Hello. I haven't posted for a while so I thought I'd give you all a quick update. After changing GPs, I finally managed to get referred to rheumatology but the rheumatologist refused the referral because my blood tests showed slightly raised urate levels. Although my GP agreed with me that I didn't have gout, we still had to spend a couple of months proving our case before I could be referred again. This involved taking allopurinol and colchicine and this annoys me because both are nasty things to have to take and indeed colchicine is a toxin. The good news is second referral has been accepted and I'll finally get to see the rheumatologist at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, the pain and swelling in my fingers has increased despite diclofenac, Co-Codamol and amitriptyline. My shoulders, feet, wrists, elbows and knees are also painful and swollen at times. However, I have been signed off as fit to return to work with modified powers and duties. This isn't going as well as I had hoped but it isn't long now until I see the rheumatologist. I'll limp along, quite literally, until then.
During all of this, I have distracted myself by searching out assistive devices and clever gadgets to make life easier. One of the first things I bought was a rainbow coloured tablet dispenser. I have written about this elsewhere — search this forum for “rainbow”. Then I looked for a new knife sharpener. I'm dangerous enough as it is without having blunt knives. I found one on Amazon that sticks to the work surface by suction so you only have to use one hand. I sharpened everything I could find :-). Amazon has done quite well out of me over the last few months – that's also where I found the IMAK arthritis gloves that compress the swelling in my fingers and reduce the pain when typing.
On the subject of typing, the occupational health unit recommended that I try the Dragon dictation software. I'm still learning how to use it: in fact I'm using it now to type this. I've generally been quite impressed with it but I'm quite blown away by the fact that it knows the word diclofenac and can spell colchicine!
Last but not least, I invested in a palliative care cat. I have a lovely new furry friend called Jim who lies on my poorly hands to make them feel better. Everyone should have one.