04 August 2008

a name for swollen knuckles

I may have been harping on about the cold. In case you missed it, my first southern winter in six years has been debilitating to any kind of forward momentum. (Except the forward momentum required to repeatedly reach into packets of chocolate covered Butternut Snaps.)

My acclimitisation has been made more tricky by certain household philosophies concerning wood and fossil fuel consumption. Philosophically I am the Queen of Conservation. I recognise the forests of timber required to keep the house warm. I try to participate in its getting. But I am physically struggling with limiting its use.

Since my return to Victoria, I’ve been the owner of several extremely swollen, extremely tender, extremely blue knuckles. Which have been recently accompanied by an itchy skin thing. The knuckle thing has been an on and off concern for a few years, but never this bad. Thinking I’d acquired a nanna disease to go along with my nanna hobbies (oh my god she can knit and drink beer AT THE SAME TIME), I trundled off to Melbourne to see a rheumatologist who did a good job of channeling House. With powers of deduction executed at the speed of light, I left with the happy verdict: not arthritis, but a legitimate aversion to the cold which manifests in swollen joints and chilblains. Raynaud’s disease – repeat, DISEASE – can be managed by maintaining one’s core temperature and avoiding exposure to the cold.

Let me say it another way.

I paid a very large sum of money to learn that after donning my indoors attire of beanies, scarves, multiple layers of thermals and armies (not quite fingerless gloves-not quite socks for arms), I have a medical reason to make greater use of the household’s available heating systems.

I also suspect that the management of my DISEASE might also require a minimum daily intake of chocolate. Chocolate being the food of choice for mountain climbers and extreme cold weather adventurers and all.

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