I hinted a month or so ago that the crocheting, if not causing, was at least aggravating my tendency to have carpal tunnel syndrome. I had a bad bout of it in college and over the years have had symptoms that went away with just resting/immobilizing the hand in question.
Since the first of the year, however, I’ve had increasingly worrisome pain and tingling (and burning) and numbness in both hands. The worst was at night, when it would get so bad that it would wake me out of a dead sleep, feeling like my hands were both numb and on fire. I know that doesn’t sound possible, but trust me, it is.
I tried all the suggested non-doctor remedies, including braces. Nothing seemed to help enough, although anti-inflammatories combined with braces and doing NOTHING with my hands for a while would give some temporary relief. But very temporary. Anything that used my fingers to grab (for instance, pick up a coffee mug) or required my fingers to move very much (say crocheting, or just washing my hair) was causing pain, weakness, and loss of the ability to feel what I was touching. Creepy as well as painful. And it was getting progressively worse, especially in my left hand. Then I found out that it is indeed possible to cause permanent damage to the nerve, which means loss of function, particularly in the thumb.
I, therefore, got myself to my doctor, who sent me to a neurologist to see if it showed up on tests. (What is it about doctors that they aren’t allowed to believe you’re really in pain unless the insurance company has paid for a test?) The neurologist said yes, both sides were bad, not just the left one that I was worried about. Immediately, I get referred to an orthopedic surgeon who looks at the test results and asks when I’d like to schedule the surgery.
I’m not one to sit around and wait if there is a proven fix; I say, whenever we can, do it. That turns out to be one week later, on March 20. I was very stressed out. —Not so much stressed about the surgery, since I knew I have a good surgeon, who comes highly recommended, and it’s considered very minor surgery, with a 99.99999…% success rate. No, it was stressing me out that I had to get up at 5:30 in the (still dark) morning to do all this special shampooing and showering with some killer soap and get myself to a hospital by 7:00 and do all this WITHOUT COFFEE!
Despite my worries, Mark got me there on time and the surgery went well. Now it’s been long enough that I was allowed to remove the original dressing and put just a Band-Aid on it, as long as I use waterproof Band-Aids to keep the wound dry. There’s still pain, but with the Tramadol and Tylenol, it is just barely more than I was having before the surgery. Hopefully, soon it will be no pain. In another week, I get the stitches out and as soon as I can fully use my left hand (and get a few granny squares made) we will do the right hand. The right is not as bad as the left, but bad enough, and I’m afraid that if I start putting it off, I might put it off until it’s too late and I’ve somehow injured my hand permanently.
Now you know my other excuse (besides being too obsessed with crocheting) for not getting much writing done.
Rest assured that everything is going well, and I expect to be back to my usual two-handed self in a very few months. I obviously won’t be lifting weights, but then I wasn’t doing stuff like that anyway. I did get several granny squares done ahead of the surgery, so I’m not behind there, yet, and since typing is starting to be okay, I’m hoping to get back to crocheting soon. Don’t worry, I won’t push it, even though I really miss doing the daily squares.
Does anyone else out there have any carpal tunnel history or advice? I’d love to hear some positive stories. Please, no scary stories unless they come with good preventative advice.