Artful Blasphemy’s right hand, and the working parts leading up to it, is the most significant piece of machinery in the artistic arsenal [so now I want to create a comic book about art-related superheros who are housed in the legendary Artistic Arsenal]. Without the right hand, elbow, arm, shoulder, etc, I can’t draw, or sew, or play Match 3 games, or do my job.
One of those is less important, sort of. (JK Candy Crush, you know my heart is true).
Underneath the fabulous exterior is some flawed genetic structure; namely, a collagen-based disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or EDS. The condition found here is not directly treatable, poorly understood by 90% of the medical community and unpredictable. Some months ago, it became impossible to lay on my right shoulder, or lean against a wall with it, or put my full weight on that arm getting into bed, or lean back against a hard surface, or comfortably wear a seat belt. Or lift hanging costumes up above my head without pain.
There are no docs in the entire state that specialize in EDS. Everyone who has it is just wandering about, begging people to listen to their tales of woe and to offer what doesn’t exist: effective treatment. I try to avoid being one of those people because:snob denial whatever. That said, the current problem with my shoulder threatens my livelihood and not just the one at which I earn money but the one in which my days are filled with something other than sitting around waiting for death.
The most recent expert physician has seen me three times and given up, passing me on to an orthopedic surgeon, who is named Dr. Doctor (Thompson Twins ear worm commence). The appointment was scheduled at 2:50 pm yesterday, with the demand that I appear at 2:20. Competitive lass that I am, I appeared at 2:15. I did not see the exam room until after 3:00. At 3:30, they did an x-ray. At 3:40, the fire alarm went off. At 4:00, we were evacuated (down three flights of stairs–Artful Blasphemy avoids stairs due to bad knees and ankles but down is better than up), at 4:10 they let us back in, at 4:20 the doctor came in, at 4:25 he was called out, at 4:45 he came back in, and we got to leave at 5:00 pm.
The choices are these:
- Do nothing. Continue to cover for bad shoulder until I cannot work any more.
- Have arthroscopic procedure to determine what the hell is going on in the shoulder–x-rays and MRI don’t show much.
- This procedure could show nothing, and we’ve wasted our time and the shoulder still doesn’t work
- This could find that there is an impingement, which would require a decompression (shaving some bone so that the tendon passes through more easily).
- It could find some inflamed tissues, which would be “cleaned out.”
- Assuming I agree to the arthroscopic surgery, and that *something* is fixed in some way, I have to figure out:
- When to do it. If I did it now, I could take FMLA for the entire semester, hope it really gets fixed, and return to work in August. There are various reasons why this might not be advisable.
- I could do it now and take FMLA for a week or so and then go back to work with heavy accommodations while we wait to see if it was really fixed.
- I could limp through another semester, possibly continuing to damage it, and have the procedure in May, when I’m off until August. Thus sort of spoiling my summer break but avoiding other challenges.
- Minimum recovery time is 6-8 weeks. It could be longer for me due to EDS.
- Or the Artful Blasphemer could watch the trifecta of Mame, The Birdcage and Elf and not think about it.