Thanks to everybody who e-mailed with suggestions for ways to help ease the arthritis pain in my hands. They are feeling a lot better, at least for now, and I was able to knock out another 2,500 or so words on my sequel to Big Lake yesterday.
Longtime readers may remember that a few years ago, before my eye surgery was completed, I had to wear contact lenses for a year or so. If there is anything I am more phobic about than driving over high bridges, it is anything to do with my eyes. The very thought of letting anyone mess with my eyes terrified me, and it was only after cataracts took much of my vision in one eye that I finally worked up the courage and went to the V.A. hospital in Lexington, Kentucky and had the surgery done. It was another eighteen months before I had the other eye done.
In the meantime, I had to wear contact lenses, because the difference between the vision in my two eyes was too much for regular glasses. However, the very idea of putting contacts in my eyes made my stomach turn over. I’d get my fingers up to my eye, and then freeze. I just couldn’t do it. I know that sounds about as dumb as my fear of bridges, but we’re all a quivering mass of neuroses somewhere deep inside, aren’t we? Come on, tell me we are! I don’t want to think I’m the only one this screwed up! 🙂
So I did what I do anytime I’m in trouble and need rescued, I turned to Miss Terry. She had the optician show her how to insert and remove my contacts, and for the next year, she put them in every morning and took them out every night. By the way guys, if you need to depend on your wife for something that basic, you learn to get along a lot better, and those little spats and squabbles we all have from time to time become fewer and farther apart.
Now, Miss Terry insists that it was all a mistake, but eventually she broke me of my dependence on her in a very memorable way. We were at the Escapees Raccoon Valley campground, just north of Knoxville, and the morning we were getting ready to leave, Terry put my contacts in, and I walked up to the office to check out and pay for our campsite. I had only taken two or three steps outside of our bus conversion when my eyes started to burn, and by the time I reached the office, tears were streaming down my face. The poor lady behind the counter assured me that if the thought of leaving the campground was that hard on me, I was welcome to stay longer! By the time I got back to the bus, my eyes felt like they were on fire, and Terry spent the next 30 minutes flushing them with saline solution. Eventually the burning eased up, but for the rest of the morning, my eyes were sore and irritated.
A month or two later, we were in Apache Junction, Arizona visiting family, and the same thing happened. Terry put my contacts in, and then left to go to her parents’ house, a quarter mile away. Minutes after she put my contacts in, I experienced the same terrible burning sensation, and the pain was so much that I surprised even myself by taking the contacts back out and flushing my eyes.
When I told Terry about the incident, I said “Honey, both times it felt just like someone had spayed me with pepper spray.” Even with my contacts out, I could see the look of comprehension, and then horror, that came across my pretty wife’s face as she realized that both times, the night before, she had made her special pico de gallo dip, and in the process she had sliced and diced habanero peppers. Even though she had washed her hands thoroughly afterward, done the dinner dishes, and washed her hands again before going to bed at night, and yet a third time the next morning, the habanero oil had apparently lingered on her fingers, and then transferred to the contact lenses. After that, I learned to put in my own damn contacts and take them back out!
I was reminded of those incidents Monday evening, when my hands were aching so badly. We had bought a tube of Capzasin-HP cream, which the label said would help ease arthritis pain. Terry carefully massaged the cream into my hands, taking care to work it in very thoroughly, hoping to give me some relief. Well, that didn’t work out very well! I have some burn scars on the back of my hands from my Army days long ago, and within minutes they started to burn fiercely. Soon both hands felt like they were on fire. Meanwhile, Terry was at the bathroom sink, washing her hands over and over again, trying to put out the burning she was experiencing in her hands. Capzasin cream contains capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in chili peppers. I don’t think it eased the arthritis pain, but it darned sure took my mind away from my stiff, aching joints! 🙂
I learned another thing about Capzasin cream later that night when I was going about my nightly routine and getting ready for bed. No matter how long a shower you take, and no matter what you wash your hands with, be very careful what parts of you or your significant other’s body you touch or scratch as you are falling asleep. Because if you don’t, I guarantee you that you’ll wake right back up!
Yeah, we’ve been together fourteen years, but my lady and I still have a deep, burning love!
Thought For The Day – There is only one perfect child in the world, and every mother has it.