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Friday, June 17, 2011

Like I need another guy: Bed Buddy for arthritis pain

Melinda Winners' story:

I have five forms of arthritis. I know all about pain. In my early twenties, about 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (R.A.), the first form of arthritis. I was paralyzed with pain, just like a paraplegic; I couldn't walk, or roll over in bed, or pull my own pants down. My hands wouldn't work properly. You could feel the heat radiating from the joint, 12 inches away! It took many injections of morphine just to get me onto a backboard into the hospital, and many more to get me off it. They had to keep me drugged all the time. It was such pain! –nothing would relieve it!

A friend of mine, a naturalist, believed in not using any meds. One day – it was my birthday – my hip was popping. That's my sign that an episode of being paralyzed with pain is coming. We were adopting a baby, and we were on the way to see the mother before the baby was born. The hallway in the hospital was long, and my hip kept popping and popping. I said to my friend, "This is killing me! I'm going to be paralyzed with my new baby."

My friend told me she found a Bed Buddy. We used to joke about it: "Like a need a new guy!" (Carex makes them; you can put them in the freezer, or into the microwave to heat them. Dry heat makes my pain worse; moist heat makes it feel better.) So I'm arguing with her about it all the way down the hallway.

When we got home that day, it was my birthday present: the original Bed Buddy. I insisted that it wouldn't work. My hip was popping a lot, and my pain was eight or nine on a scale of one to ten, almost at being paralyzed with pain; it was horrendous. I'd once given birth to a ten-pound baby, and I'd rather have that pain – that's how painful it was.

My friend had two of them, which she took everywhere. First she put one in the microwave to heat it up, and then she alternated hot and cold ones for two hours. That night I felt better. That seemed fake somehow, because it was warm.

The next morning, I didn't get paralyzed with pain. My knees were better too, because when they started to swell, I'd used a Bed Buddy that had been in the freezer.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system problem. The pain travels from one side of your body to the other, left to right. But these would really take the pain away. Now they have several products, for your neck, hands, feet, and so forth; there's one for everything. So my neck doesn't get stiff.

Melinda has written a book, available at her website: Cooking with Arthritis. Thanks to Melinda for sharing her story, and to Sarah Long for arranging the interview.

1 comment:

terry said...

thanks Bed Buddies and Melinda