The irksome earworm I’m stuck with this morning keeps singing the tune to “Bad Boys” in my head.  Except instead of “bad boys,” it’s chanting “Bad hands, bad hands, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?” Ergh.

Thing is, my hands really are bad—and getting worse. I’m not sure what I’m “gonna” do.

In the latest installment in this never-ending saga, I complained to my rheumatologist that his Plaquenil dosage increase (bringing it to the max dosage allowed) and addition of the non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug, Lodine, to my daily handful of RA pills hadn’t made any difference yet. So he put me on a biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug, too--a big step for me, since I’ve always seen the biologics as the Big Guns and only wanted to use them if I really, really had to.

The Big Gun didn’t fire. Nothing happened after the first dose, or the second, or the third. My hands were still singing “Bad Boys”--and loudly. But it was still early days. We all know that DMARDs and NSAIDs tend to take a few months to dig in and actually work.

Well, it’s been six months. My next check-in with my doc is coming up in a few days. Unfortunately, the only news I’m going to have for him is that my hands are worse, not better.

Since my RA re-emerged from its wonderful six-year-long remission in 2005, I’ve felt comfortably secure regarding the general shape of it, which I fondly (??) refer to as my old rheuma-dragon. He was awake again, but still very sleepy and he seemed to have lost most of his teeth. He enjoyed gnawing on my wrists and knuckles to the exclusion of all the other, much larger joints. His habit was frequently uncomfortable and annoying, but that’s about the worst I could say about it. Once in a while he’d let loose of my knuckles long enough to give a knee or a shoulder a sharp, tentative nip (just to remind me of the bad old days?), but he’d lose his focus and go back to gnawing on his favorite chew toys.

While all that was going on, I was blessedly free of most other rheuma symptoms. I rarely experienced the killer fatigue that the disease is notorious for. I never had a low-grade fever and the disease never made me lose any weight (darn it!). Brain fog? Maybe, but I doubt it had anything to do with RA. (I’m convinced I have non-medicated attention deficit disorder—and that I’ve had it since early childhood.)

I guess I’ll ask my doctor if we can try another biologic. (The alternative is just cutting my hands off, but I don't think he'll go for that.) And I'll start waiting--and hoping for the best--again.

My rheuma-dragon seems to be wide awake, now. He’s filing his teeth to razor-sharpness. And he’s howling that danged earworm, “Bad Hands” in my head.

"Whatcha gonna do when I come for you?"

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