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.
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.