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Hand Saga Part 2: Repetitive Strain and Referrals

image (cc) takomabibelot via Flickr.

image (cc) takomabibelot via Flickr.

My adventures in Dutch healthcare continue. About a week or so ago I visited my doctor for the first time and at that time she prescribed me some anti-inflammatory medication to help deal with the pain in my thumb. I was told that the tendon is inflamed inside of its sheath and that the medicine should help, but if it didn’t I had to go back and get a referral for a physical therapist. Well it seems that we will be skipping that step and going straight on to the orthopedic surgeon.

Today’s doctor visit was like the ones I’ve had before. The doctor was helpful and answered my questions, but the wait was very long. I probably waited for an extra 45 minutes when I actually did show up on time. That’s not uncommon in the United States either, but the last general practitioner I had was actually pretty quick to get me in. So I’ve been a bit spoiled.

But on to the referral, since they are handled a little differently here than in the United States. My doctor told me that they would fax in a referral letter to the hospital. Then the orthopedic surgeons office would send me a letter letting me know when my appointment is. She anticipated that it should only take a week, but that it could take up to two. The pain in my hand is really annoying, but it isn’t life threatening so I don’t mind a bit of a delay. I’ll let you know when that letter actually comes in and how much further out they do schedule my appointment.

In the meantime, I will be trying to keep up with the blog and the podcast and hopefully writing a book for National Novel Writing Month (November). I have found a copy of MacSpeech Dictate so I can dictate anything I need to write. It’s okay but has some weird bugginess to it and I haven’t learned how to capitalize proper nouns. Also it doesn’t speak Dutch. I will do my best to edit these posts so that you don’t end up with strange words, but I hope you will forgive the occasional oddity as I train this program.

I have also switched my mouse over to the left hand side of my computer so that I can mouse with my left hand. Hopefully both these steps plus getting Dan to do more the housework will help my hand heal without surgery.

4 Responses to “Hand Saga Part 2: Repetitive Strain and Referrals”

  1. ChingChuan says:


    I’m ‘glad’ I’m not the only one with RSI during November… I haven’t gone to the doctor yet buy I’m considering going to a physiotherapist if my thumb keeps hurting. The symptoms first started during my second nano. It wasn’t really bad back then, but during my third one, it started to hurt so I had to stop writing for about a week or so. This year, I developed symptoms on day three…
    (I do experience some symptoms – tingling fingers, a bit of friction pain in the flexors/extensors of the lower arm region etc – when I’m typing longer things like essays but during November it will actually hurt to type. *sigh*).

    Do you already have a ‘break’ program? It forces you to take a break every 30 minuters (you can decide yourself how frequent you want a break). Very useful when caught up in wordwars… That probably a good idea, too – wordwars are really bad when you’ve got RSI :(.

    Good luck, anyway ;).

  2. locusta says:

    Hello. I hope you are able to keep the RSI at bay for your NaNoWriMo novel. I find that frequent breaks, Ibuprofen and occasional icing over the years has helped. I’ve actually suffered from carpal tunnel for years, so its generally par for the course for me. This year its a bit different; a tendon injury in my thumb is exacerbating the repetitive strain problem which is why I’ve made the switch to dictation software this year. I get too many breaks. :-/ I’m not confident to work on my novel when my husband is home and can hear me.


  3. Renée says:

    maybe I missed it, but why do you need to go straight to surgery instead of doing physio for a while? what sort of surgery do you need? I will go through your posts again to see if I just didn’t read everything properly what is going on with your hand/wrist/thumb.

    In the meantime, my experience with these referrels is that the letter does actually come rather quickly, unless it’s in the summer when everyone is on vacation. I had physio a few times and got appts right away and now with my foot I actually got an appt with the ortho doc right away as well. It was getting the surgery date that took so long and that was mainly my fault plus never getting the elusive letter telling me when my surgery was.

    What I do find annoying is hospitals, doctors, etc., telling the patients when they have an appt, rather than being able to just make one. So you get the letter and if it’s not good, then you can call and make an appt. Seems kind of inefficient. But hey, what do I know?

    Anyway, good luck and I sure hope you get an appt soon and get things resolved quickly.

  4. locusta says:

    I’m not sure why we are skipping physical therapy but the anti-inflammatory pills didn’t work so I guess my doctor felt that we need to jump straight to the cortisone shot. Since I don’t work, I don’t mind them picking the date for my appointment. I’m very bad at making appointments with doctors even if I really really need one.