A few of you may be aware that I suffer from a chronic juvenile-onset rheumatoid condition. Blood work has ruled out ordinary rheumatoid arthritis – of course, I can’t just have the disease that everybody gets, I have to be special. I’ve seen a doctor about it; essentially, if I want to, I can spend thousands of dollars chasing from specialist to specialist and maybe eventually get a name attached to it, which will have no impact on the treatment options: anti-inflammatories and painkillers. (Although in fairness to modern medicine, knowing which exact rheumatoid condition it is would probably let them give me the best possible scrip.)
Symptomatically, I go for days, weeks or even months without the slightest twinge, then I generally get a series of painful attacks in one or both ankles, feet and knees – thank you Jesus, so far not the hands – sometimes with a loss of range of motion but lately more often not. This intermittent status is problematic, because as a lazy and short-sighted idiot, the long pain-free periods allow me to mentally justify blowing off taking the glucosamine/chondritin and such that would alleviate the condition over the long term. (“I feel fine – why choke down five enormous pills every day?”)
I know what to do long-term – take my supplements, get regular gentle exercise for the joints, and keep my weight down. One out of three isn’t bad! (It’s 33%, and thus an F. – Ed.)
Short-term, I’m pretty stumped. Ibuprofen helps a little bit. Aspirin helps a little bit. Prescription anti-inflammatories help a little bit. Physical-therapy type exercises help a little bit. Basically, lots of things help a little bit.
Unfortunately, a little bit translates to “a reduction from soul-searing please-kill-me pain to soul-burning please-knock-me-unconscious pain.” Not good enough, in other words. And while the pain is good for my soul, there are times when my soul is burnished enough, thanks, and could use a break.
And thus I turn to the blogosphere! Give me your nostrums, your patent remedies, your grandmotherly hand-me-downs yearning to be tried. I’m perfectly willing to give the placebo effect a shot, so don’t hold back on the irradiated-monkey-urine cures. (But I already know that copper bracelets don’t do squat, so I can’t get a placebo effect from that.) Basically, anything that you or someone you know has tried and found helpful, I’ll give a shot. General non-arthritis analgesics are very welcome, too. Nutritional advice is welcome. Go nuts.
If you like me, think of it as a chance to assign a debt of gratitude. If you hate me, think of it as your chance to poison a right-winger, with no possibility that you’ll be caught. Thanks!