Thursday, June 21, 2007

Trigger Finger

I had a visit to the ortho clinic today. For the last year, I've had a
trigger finger. This is a painful inflammatory condition where the tendons at the base of the finger swell and get caught in a little tunnel of ligament called a "pulley". When you flex and extend the finger, it can get caught in a bent position. This condition is more common in people with hypothyroidism and diabetes (I have both). It also doesn't help that I'm a craftsperson and do a lot of knitting and beadwork.

I had one cortisone shot a year ago, which did nothing. I decided to go back for another before having surgery.

The hand specialist had retired so I saw his PA. He is a big, strapping, football player looking guy. We discussed symptoms and options and he went to get the cortisone.

I decided to test my blood, and was doing so when he came back. Just to be sure he'd read my entire chart, I said "oh, you saw that I have type one diabetes, didn't you?". He replied, "Yes. I have it too - since I was 10".

To my amazement, I blurted out,
"but you don't look diabetic". Where on earth did that come from? How is my head defining how a person with diabetes should look? Why did I say that?

I apologized and we then went on to chat about various aspects of the condition.

He gave me the injection, which felt like hot oil traveling up my finger, and wished me luck.

I've been thinking about this all afternoon and conclude that my image of a pwd goes back to my cousins, and growing up among a number of them whose health was in various states of unraveling. Am I defining myself like that also? It certainly can't contribute to a sense of well-being. I think I better reframe this.

Take a look at the members on Tu Diabetes, A Social Network for People Touched By Diabetes. Look at all the smiling, vibrant faces. Of course, I know that most everyone with the disease goes through struggles and endures great moments of rage, sorrow, and despair, but the joy of life still shines through on these faces. This is what pwds look like. I'll try to keep it in mind.

Happy first day of summer, everyone!