Friday, June 13, 2008


It's kind of hard to post when you can't type. Well, actually I could use my left hand. In fact, I've been using my left hand a lot. Here's how it happened.

Two weeks ago, I was putting something away in my linen closet, certainly not one of the most dangerous jobs ever. As I was putting towels away, I bumped my arm on the door jam. So what? People stub their toes all the time. People "bonk" their elbows on a regular basis. Not me, no I had to do it to the max. I hit the elbow area (not exactly on the elbow itself) on the door jam and the pain shot all the way down my arm and through my wrist and to my fingers and thumb. I thought my thumb was going to explode the pain was so bad. Thinking that this would go away like all the other bumped elbows and stubbed toes, I just tried to deal with the pain I knew would be temporary.

When the pain lasted through the night and all the next day, leaving me unable to use my right hand and arm for anything (and yes, I'm right handed), I ended up going to the emergency room. X-rays revealed I had broken no bones, but the fact that my right hand was swollen almost twice the size of my left hand, as well as swelling all up and down my arm and the fact that my fingers were so stiff I could barely move them, obviously meant that I had bruised a nerve. My ER discharge papers said to follow up with my doctor in about four days if it wasn't better. They gave me a sling to wear and some pain medication. This was over the weekend. By Thursday, I'm still in a sling and have learned to adjust to using only my left hand. I can use the mouse on the computer and even check patients in and out without using my right hand. I typed notes on the computer with my left hand only and skipped anything with writing. That was a challenge to say the least.

I saw my doctor and he referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. I'm still experiencing shooting pains in my hand and my thumb is in excruciating pain, so much so that I'm crying during lunch. My appointment that afternoon left me crying all the more. The doctor said I was fine, I just need time to heal and I have to work through the pain and live on pain pills for two more weeks - no sling. I have to force myself to endure the pain of using my right hand. It has been a miserable few days. Typing hurts, but I do it. Writing is nearly unbearable, but I do it. putting charts away in the office leaves me shaking my hand to get rid of the sudden pains. I still have no real power in my right hand. It hurts to use the stapler, too much to bear. So I staple still with my left hand, as well as use it for all heavy lifting/pressure activities. My right hand has become the supplemental hand, letting the left hand bear the load.

My friend and I who carpool to work and back were discussing the whole mess. She exclaimed what many others have done - what a freak accident. None of my coworkers had ever heard of someone bruising a nerve to the extent that I had. It was entirely a freak accident. I told my friend that could mean only one thing - I'm a freak!

Despite the pain and frustrations, there have been many blessings. Karl has done so much to pick up the slack with me unable to do all I had done before. Many of my coworkers were more than willing to write a few things for me when I needed it done. One of the guys at the cafeteria was worried about me because they had run out of trays and I was trying to carry my plate full of food on a flimsy styrofoam plate. He made sure I had been taken care of and didn't have any problems.

Tomorrow, June 14th, is a special day. Karl and I celebrate 17 years of marriage tomorrow. I'd rather have no pain and normal use of my right hand, but I suppose this is what the vows mean when it comes to sickness and health; for better or for worse. I'm blessed with a wonderful husband who has done everything he can to ease my pain and assist me in any way possible. That is certainly something to celebrate!