Tuesday, November 30, 2010

But I don't play tennis

I have tennis elbow. The last time I recall I played tennis was when I was 9 years old and we spent a month or so on Cape Cod in a rented house that had a tennis court nearby. My mother attempted to teach us how to play. I was awful. I don't play. Maybe I have delayed onset tennis elbow but that would be really delayed onset (even though I am only 29).

So I went to the doctor yesterday but first I had an x-ray. When I finally got to see the doctor, I was asked what my pain scale was - I said about a 5 or 6. The doctor said I had a perfectly normal elbow and by pushing on the sorest parts of my elbow he told me I had tennis elbow - which he used a big fancy name for that I can't even remember and added that it is a repetitive strain injury. He suggested that I do behavior modifications like switch my mouse to my left hand - I did that 15 years ago due to my ulnar tunnel issues so I had that one covered.

In addition, he said that treatment options were a cortisone shot, physical therapy, and a brace to wear at night. I said I would take all of the above. He injected my elbow at its sorest point with a 'tiny' needle (that wouldn't hurt any more than a flu shot - liar!) and rubbed it all around to make sure the cortisone went everywhere.

He gave me a very stylish brace to wear at night but put it on me to show me how to wrap the velcro straps in case I have very severe chemobrain. Then he wrote out a prescription for physical therapy but told me I would have to go to an outside PT facility for the treatment. I wasn't too sure I would like that but then it turns out the only facility for this is the one that is (I'm not making this up) three blocks from my house. I can walk there slowly in under five minutes. My first appointment is Thursday morning.

Upon leaving the hospital I kept the lovely wrist brace on and went to pick up the snowblower that was out for repair. The men in the repair shop took one look at my wrist brace and said 'can we put this in your car for you?' Now that is a very useful brace.

Then the bad part of my day started. I met a friend for a walk and my arm got progressively sorer. I went to meet my boss and check out a conference location and it got even sorer. Finally I got home in a lot of pain, took a pill, and asked my husband to make dinner. It was sore enough that if the cat rubbed on my fingers the wrong way, I was off the charts in pain.

Apparently, after several dozen cortisone shots in my back and hips, I have experienced the most common side effect - the cortisone flare. Who knew? But some website knew and I quote 'the most common side-effect is a 'cortisone flare,' a condition where the injected cortisone crystallizes and can cause a brief period of pain worse than before the shot.' A brief period has lasted most of the night. I iced it as instructed, took drugs and pouted.

Today it is somewhat better. I have been awake since 1 am. I even got out of bed to look for my night time wrist brace which I conveniently left in my car.

However, today I can move my arm, wiggle my fingers, feed the cat, pour myself a up of coffee and am optimistic that I will be able to go to work and be semi functionable.

On the plus side, its not cancer, it should go away in 4-6 weeks, I can flash my wrist brace for help with things I don't feel like doing, and my husband cooked dinner.


ChuckieFrog said...

Sounds like you are having a bad time. ugh.

I had that years ago from mousing. I find that having a corner desk with sides that come out and a chair with arms helps so I can rest my arm on a surface. Also I love my Kensington Turbo Mouse.

I treated my tennis elbow with acupuncture -- cured it in one treatment but I am not sure that is typical.

Anonymous said...

Who knew tennis elbow was so popular? My 30 year old daughter has it, and she last played tennis 15 years ago. Your description of the cortisone reaction was striking. Glad to hear you are feeling better. Robin

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Maria Suzane said...

So women who want big ones should try to play tennis once.

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