Join Date: Aug 2006
| | Arthritis from Frostbite
I just thought I'd share a bit of "bright" news with you folks.
When I was about 2 years old, around Christmas time, I got out of the house in the midst of a rather brutal winter storm. The babysitter knew I was there and she had been paying attention to me, but I apparently let myself out of the house without her knowing, while she was tending to my older sisters. My mother had been Christmas shopping, and had just made it home not long after I let myself out.
After she found me, I had made my way from the back porch of the house to almost where the "jungle gym" in the back yard was. I had made the trek, as a toddler, through a thorny rose bush, and got stuck in a snow drift up to my waist. Luckily, I was clothed in overalls and a fairly warm long-sleeved shirt, but my hands, face, and ears were left exposed.
To sort of condense the story a bit, I ended up in the emergency room on Christmas Eve, I was placed in isolation, as the doctors worried about infection and such, and they made the prognosis that I would not retain my hands or ears after the ordeal.
Fact: As smart and educated as they are, doctors aren't always right. Luckily for me, this was that 0.01% chance of the time they were wrong.
Fast forward to 1998. I was about 16 years old and I made a visit to the Black Hills Orthopedic and Spine Center. I don't remember the names of the doctors I saw there, but I do remember the prognosis they gave me.
They said that any surgeries they could do would be strictly cosmetic, and that nothing would restore any of the lost mobility I had in my hands, and that in 5 to 10 years I would lose the use of my hands, thanks to rapid degenerative arthritis.
Now, 2006, I am 24 years old and I am still able to use my hands for nearly everything. I graduated in 2004 with a degree in computer programming, and I never once used anything other than a keyboard to complete my assignments. I worked for a year prior to college in an auto body shop, and I was able to complete nearly every task I was asked to. Now, I am still in the automotive field, working as a manager of a small quick lube chain, and I am still able to use my hands for nearly everything.
With the arthritis, I have also developed bone spurs in my hands. One of the spurs, in the valley just between the index finger and middle finger on my right hand, had grown large enough at one point that it wore a hole from the inside of my hand outward. I have a rather large scar from it now, and it is kinda sensitive to the touch, but I believe I have either developed a callous of sorts, or the spur is dulling.
In the index finger on my left hand, right at the first joint back from the fingertip, I had a bone spur as well. While I was working at the body shop, I was laying on my back, holding a rather heavy pneumatic wrench above my head, and something happend that caused me to lose control of it. When it fell, my hand got pinned between it and the hard concrete floor, and all 20lbs. of that steel smashed the tip of my left index finger. I rushed to the washtub we had in the shop and ran cold water over it immidiately, while tears rolled from my eyes from the extreme pain. After I was able to regain my compsure, I felt around to see if I had broken any bones, and what I found was a small hard object moving around under my skin. It was extremely painful, but I was still able to use my hand and finger even after that, so I never consulted a doctor about it. Now, it too is a bit sensitive to the touch, but I am able to use it normally.
I guess my reason for posting all of this is to give all the people who read it some hope. If a doctor tells you that your arthritis is going to debilitate you, don't listen to him. I mean, be ready to accept it IF you have to, but if you find that you're able to continue with your daily activities and such with minimal pain, keep plugging along. If I had listened to the doctors and gave in to the concept that I'd be "crippled" from my arthiritis, I'd not be typing this message right now.