Now you see it. Now you don’t.

May 21, 2011 | 6 comments

Entrance to Oysterville

     Right now, Oysterville is at its most beautiful.  The rhododendrons are out in force.  Some of the fruit trees are still in bloom.  The lilacs and day lilies are coming on.  Our garden is surrounded by reds and purples and pinks.  Glorious!
     Perhaps I revel in the beauty because I’m at a time in my life when I realize how fleeting such enjoyments can be.  Unlike childhood, when summer stretched out in for-glorious-ever, maturity gives us hints of endings even in the beginnings.  With beauty, that’s a bittersweet.  But it works that way with other things, as well.
     Take that bone fragment floating around in my hand the last few days and causing me such agony.  By yesterday afternoon it had disappeared.  Gone!  The hand was still swollen to the bursting point, was red, and painful to the max.  But the CAT scan did not reveal what the Thursday’s X-ray had clearly shown.  The radiologist was mystified and ordered more X-rays.  No bone fragment.
     “That must have been an artifact,” he told me.  “Something on the X-ray plate or on your arm – some fragment that clearly read ‘bone.’  But it’s not there.”
     Feeling a little like an artifact, myself, or at least like a mystery exhibit, I went back to the doctor who was right then calling up the images on this own computer screen and talking by telephone to the radiologist.  Conclusion: Maybe ‘pseudogout.’  Treatment: prednisone.  Or maybe an infection.  Treatment: antibiotics.
     When I got home, armed with prescriptions for both, I looked up pseudogout which, it turns out, is a form of arthritis.  Here is what I learned:
Pseudogout (Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate deposition disease; CPPD disease) is a joint disease that can cause attacks of arthritis. Like gout, the condition involves the formation of crystals in the joints. But in pseudogout, the crystals are formed from a salt instead of uric acid.  The buildup of this salt forms crystals in the joints. This leads to attacks of joint swelling and pain in the knees, wrists, ankles, and other joints. Among older adults, pseudogout is a common cause of sudden (acute) arthritis in one joint… Pseudogout mainly affects the elderly…
     Of course, my mind got stuck on that last word and I heard a little voice say, “Well, Dorothy, you aren’t in childhood anymore…”  The good news is the swelling is already going down!  And Oysterville is still beautiful!


  1. Steve Wright

    Say it aint so I still FEEL 18!
    (I’m 57)

    • sydney

      Me too! And I have a few years on you. I’ve finally decided I’m just a late bloomer — at least mentally!

  2. Brigid

    Maybe it a spider bite? I’ve seen such things. Hope it doesn’t hurt too much.

    • sydney

      Nyel and I both think it’s a spider bite, too. I had a very similar experience but with my foot about 12 years ago. Same treatment then, though, as I’m getting for ‘pseudogout’ now so… whatever works!

  3. Stephanie Frieze

    I knew you like history, but an articifact in your hand?? I think the spider bite is a candidate. Takes some Benadryl and see if helps. You may be lucky that they didn’t miss a terrible allergy that could have been life threatening.

    • sydney

      LOL – I believe “artifact” in radiologist parlance means a bit of debris on the X-ray plate or on the outside of your hand that reads “bone” on the X-ray. The drugs prescribed seem to be doing the trick. This was way beond Benadryl or Alleve, believe me!


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