Hannu just has to take things too far, doesn't he? Ugh. >_<
Yaay, I got a call from my hand doctor yesterday about my blood test results, and my pesky hand inflammation is not caused by any kind of arthritis or auto-immune issues! (Did I mention I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago?) It appears to just be a reoccuring symptom of simple overuse. And before any of you get alarmed: no, it's not something dire or comic-threatening, it's just an discomfort that I've had for well over a year now that's gotten neither better nor worse. The tendons over the knuckles of my hand have been acting up periodically, a bit of pain, redness and stiffness that always eventually goes away on its own. But last year I promised myself that if it hasn't stopped coming back within a year, I would go to a specialist to make sure I haven't caused myself some kind of structural damage to the tendons that's keeping them from healing completely. So for the first time in my adult life I actually went to to the doctor, despite my crippling phobia of them.
So good news: no structural damage found! I had no idea what to expect from the doctor's visit, I thought she might just look at my hand or something, so I was slightly baffled when she scheduled me for a blood test for arthritis and auto-immune disorders (just to rule them out, she assured me) and sent me to have my hand x-rayed for joint issues right there and then. The x-ray looked perfectly healthy, my tendons were moving over the knuckles in the correct fashion even when inflamed and now my blood-works came back just fine. So relieved!
Oh yeah, I also got a ton of guidance to heal my tendons in the future. First of all, a prescription to sooo many doses of an anti-inflammatory/pain drug, to be taken every day for 7-14 days when my hand starts acting up. I already tried it out, and it really did help. On top of that I was advised to go on brisk 1.5 hour walks 3-4 times a week to get my blood circulation going in order to aid the healing process, do some hand stretches and exercises to strengthen the muscles and overall endurance or my hands, and to take shorter but more frequent breaks while drawing. The last one I'm almost happiest about, because I was kind of afraid going in that she would simply tell me to "draw fewer hours, stupid" after I told her how much I draw every day, but she never even hinted at that. I take it my hand seemed pretty healable overall. And I guess she kind of understood that "drawing less" wouldn't have been much of an option since she was a specialist in hand injuries caused by overuse, and I bet she gets a ton of patients whose livelihood depends on them working full time with their hands.
Hm, that's quite a rambling about my hand thing. But I've been so worried for such a long time that there's something seriously wrong, and now that I know there isn't I'm just so happy, I had to get it out. Plus I faced my doctor-phobia and had a great experience with all the doctors I met, even the blood-test-lady (despite my crippling needle-phobia!) I guess you can get fast and extensive medical care as long as you're willing to pay for it yourself, rather than fighting with the communal services. You know what, I think I'm going to start saving up money for future doctor's visits! See you guys tomorrow with another violence-filled page!