with severe weather reactive RA.


Written by wovensongs

August 25, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Edema, Joints

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