Well, gosh. Something new has gone amiss with my body, and I don’t quite know what to do about it. But my neurologist does, and that’s something. And they caught it early enough, I gather, and that’s something else.
Several months ago, I noticed that the last two fingers on my right hand (ring and pinky) were ever-so-slightly numb and tingly. As in always. Permanently. No matter what I was doing. “Hmm,” I thought. “There are Things that start by eating away at the outside, like a kid with a giant cookie. I should look into this.” So eventually I did, and eventually they saw me, and this morning I went in and had my doc use me as a pincushion and zap me with a teeny little cattle prod. (Remember that dead frog in Biology? Yep. You’re there.) The zapping ranges from interesting (skinny areas) to somewhat painful (fatter areas which require more juice to reach their target), but the test doesn’t take long, so I survived. The general hmm and I suspected as much thing added to my main hypothesis, which was that I was imagining it. The numbness is very slight, after all.
However, I learned to my dismay that I have a rather nasty case of something called ulnar nerve compression, or cubital tunnel syndrome. (Neither of these is catchy enough to warrant a $60 elbow brace. Just sayin’.) Between computer usage and art, I keep my elbow bent most of the day, and it is mushing down on the nerve. Eventually this will lead to (seriously here for a moment) my losing motor control of the hand. So yeah, something’s got to give.
There’s the brace, and there’s ulnar nerve transposition surgery, which I’m being referred to for a consultation at this point. From the medicos’ POV this sounds and looks (thank you, Interwebs) scarier than it really is, so I’m not fretting about that, especially as the neuro is on the fence about whether I’m a candidate yet.
(I looked at standing desks, and none of them look like they’d fit my sprawling two monitor lifestyle, to say nothing of their devouring my bank account. [Besides, I’m on Zoom for twelve hours a week.] Nix on that, then.)
Rather, I will have to try to change my behaviors, and as we all know from dieting and jogging, this is the rub. I’m typing this at arms’ length, with the offending elbow on the cushy thing, instead of my usual posture of being choked up on the desk with the edge cutting into that very spot. The brace is arriving today and will be my faithful little friend for the foreseeable future, so I get to see life left-handed. But not forever—and I am oh-so-grateful that this was caught in time.