The hand is allowing me to do a bit more typing so I figure it is time for a long overdue update …
This time of year the studio should be a buzz of activity. I am typically readying for the Spring Open House that is held on Mother’s day weekend, but for the second year in a row, the studio sits quietly and I sit waiting and hoping for improvements and being actually physically able to get back to creating.
I started out the year with a new Dr. (You know they’re good when they take over a month to even get an appointment!) I liked his approach immediately. He didn’t order an extensive battery of tests like MRI’s and whatnot. He instead had me do a range of physical tests. He wanted to understand the pain, and narrow in on where it was coming from. We twisted my neck, he pressed, tapped and stretched arms, hand, neck and the wrist. He agreed that this problem was there all along. My first surgery was to release pressure off of my median nerve at my wrist but it was apparent now that my ulnar nerve was an issue too. Was it at my elbow? My neck? This “double crush” injury I suffer from has nothing to do with my profession and use of my hand as this first Dr had insisted, but instead it is due to the damage to my neck from a fall TWO YEARS AGO! The constant pain, tingling and weakness had left me with little hope, but now I felt relieved with this diagnosis.
“No one should have expected you to wrap yourself up in bubble wrap and spend the rest of your life on the couch” he said. “I’m here to help you get back to doing what you love.”
Finally! Someone listened … FINALLY I felt heard. We would start with the easiest of approaches. For the next 8 weeks I wore an elbow brace at night. First a soft support but after sleepless nights and painful days, I upgraded to a longer more ridged one that allowed for more adjusting (although not aiding in the sleeplessness, it did seem to help overall). Learning that acupuncture helps in cases like this, I opted to try that as well. Twice a week tiny little needles were inserted from head to toe … anything to avoid surgery I felt.
So fast forward to present day … improvements have been somewhat noticeable. The constant pain that felt like it does when you hit your funny bone, has for the most part, left me. I can hold a phone without a lot numbness and pain. I can even type more without my pinkie finger having a mind of its own! There is still however weakness and tingling and gripping things though better, can randomly hurt. And to top things off apparently using my left hand has resulted in something called “trigger finger”. Sigh. Now that I have started to garden (if even in short bursts) I find myself in pain again. I was hoping for more … hoping that this was “it”.
So now what?
I know I need to go back. I need to continue down this path and find more answers. Perhaps they will find them in my neck or my elbow. I don’t know. It’s been a long road and it looks like it’s even going to be longer. So for now that’s all I know. It’s frustrating. I’m frustrated. I’m bored.