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[personal profile] sproutgirl
Hi guys. I haven't used this in forever. I've lurked and spied, but haven't commented or posted recently.

But tomorrow I'm having some pretty big surgery and all, so I thought I'd come and record it for posterity.

For the past two and a half years, my right elbow has been losing more and more movement. At first I thought it was carpal tunnel or some other kind of RSI, as it made my forearm hurt more than anything. But slowly my elbow started locking up, not being able to straighten.

Well a few months back, my left knee became horribly swollen and painful, so I went to the doc. (The elbow was not hurting much at the time, and still had 80% extension or so, so I left it alone all this time, knowing I couldn't afford to take time off work. But the knee was sudden and painful.) I had tears and fluid and need outpatient surgery. The doctor ordered lab tests for rheumatoid arthritis, not expecting it to come back positive, but it did. So he said I should have the elbow looked at too.

So I did. Knee surgery has come and gone, just a simple thing, and after 4 doctors, a trip to Phoenix, AZ for the specialist at the Mayo Clinic, and many tests and X-rays, my elbow is now down to about 20 degrees of movement. Bend your elbow at a little less than a 90 degree angle and imagine never being able to straighten it. Not "straighten it with pain." Literally, physically unable to straighten it. I also can't turn my arm in very many directions, and putting a ponytail into my hair hurts. Hell, brushing my teeth hurts, because not only can I not straighten it or lift it for extended periods of time, I also can't bend it in all the way either.

Basically the arthritis has eaten away all the soft tissue in the joint, and my bone is fusing together. This is also pressing in on the ligaments that turn the forearm, which is why it hurts to do so.

What this means is that I need full elbow replacement surgery. Like a little old lady who fell on the church steps and smashed her elbow into a flowerpot. Or like the Bionic Woman. The only problem with that is that the Bionic Woman had super cool strong parts. Mine means that for the rest of my life, I can no longer lift anything over five pounds. Ever. If I do, the hinges in my fake joint will loosen more quickly than they normally do, and I'll have to have another surgery.

Now, even if I do just as the doctor says and never exert myself and lie around all day every day being fanned with giant fronds and being fed grapes, I'll still have to have more surgery every 8 to 15 years, depending on how quickly it comes loose. And it will come loose. They all do over time.

So that's that. Surgery is at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and from then on, none of you can make me help you move, ever.
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December 2009

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