Little bit of history (and why I doubt this is rheumatoid).
In 6th grade, I broke my left radius close to the joint. I waited, hoping it was sprained, and finally Mom dragged me to the hospital (the local Army hospital, which at that point in time had a reputation as a real butcher shop). It took them another twelve hours to x-ray and set it (badly), and it didn't heal right.
It healed, still slightly out of place. The hospital recommended no PT until I had already started having other joint and tendon problems due to the weakness on the left side and over use of the right side. The numbness and pain was so bad that I couldn't open doors for myself. The hospital gave me ibuprofen in huge doses and sent me on my way. This pretty much ran through 9th grade. THEN, they got around to considering PT.
On top of this, I played violin and piano -- and not any kind of casually, either. My goal from 9th grade through most of college was to be a professional violinist, so I practiced HOURS. I can't even hope to count all the hours. I got up extra early, went to bed late, had lessons, school orchestra, youth symphony...you name it. Ate, lived, breathed, and slept violin. Played Rachmaninoff and Beethoven on piano. Because of the poor set on my left bone, some of the positions require, especially for the violin, were awkward, and I either forced my wrist and fingers to do what they needed to or found a way around it that worked just as well.
College -- oy vay. Taking notes at lighting speed so I could get every word of a lecture, typing papers, editing, retyping...there's some more repetetive motion damage.
Then there were dance classes -- 3-5 hours a week in class from 8th grade on through college, and that again, doesn't count practice time. I took jazz, tap and focused mainly on ballet. Pointe shoes, getting picked up and tossed around, the whole nine yards. And I had an absolute blast. :)
So, total, I spent about fifteen years or so in music, ten in dance, and I have no capacity to do anything by halves. If I did 100 sit ups one day, I did 150 the next. If I held my leg up at a 45 degree angle to my shoulder in one class, by the next class I'd have my knee resting on my shoulder. I just never settled for good enough. So I've pretty much abused the snot out of every joint I have, but my hands have taken the brunt.
Unfortunately, for my Doc, the records from the army hospital are probably long gone, so there's really no formal history for him to work with. Which puts me to trying to construct a time line that will be helpful for him and having Kerry go over his anatomy texts to teach me how all those joints work so when Doc and I get going on this we can hit the ground running.
The finger recovered, and I'm actually doing okay with half a vicodin in my system. I'm noticing a lot fewer typos!
"Let me light my lamp,"
Says the star,
"And never debate
If it will help to remove the darkness."
-- Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore