My right elbow: excerpt from my book

I debated on whether I should move this post from After some thought, I finally decided to do it, so here is.

The following is a section I’ve added to my book, Diagnosed at Seventeen  My Struggles and Triumphs of Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I hope you enjoy reading it.

One day I’m sitting in my wheelchair, waiting for someone to take me back to my room. I’m in the hospital, recovering from one of my surgeries–I’m not sure which one–and I’m relaxing. My right arm is wrapped around the back of the chair.

The person comes into the room, looks at me and gasps. ‟What’s wrong with your arm?” The elbow is bent backwards, hyper-extended, I think it’s called.

‟Oh, nothing,” I said. ‟I don’t have an elbow joint in that arm.”

One of the first surgeries I had was a total right elbow replacement. Unfortunately, a little over a year later, the joint became infected and had to be removed. I can’t remember why a new one was never inserted.

At first glance, the arm looks okay. Bent, it looks like the end of an elbow. However, straightened out, a large bump appears; this is the end of the upper arm bone pressing against the skin.

Without the joint, the arm is unstable and weak. And there’s nothing to stop it from bending too far. When I pick up any thing, such as a cup or silverware, I need to use my other arm for support.

A couple of years ago, my doctor mentioned that I could have a new elbow put in, if I wanted. I was tempted, but decided against it. Because, that would mean another surgery, I am not going to volunteer for that.


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