A few years ago my thumbs began to ache. When they were were aching more than not, one of my nurse brothers poked at them and said, "You've got the beginning of arthritis there, get the doc to give you an antiinflammatory." Everyone else's opinion was that I had the beginning of carpal tunnel but the pain never, ever radiated into my wrist. So I talked with my primary care doc and she prescribed a strong antiinflammatory.
The issue over this past year became that they hurt so much - and the right one would swell if I didn't take the antiinflammatory, therefore I was taking a very strong med every single night for the most part. At my physical this year, my doc said it was time to seek alternative solutions, so last week I finally made it to the orthopedic doctor to have him look at my aching thumbs.
I emphasized to everyone that my right thumb was constantly in pain and showed them the joints where it hurt. X-rays of both thumbs were taken and much to my surprise (and consternation!), my left thumb is completely disabled from arthritis. There are bone spurs, one bone has collapsed onto the other and there is no joint, the bone isn't sitting properly in there, and there is what the doc called "joint junk" which looked like a white cloud. He said it probably doesn't hurt as much because without knowing it, I've stopped using it since it's disabled. The only solution is surgery with 4-6 weeks in a cast. At least there is no urgency and I can put it off as long as I want.
The right thumb is heading in that direction but is only stage 2 so he was able to give me a cortisone injection into the joint and he asked me to wear a brace on it if I am doing a lot of hand work. I have to say, the injection has helped tremendously and my thumb nearly feels normal - at least as normal as it ever will again I guess. The funny thing is now that my right thumb feels so much better, I am actually noticing some pain in the left one. Sigh. The brace is not pretty but manageable and I don't have to wear it all the time so that's a plus.
When all was said and done, the medical assistant, who happens to be a big burly man said he couldn't believe I've been dealing with my thumb pain all this time and he can't get over how women really handle large amounts of pain. That's right - I am woman, hear me roar!
It was a gorgeous day weather-wise (even if it was a smidge cool) so we started our day off by going to one of the trails we had hiked when we were practicing for the Grand Canyon. We hiked the 3.5 mile trail the uphill way as we didn't intend to do anything but actually hike it and wanted to feel a bit of a workout. It took us a little over an hour and was a wonderful way to start the day.
When we got home Mr. Helen wanted to do some weight lifting as he hadn't really worked out the whole week and I took off to run some errands.
The whole day was just sort of laid back and nice. We had dinner reservations for Cafe Routier, a restaurant that we'd heard was excellent but had never been to. I also picked it because normally we would have been in St. Martin eating at a French restaurant and this is the closest you'd get to that around here. Unfortunately it took me so long to figure out where to go that our reservation choices were 5:30 or 8:30. I picked the earlier time as I figured Mr. Helen might be a bit tired from traveling. We decided to go there for 5 and go into their bar to enjoy a specialty cocktail prior to dinner.
I had a drink called a Black Rita: plum infused vodka with cointreau, fresh lime juice and fresh agave sour served over ice. Mr. Helen doesn't even drink vodka and when he took a sip of it he said, "that's the sort of cocktail that can get you in trouble!" Truly, it was refreshing and delicious and of course now I'm obsessing to see if I can figure out how to make them at home.
After our cocktail we went over the the restaurant side where we were one of two couples seated. I told Mr. Helen to watch how fast it filled up since there was that 3 hour time frame when no reservations were available. Our waiter, James, came over and explained about their menus - they have 3 - a regional menu featuring items from a particular area - in this case Italy, a seasonal menu, and a specialty menu. You can mix and match however you'd like to create your meal. Mr. Helen told James that he realized they were busy but he hoped we wouldn't be rushed because it was our anniversary. James responded not to worry about that at all and right then I knew we'd have a fantastic evening. We treated ourselves to a nice bottle of French Bordeaux, each had an appetizer and an entree and shared a dessert. It was simply a fantastic meal and experience - just the right touch for a celebration!
As we talked over our leisurely dinner, we decided that in the 23 years we've been married, we've been to heaven and hell and back many times over and that this was a wonderful way to celebrate our stick to it-ness. Real marriage with all it's ups and downs is worth celebrating and this was one that will go in the memory books with a big thumbs up!