The Change

Over the years my fingers have gone through what I call “The Change.”

It would start with a stabbing pain, like a needle being repeatedly inserted into a specific joint. I’d be working and go to do something and the pain would make me suck in my breath and wince internally. I would not let on how much it hurt. I didn’t like letting others know of my pain (something I plan to write about later, my misplaced stoicism).

In those moments, I would squeeze the offending knuckle with my other hand to make the pain stop. The pain didn’t prevent me from doing what I had to do, accomplishing all the fine motor functions required of me. But it did make me angry that I had to deal with it.

And the worst thing was that I had to deal with it over and over again. One sad knuckle at a time.

I knew what it was before a doctor confirmed it. It was Father Time knocking. It was the life-clock ticking. It was Osteoarthritis setting in.

Once the change is complete, the knuckle looks swollen, has less mobility and it doesn’t hurt. But while the change is happening, the pain is oh, so exquisite. I don’t know why OA  picked my hands to strike first, but it did, it has. And still is.

This time it’s attacking my poor little pinkie. For the second time. Can’t remember when it got the first knuckle, but it now is engaged once more. photo (78)

The pinkie ring I used to wear can no longer traverse the length of the finger to settle where it once belonged.

The knuckle is tender all the time and filing my fingernail was a study in stoicism. But I will do my nails, dammit! RA or OA, or RA and OA, will not restrict what I want to do.


4 thoughts on “The Change

  1. J.G. Chayko

    I had that happen to me a couple of weeks ago in one of my fingers. My rheumy thought I might have OA secondary to RA.He is sending me for an MRI to see if there’s any other “changes”. But I can relate – my finger hurt for a few weeks before finally subsiding. I feel your pain (Hugs).

    1. Irma

      A double whammy, as my prior rheumatologist said to me. I hope it’s not in your case. But our hands do have stories to tell, don’t they? Thanks, J.G. Hope you are doing well.

  2. carlascorner

    Oh, Irma. I hate those changes to your fingers. For one thing, you look at your hands with almost everything you do and you’re constantly reminded of those changes even if the pain has subsided. Hopefully, your pinky will calm down and both OA and RA will leave you well enough alone!

    1. Irma Post author

      Hi, Carla. It’s funny how one little tiny joint can mess up your day sometimes. It’s almost akin to a paper cut, a bother and a nuisance that I know will go away soon leaving its mark behind. Hope you’re doing well.


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