Friday, December 3, 2010

the gimp hand

gimp hand
A few months ago, I mentioned my frustration with having carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand - and the difficulty of trying to work on my art with only one arm.

Turns out it wasn't carpal tunnel - it is an entrapped ulnar nerve. I woke up one morning in September and my hand was asleep. I figured I had just slept on it funny and that the pins and needles feeling would subside. An hour later it was still tingling. It tingled the whole rest of the day and within a few days I realized my hand was very weak. Within a week I had made an appointment with a hand surgeon who diagnosed ulnar nerve entrapment.  He tested the strength of my hand and his response was "That's all you've got?!" Yikes.

He also referred me for an EMG.



Call me a wuss (I am), but that sounds like a combination of lethal injection and the electric chair and I am not a fan of corporal punishment. Or torture. (The doctor himself even confessed that the test is "quite uncomfortable" - and doctors always downplay things, so I take that as a very bad sign.)

So here I sit, ten weeks later and my hand is still asleep. And I still haven't gotten the EMG. I've toughened up for some pretty unpleasant medical tests in the past few years - like getting a 3 1/2" needle plunged into my hip joint (three times!), but this EMG thing? I don't think so.

The most frustrating part is the simple day-to-day tasks that I can't do because of this useless arm. I don't have the strength or dexterity to turn a doorknob, operate fingernail clippers, cut my food, or sadly, open a bottle of wine.

Three years ago, I had surgery on my hip (here's a picture of my BUTT post-op). It didn't fix the severe hip pain I was experiencing and over the next few years the pain spread to my other leg and into all the other joints in my lower extremities. The cause is still undiagnosed. So you can imagine how frustrating it is now that three out of my four limbs are not functioning properly...
Perhaps I could become a one-armed chef? Or a one-armed artist? (Still not as cool as a one-armed drummer...)

Anyway, since my left hand is now about as useful as a mannequin's arm, I came up with some alternative uses for the damn thing:
chew toy
fish bait
birthday present
hood ornament
fly swatter
pooper scooper
tree topper
foam finger
serving spoon
By the way, Larry saw these sketches and proclaimed them "disturbing." You'd think after eight years, he would've grown to appreciate my sick sense of humor. He then confessed that they were funny, but he was not a fan of the "bloody arm stump." Come on - that's the best part!


Elisa said...

So stinkin'funny- but I'm sorry about your hand.

Jennifer said...

Disturbing but funny! I'm lucky- I have early carpal tunnel, but sleeping in braces every night helps immensely.

I prob shouldn't admit this, but I'd love to get electric shocks LOL! If I had a Life List, getting tazered would be on it.Seriously. It sounds incredibly exciting and... jolting.

I do hope you eventually get the EMG so I can live vicariously through you, LOL!!!! ;o)


Funnelcloud Rachel said...

OMG, Jen, this made me laugh SO hard! Thanks for that! Whenever I do get the balls to get the EMG, I'll be sure to think about the fact that some people might actually like it! (Actually, it isn't really the electric shock part that bothers me - I'm much more needle-phobic!)

kb said...

ohmygod. you have to turn these into a series.