Monday, January 16, 2012

Brace Yourself, If You Need To, That Is

I'm right handed.  Very right handed.  My left hand is good for a few things.  I use it when I'm typing and for non-dexterous things like holding an object, but other than that, it is simply there to give me a symmetrical appearance.  If I attempt to write with my left hand, it looks like a child's writing.  I can't even imagine using my left hand to cut with a pair of scissors or chop vegetables with a knife.  It wouldn't end well.

My dad is left handed.  When he was in elementary school, it was frowned upon to use your left hand for writing.  Teachers would force him to put the pencil in his right hand even though it felt awkward to him.  For some reason, they believed you chose your dominant hand as opposed to it being predetermined.  It did eventually serve a useful purpose for him, though.  He severed a tendon in an accident while at work.  He had surgery and his left hand was in a cast for weeks.  The company gave him a temporary position that required a great deal of writing which he had to do with his right hand.

My husband, on the other hand (pun intended), is ambidextrous.  He writes with his right hand, but does a lot of other things with his left.  He plays sports left handed (except golf) and uses tools left handed.  With scissors and knives, he uses his right.  Interesting, huh?

Back to me.  Like I said, my left hand is my stupid hand, but it was never an issue until recently when my right hand started to give me problems.  At first, it was a little achy if I was using it a lot.  Sometimes it felt stiff in the morning or sore at night.  I chalked it up to the onset of arthritis and took ibuprofen for the pain.  It helped, so I figured it was just something I had to learn to live with.  Around Christmastime, I started to have problems gripping things and my hand was so sore that I couldn't make a fist.  Soon after, the pain in my hand was waking me up in the middle of the night.  A few times, it felt like the circulation had been cut off and I was afraid to look at it for fear that it would be dusky.  I was beginning to lose function in my hand.

To shorten an already long story, it turns out that I don't have arthritis, I have carpal tunnel syndrome.  I caught it early enough that it appears I will have no lasting problems.  To alleviate the symptoms, I have been wearing a wrist brace to keep my wrist in a neutral position.  For the time being, I am wearing it during the day as well as at night and removing it only when I will be getting my hand wet.  In time, I will be able to switch to wearing it only at night and then, eventually, I won't need it at all if my symptoms subside.

The reason I'm telling you this story is that it can be easy to attribute hand and wrist pain to a number of other things.  Anyone who does a lot typing can be at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, so that includes my blogging friends.  If you are experiencing pain, tingling or numbness in your hand, fingers and/or wrist, don't ignore it.  If it is, indeed, carpal tunnel syndrome, permanent nerve damage can occur if it is left untreated (click here to see the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome).  It's been less than a week since I started wearing the brace, and it's made a huge difference for me.  I haven't had any pain and I have full use of my hand again.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sometimes, My Virtual Wanderings Are A Bad Idea

I know, I know, I haven't been around much, lately.  I'm trying to get back to blogging regularly.  Really I am.  It's just that I've been so busy doing important things like developing a plan for world peace, building a perpetual motion machine and writing a literal translation of the quatrains of Nostradamus.  In my spare time I've been studying quantum physics and learning ancient languages.  Yeah, something like that, anyway.

Sometimes, when I'm online doing research for said activities, I get sidetracked.  Today, I got caught up in Twilight Zone trivia.  You probably know what a Twilight Zone fan I am, so you can understand how all things TZ are interesting to me.  I love to know what inspired a particular episode or get some behind the scenes scoop.  It started out innocently enough, but I was in too deep before I knew it.  Way too deep.

Alongside trivia about the original 1960's series was information about the 1983 production of Twilight Zone: The Movie.  I was aware that a tragic accident happened during the filming, but I did not know the specifics.  There was a segment that was supposed to take place during the Vietnam war.  Actor Vic Morrow was to run across a river carrying two young children.  All around him explosions would be going off and a helicopter would be flying overhead.  Evidently, the special effects explosions caused the helicopter pilot to lose control and crash, which crushed one of the children to death and decapitated Vic Morrow and the other child actor.

I clicked on a video, thinking it was a clip from the released version of the movie.  It was not.  To my horror, it was the accident as it took place.  A number of cameras were rolling at the time and it was captured on film.  I immediately stopped the video when I realized what I was looking at, but it was still sickening.  All I really saw was the helicopter crashing to the ground and the blades of the propeller shearing off......but still......just knowing what was happening within the fire and upsetting.  It was several hours ago that I watched it and I'm still shaken.

Like I said, sometimes my virtual wanderings are a bad idea.