Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My hand hurts

Okay, it's time I talked about it.

I have a torn ligament in my right wrist. I've had it for years after I fell in my kitchen while dancing around. I'm sometimes a very sparkly and easily excited person, and I am also clumsy, and this combination means I regularly injure myself while doing silly things. This time I was spinning around and slipped and made a choice: slam my hip into the corner of my counter or spin the other way and land on the floor with all my weight on my hand.

I went to the doctor, but he said it was fine. No X-Ray. No big deal. Went home.

Five years later I took up kickboxing, and that's when I must have busted loose the only thing keeping that ligament together. I've been in steadily worsening pain ever since.

I went to my doctor a few years ago, and he told me to "just stop using it." I'm right handed, asshole. Anyway, I won't bore you with the details, but it took a year, three other doctors, a physical therapist, two X-Rays, an MRI, and an Arthrogram to finally get me in front of the right orthopedist. He gave me an injection which made it better until one day I grabbed a medicine ball the wrong way, and it's been downhill ever since.

A few weeks ago I also had an ultrasound. I like to say that the only way left to examine my hand is to send a shrunken Dennis Quaid in there.

Anyway, I cannot write anything without pain. Signing my name hurts. I can type, but even that hurts after a while. If I go on a three-hour writing session, I'm in pain for the rest of the day. It's a little better with some Ibuprofen and Icy Hot.

I can't grade papers effectively. I'm requiring all students to type from now on, but even then....

Even thought I wear a brace, people still keep trying to shake my hand and hand me boxes to carry. I think they all assume I have carpal tunnel.

But all this is part of the reason I don't blog as much as I used to. Right now at this minute, this shit hurts. And what's worse is that it hurts to write my pages. This weekend I'm going to be in a hotel for three days with only my laptop and the dogs who I can't leave alone for too long while our house is tented for termites, so it's the perfect time to write. I just got these terrific notes, and I wrote up a list of what I need to change, and I'm excited, but I'm scared I'll be in too much pain to get the job done.

I'm having surgery in November, but what if it doesn't work? This keeps getting worse almost by the day. I'm afraid that soon I won't be able to use my hand at all.

I hate that I had to give up kickboxing, which I love, until this is fixed, if it is ever fixed. And I never got to start learning jujitsu. I'm scared that now I never will.

So the lesson here is, don't fall on your hand if you can help it. And if you do, get an X-Ray no matter what the doctor says. And if your doctor says years of pain is probably nothing, punch him in the gonads and insist on a replacement doctor. These are things I have learned.

But mostly, if you have a perfectly functioning hand, don't take that shit for granted. Write some pages this weekend or tomorrow or tonight or right now. Or give me your hand. I'd use it to do some pushups. I haven't done a push-up in years. Hell, I can't even do Downward Facing Dog.

Here's hoping come November I can get back to normal. Normal would be good.


  1. That sucks, Emily. I hope you can have a productive weekend writing and I hope surgery goes well.

  2. Joe Unidos1:34 PM

    Damn. That sucks. Good vibes your way, Emily.

    Joe Uxednes

  3. Wow...for now, maybe record your pages aloud, and have the Beefcake type it up.

    Writing was invented to record the spoken word.

  4. cshel8:16 PM

    Aww - that kitten is so cute. I feel your pain, I'm clumsy, too.

    Use a real ice pack and ice the hell out of it. Not only does it help the inflammation, but it numbs it, so that you may be able to type for awhile without feeling pain. Also, extra strength Ben Gay. I'm not sure how that differs from Icy Hot, though. Along with Advil, those two things work for me for all kinds of serious pain issues. : )

    Maybe some termites got in your wrist?
    Is it the same wrist you put through the window?
    Does your insurance cover bionic parts?
    Best of luck with the surgery! : )

  5. Thanks guys. Icing it down does help for a little while so I usually ice it at night, but it doesn't really do much other than give me about a half hour reprieve. The brace helps the most.

  6. Also, sorry if I sound whiny. It could be a lot worse.

  7. Emily, have you ever thought of typing with just the "good hand" once the pain becomes unbearable? I type with one hand if I think of something interesting while I'm eating. I only use a couple of fingers from each hand anyway, so my hands always do a lot of jumping around. This post is the work of just my left hand.

  8. I've tried, but that shit is really hard. You practice, huh?

  9. Haha...I like to keep my keyboard and mouse clean, so I eat with one hand and type with the other. Hopefully I'll never need that skill to write script pages.

  10. Hi Emily,

    Sorry to hear about your hand! One of my other favourite bloggers, Havi Brooks, had trouble with her arms for a long time, and ended up using voice-to-text speech recognition software. Her blog's over at, where you can see how she learned to cope in the archives.

    My dad also got into speech recognition when he got RSI - I think the programme he uses is called Dragon?

    Anyway, wishing you all the best!

  11. Huh. Those things work? I always figured they'd be a bit like Babelfish. I'll check it out. Thanks!

  12. Ugh. If the pain is caused by bits of torn ligament flopping about, or whatever bits do, surgery will help (had similar thing with knee).

    Wish had been fully diagnosed back when. What an ordeal. The challenge to stay positive, I hate that damn battle sometimes.

    I'm learning about therapy. Did you know two weeks in a bed atrophies all your muscles? Whether you're Olympic athlete or senior citizen. Then it's a minimum two weeks waking all the muscles up. And the trying, and failing, is crucial, it's in the following rest that the muscles start their important work.

    Good luck in November. May it be a great day for your surgeon, and your therapist be sweet and determined.

  13. Hey Emily, have been reading your blog for sometime now and am sad to hear your injury is getting in the way of your writing. Hope everything goes well for you in November and until then shall be sending positive thoughts your way! :)

  14. I think that doctors in Orthopaedic And Sports Medicine Clinics can be very beneficial. They not only restore normal function, but the extraordinary function that athletes require.

    Your injury, while not acquired in a sports incident, sounds like one quite common in athletes.

  15. That must be so frustrating! And it does remind me to be grateful for my health. Take care and I hope you heal soon.

  16. I went to a demo a few years ago and it looks like Dragon Naturally Speaking works pretty well. You have to train it to your voice, but lots of writers with carpal tunnel apparently have found it a lifesaver.


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