A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Rule of thumb

Posted by Pepper on June 8, 2015

Some months ago, I started noticing a mild pain in my left thumb. It came intermittently and shot up only when my thumb got bent downward. Since the pain was not consistent or severe, I ignored it. But it was okay only as long as my thumb didn’t strike anything. If I accidentally hit or bent it, the pain would flare up with all it’s might. It would be so acute and intense, my eyes would well up.

I could bend it backward with ease, but if it got bend downward (forward?) even by a few inches, it was hell. I had no idea what was causing it. I didn’t remember suffering from any kind of injury. Looked like the pain in my thumb just appeared by itself one day. Anyway, like I said, it was not bad unless I bent it. So I tried to avoid bending it as much as possible. I know I should have tried to investigate the cause. I should have gotten it treated. Instead, I chose to neglect it and let my busy life take over..

A couple of weeks ago, a child’s hand collided into mine while we were walking in the park. His hand hit mine quite hard and as a result, my thumb got bent downward with some force. It sent waves of shock and pain in my body. Thankfully, it lasted only for a minute and I was able to overcome the shocking pain. It hurt for the remaining part of the day but it was bearable, so as usual, I shut up and decided to ignore it.

But next morning was pure torture. The raw pain in my thumb was stabbing me. I realised I had lost all movement. I absolutely couldn’t bear to move my thumb even a wee bit. I knew I had taken it too far and that I had to go to the doctor now. It was mildly swollen in the morning. But by the time I reached the doctor, my thumb was so stiff and swollen, it looked like a banana.

The orthopedic I had gone to asked me several questions. He said something was surely wrong if my thumb was that swollen with the mere impact of a child’s hand. He said he sees that kind of swelling in patients who get struck by cricket balls that travel in high speed. Just a little collision shouldn’t have caused so much pain and swelling. Other than prescribing an x-ray, he asked me to get several other tests done. Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Calcium and a bunch of others.

I realised how important the thumb is only when I had to live with a non-functional one. Go on and try to button or unbutton your jeans without using both your thumbs . I had to go to Mint or the sister each time I wanted to use the loo. Either that, or spend way too much effort and time on something that is supposed to be so simple! I couldn’t even use my hand to turn up the volume of the radio while driving. Nothing was easy. I felt handicapped.

My test results were quite pathetic, even though the x-ray was normal. My Vitamin D level was “< 4”. When I asked them what less than 4 meant, they said that vitamin D was untraceable in my body. They couldn’t detect it at all and so they had to have the “>” sign. The optimal range is between 50 – 70, so my level was way too low. Or maybe non-existent. And this is the second time I tested it. So I couldn’t even say the results were goofed up. My calcium, B12 and everything else was also quite bad. No wonder my bone health is so terrible.

I was prescribed a course of injections for the vitamin D and other supplementary tablets for the rest of the deficiencies. Getting used to taking tablets after every meal was just too hard for me. I know I sound lame, but the truth of the matter was that I simply forgot to take them. My parents would call me up to remind me after each meal, and yet, I would forget after I hung up. I knew this was not ideal. I had to take on the responsibility myself. After all, my health should be in my hands.

Finally, after a lot of trial, error, lazy bumming, ‘its-not-my-fault-that-I-can’t-remember’, ‘lack-of-vitamins-won’t-kill-me’, ‘I-forgot-the-tablets-at-home-today’ arguments, I have finally overcome my lax attitude. It’s been a week and I haven’t missed a single dose. I keep some strips of tablets at home, and some in my handbag. So I have them handy whether or not I am at home. I have also set reminders on my phone. Those have helped a great deal. I realised it is all about learning how to acquire a new habit. Remembering to take my tablets on my own for an entire week has been an achievement for me. I hope I only get better from here..

My thumb has healed to an extent, but it still hurts if I bend it downward. It is only a small inconvenience. But I have begun to take necessary steps to correct it. After my 3 month course of meds is through and  if my thumb still hurts, then we may investigate further. Until then, I am doing all I can to fix it. I know I have been stupid for so long, but I am glad I am finally learning to not neglect matters of health, even if they seem inconsequential at first. What about you? Do you usually remember to take your medicines or supplements in time?

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33 Responses to “Rule of thumb”

  1. Vani said

    Same here.. i have a pain point on my index finger. even a slight touch at that mysterious point makes me scream out of pain. i remember consulting a doc for this, but i feel he just thought I’m being silly.
    And, oh, medications!! out of last 8 years that i have been hypothyroid patient, i learnt to take regular medicine only in last 2 years..
    having homeopathy medicine is yet another story..

    • Pepper said

      Pain in a finger joint, you too? You know, I didn’t want to write this in the post, but this could be a sign that you and I are heading towards arthritis? It is an awfully scary prospect. If your doc thought you were being silly, please consult another one.

      And damn it, looks like we’re all terrible when it comes to medication. But glad, you learnt, even if it was 6 years too late!

  2. Wow. .so the deficiency was the cause of acute pain? Has the pain decreased now with the supplements or is it too early to tell? Take care. I suck at taking supplements. So much so that I buy a huge bottle of vits and then they expire after I am through like ten doses in maybe 6 months. Have come to the conclusion that i neglect my own health like most of us do. When it came to my pregnancy i was so regular with my prenatal.. maybe missed one dose in nine months. Of course,it was related to mybaby so I took care. Now as its just me and my body I have became lax again. Super bad I know.

    • Pepper said

      I don’t know what the cause of the acute pain is. The doctors assume the deficiency could be it, because my x-ray is clear. But they don’t want to think of more investigation until my deficiencies have been taken care of. So let’s see..

      Tell me about trashing the vitamins, man! I have done it all my life. This is the first time I have taken it consistently for a week. I hope you start giving these things the importance they deserve too!

  3. Hugs Pepper! Hope you feel better soon and try your best to remember to take the tablets. One thing I have learnt after this sciatica is never take any mild discomfort lightly. What I thought was an effect of bad posture and left unattended has been torturing me for the past three months. Initially I used to forget about my tablets too ( the worst is I tend to forget if I have taken the tablet or not 😀 ) and S is no good in reminding me as well. Now I’m quite diligent in taking my tablets, for I can’t think of bearing the pain. As you said it’s my health and I should be responsible.

    • Pepper said

      I thought of you and your sciatica when I wrote this post, you know? Sometimes you have the pain to serve you as a reminder 😦 I bet it’s easier for you to not forget because you have suffered so much!

  4. I could not agree more about -neglecting one’s health. How many times have I brought vitamin supplements and trashed it soon after they expired. It is surely a difficult task to do. Recently, I got my blood tests done – yes, there is a deficiency of vitamin D. And yet, I delay it.. now your post hits me hard to get started on taking the supplements. There are things that you would learn only when you are hit hard with. I feel a terrible pain in my joints at times – wonder why but the truth is all out there.
    Glad, you managed to develop the habit of taking care of yourself. Rightly said.

  5. I’ve been taking iron supplements for a couple of months now. But si far atleast I almost never forget to take it 🙂 I guess it could be because my iron levels are dangerously low and the doc warned me that it would have serious consequences if it didn’t increase soon. I’m also a bit of a worrier. So it’s always on my mind 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I’m a worrier too. And my iron level is damn low too (I think I have absolutely all deficiencies.. which sucks).. But mine isn’t dangerously low. Maybe I act only when I realise it is dangerous not to. But I’m trying to change..

      So good to know you take the supplements regularly. 🙂

  6. srividhya said

    ohh mannn. I hope you are feeling better now. Vitamin tablets and thrashing themm has become norm in my life.. This vitamin D and calcium deficiency is risky yaar.. sighhhh

    • Pepper said

      If you are able to get a very good and balanced diet, then maybe it’s okay to not use supplements. I see the kind of food you cook and it looks so very wholesome and healthy other than being delicious.

      But if your blood reports show you are very low on vitamins, then maybe you should stop trashing the supplements and take them sincerely!

      • srividhya said

        Yeah.. balanced diet helps a lot. Doc suggested multivitamins after Vaandu’s birth. Never took them regularly. After that it was ok. Next week I have my annual physical.. let’s see..

  7. Damn girl! Please take care of yourself!
    My mom also has Vit D deficiency but she can’t take those tabs because she gets hot flashes cuz of them. So she tries taking the sun and calcium supplements. And you must be careful with this because my aunt has osteoporosis and it’s HORRIBLE! I hate milk but now I drink almond milk only so that I build my bone health and don’t get the condition after I am 50.
    I take Nature Valley multi vitamins for her from Target. Right before my meal. I am also supposed to take Collagen and some joint supplement because I have Bunions on feet. If I am good with those and my footwear, I may avoid a bone correction surgery for 10 years.
    Yaar, now I realize I am head to toe faulty. Literally.

    • Pepper said

      Hot flashes with vitamin D? What are those? let me google. And anyway, mostly vitamin D tablets arent prescribed right? It is either those injections, or the soluble powders or syrups? That’s what I’ve seen.. maybe I don’t know enough..

      Almond milk is so healthy! Wish it were easily available in India..
      What’s Bunions? I am going to do a lot of googling after this comment..

      • Oh she gets hot flashes as a side effect. Maybe because of her age. You shouldn’t worry about that.
        Bunions are weird bone growths where the toe starts going tilted. You must have googled it already. 😀

  8. Deboshree said

    Gosh! Please be more careful Pepper and remember to continue being a good girl who doesn’t miss her medicines. 😀 (Not that yours truly is authoritative on this subject but oh well…)

  9. Bikramjit said

    I hate medicine and have got myself in trouble because of that..so much that had to be admitted to hospital as I did not take them and things deteriorated fast.

    I still hate them … :(..

    • Pepper said

      What? You had to be admitted to hospital but you still don’t learn? Why would you do that to yourself?

      • Bikramjit said

        I know.. silly of me .. but the problem was the medicine i had to take had some side effects .. and I was not very happy with that ..

        Anyway its done 🙂 I survived and living 🙂

  10. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

  11. SM said

    Get the 7 day medicine box. Fill them on a sunday for the week as per the rx. Take it everywhere and blindly follow. Reevaluate ur progress next sunday. The sort of daily diary will make u more accountable. My Vit D is also very low and i cant just make myself use the once a week sachet. Trying to work in it.
    — a long time follower.

    • Pepper said

      My dad does that, but that’s because he has to take many tablets in a day. Mine are just 2. One after lunch. One after dinner. It doesn’t make sense to lay them out in the box na?

      The once a week is actually tougher to remember.. but set reminders on your phone. That helps a lot! Don’t ignore the deficiency..

  12. srividhya said

    Also.. I nominated you for this award.. http://www.vidhyashomecooking.com/2015/05/15/challenge-love-in-ten-sentences/ Did u get my comment?

  13. Hi pepper, i had acute pain in my thumb and i saw a chiropractor. He said it is due to excessive phone/ipad typing. Once i reduced that, i coukd feel the difference.

    • Pepper said

      That was the first thing the doc asked me too. But i’m pretty sure the cause of my pain isn’t related to that. Since this is my left thumb, I hardly ever use it to operate the phone, ipad, screen…

  14. Bhavani said

    Wow Vitamin D so low ha? thank god you went to get checked finally.. hope your pain has reduced now..

    I suck at taking these medicines also..i have hypthy and keep forgetting to take that also…and throwing vitamins is so common for me also….Sigh..

  15. Hey Pepper take care and hope it heals very soon. I am very bad with pills and vitamins, forget taking them at prescribed time and after few days, I nicely forget about them.

  16. Smita said

    I don’t but after the case of my BIL I am much more careful and so should you be.

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