Have you seen my rings?
Then again, they’re not really rings at all. They’re orthoses called silversplint rings. I need them because without these babies I hyperextend and sublux my fingers. All. The. Time. Not too cool.
Wanna see hyperextension of the fingers? You sure you can stomach it?
And here’s me.
Of course I never knew anything was wrong, until my GP sent me to the rheumy because of my chronic and ever increasing joint pain. Then the rheumy had a fit when I showed her this.
Eventually I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and that was only the beginning.
Before my diagnosis, I only had my mobility scooter. Now I have a rad balance bike (which cost me an arm and a leg, but was totally worth its price), a wheelchair with add-on drive, a small collection of wrist- and knee braces, a TENS unit, and my silversplint rings. My custom fitted orthopaedic shoes will be ready next week.
But back to the topic at hand.
Yesterday I went to see the hand therapist because I need yet more help to keep those fingers in check. I need double silversplint rings (preventing both the PIP and the DIP from hyperextending) for the index finger and middle finger of my right hand. The single ones – for just the PIPs – just don’t do a good enough job.
Needless to say, the hand therapist was not happy to see me again. She had been hoping I wouldn’t have needed her anymore after I got my silversplints. So I told her those two fingers kept giving me grief, not only when working with my power tools, but also when performing ordinary daily activities like writing or cutting a sandwich.
“Power tools? What kind of power tools do you work with?”
“Oh, the usual. Circular saw, jigsaw, electrical drill, rotary hammer drill, cordless drill, sander…”
“OMG!” Her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets and the colour drained from her face. “Is this for your job, or a hobby?”
“Hobby. I just can’t see myself sitting on the couch cross stitching doilies.”
“But this is so hard on your joints. You really would do well to consider taking up a different hobby.”
“I can’t imagine life without DIY. This is my choice. I’d rather be happy and deteriorate faster than slow down the progression at the cost of being unhappy. This is who I am. Not a woman but a construction worker. I’m a man in a female body.”
“Oh dear! How did that happen?”
“Oh, it’s all my mum’s fault. She sent too much testosterone my way when she was pregnant with me.” I grinned.
She laughed. Then she got up to get the prescription forms for my new silversplint rings.