Being a patient, doesn’t necessarily imbue patience….

Keith – I have a renewed respect for those living with chronic illness. Seven weeks of varying degrees of pain, discomfort, and limited mobility had me feeling quite sorry for myself.

After returning from a Lae road trip, a day off with some general home duties on August 31 ended with aching joints in my elbows, to my wrists, and even fingers. I didn’t feel as though I had been overdoing it, and the fact it was both left and right arms had us puzzled. The eventual diagnosis a few days later – apparent rheumatoid arthritis. A flurry of Googling turned up the details, with not much resolving of the mystery. It is just one of those things that befall us fragile humans.

These occasional aches were soon forgotten on the following Saturday evening, with painful stomach cramps that extended throughout the night, feeding a wave of concerns in my mind. In the morning, Elspeth confirmed that my appendix was, in fact, on the right-hand side, with what seemed a complete disregard for the possibility that I am one of the rare people with situs solitus (mirror image of internal organs). With my sudden foray into hypochondria eventually quelled by Elspeth’s assurances, we chose to just hang on for the regular Clinic service on Monday morning.

The diagnosis of diverticulitis brought back some concerns. A colleague here had been rushed to Australia with the same condition late last year, albeit with more dramatic symptoms. A medical evacuation to Cairns under the prevailing COVID restrictions was certainly something to be avoided.

To date, the DV appears to be under control. Elspeth is providing me with an appropriate diet, and I am getting by without any medication. Things are certainly not ‘normal’, but then perhaps this situation will become the new normal for a while yet. When I called my parents after the initial diagnosis, my mum responded with, “Welcome to the club.” At least I can perhaps lay blame on someone else’s genes!

The joint pain endures, with perhaps less peak intensity but greater frequency to the point of almost being constant during the day. I am back at work as close to full-time as possible, and my absence has had a noticable impact. The list of emails requiring some follow up attention blew out to over five hundred, and my coffee cup was obviously in need of some attention as well after all the neglect. As a general overall response to dietary change and the impact of some medication, I am down to two or three coffees a day. Those of you who know me well will understand what a significant change that is!

We greatly appreciate the prayers and messages of encouragement received over recent weeks.

Please keep praying…

  • that the debilitating aspect of the health issues can continue to be kept in check until our intended 12-month furlough leave in March 2021
  • for appropriate medical tests and any treatment to be finalised early during our time in Australia.
  • for our travel plans next year. It would be so much less complicated without quarantine requirements, both entering the country and for our required interstate travels as we visit our supporters across three states.