For several months I have been experiencing severe hand/wrist pain in both hands. In my work the use of my hands is required continuously for twelve hours a day, three to four days a week; there have been some excruciating days to endure. About three months after the pain began I went through testing, and was consequently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in both wrists. It has been a measure in endurance, as where I work is scheduled to close within the next couple of months, to keep on working through until the closure. With the skills I possess, this is not a diagnosis that can be taken lightly, but life goes on.
No, it has not been easy, but not too many things in my life have been, so I choose to take it one day at a time and see what transpires. Medications have been prescribed, some relatively expensive, considering our Health Insurance was discontinued a couple of months ago. Throughout this process, where I work has been purchased and they are in the process of removing and re-allocating the assets, to eventual closure. In the process the employees have been picked up by a Temp Agency, after re-applying for our jobs for a 60-90 day period, and we continue production. Trips to the Rheumatologist and the Pharmacy have been paid for out of my own pocket. Its a challenge, but one I will do my best to be up to.
In the meantime, production continues in order to keep the remaining customers content, while contracts are completed and they build up their inventories awaiting relocation and set up of presses for continued production. The number of employees has dropped considerably due to terminations, layoffs, attrition, and those moving on to other jobs. While those of us remaining continue to do our jobs, sometimes more than one, in order to “get the job done.” Some days are never-ending, particularly when we are required to work the twelve hour shift three day weekends and sometimes during hours we do not prefer, meaning a real workout for the wrists and hands. Typically once the day is over, there is considerable discomfort to be dealt with, even on the medications. At home, living alone, the housework and household chores still await completion. Considering the problems associated with having this chronic progressive disease, a person must learn new ways to do things, that lessen the strain or stress on the hands and wrists, while still getting the job done. Failing to take the disease into account, can result in severe pain and debilitation due to not exercising precautions.
Even with continuous wrist and hand pain, although not quite as excruciating due to medication, I still do what I have to do. Whether its hand-washing the dishes, my car, cleaning house, mowing the lawn in season, planting flowers or whatever. I have never been one to shirk responsibilities or work, and that is still the case. Although these days I don’t really have a lot of choice, its either me or it does not get done. Rheumatoid Arthritis will make my life considerably more of a challenge, possibly even getting worse over time, but I will not allow it to get the best of me. I will attempt to live my life to the best of my capabilities and fortitude, and hope for the best.