Hands down

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Last week, I wrote that I was having Xiaflex injections to loosen up the tendons in my left hand. I’d had surgery on my right hand for the same thing back in March, and the pain and slowness of the recovery about ruined my year.

Well, the Xiaflex wasn’t everything it was promised to be, but as far as the recovery, it’s already on a par with my right hand—90-95 percent pain-free, if a bit stiff.

Here’s the other thing. I got a grant for the Xiaflex treatment. I’m uncertain exactly how this worked. The doctor’s office applied with Healthwell for me, and Healthwell approved me for my cost of the procedure. While my right hand cost me about $3,000—about $2,000 more than I was expecting after insurance—this cost me $40 in copays, even though one shot of the drug is about $3,000.

The treatment incapacitated me for two days. The first day because the doctor told me not type, which is what I do. The second day, it was because of the pain and then the anesthetic. I was told I would feel a little discomfort and notice some redness and swelling. When I called later to say my arm, from armpit on down, was excruciating, the nurse said it was normal. Of course, I couldn’t sleep more than an hour on Thursday night.

The “release” where the doctor hyper-extended my fingers, was anti-climactic because I’d accidentally done it myself when I was taking my keys out of my pocket the day before.

One final anecdote. The Xiaflex drug reps happened to be in the office when I was getting the treatment. I told them what I do, and one of them, quite boldly I might add, offered to have their PR people write up a story about Xiaflex, and they’d pay the newspaper for placement. I told her, “I often write about the things that happen in my life, but that’s really not how we do journalism.”

She gave me the longest look as I brushed past her on the way out of the office, and I realized as I looked into her eyes, that maybe that’s not the way we do it, but there are some that do.