Chaos Attraction

My Left Wrist

2011-12-05, 2:05 p.m.

Here's a really weird story for y'all:

I woke up one morning in mid-July with my left wrist hurting. Rather badly. (Note that that's my non-dominant hand.) I hadn't done a darned thing to injure it, hadn't done anything strenuous with it besides unraveling a bunch of knitting the night before. It felt like it was hurting right on the bulgy bone bit on the right side of the wrist. I had full function, but it hurt to have my hand in certain positions. This made for a fun summer because I was doing a lot of glass mosaics and thus storing my work on a board, and my reserved board spot is slightly too high for my height and, well, I wondered if whatever had happened to my wrist happened because I was trying to get my damn board out of there multiple times a week at a bad angle.

I didn't do anything about it. For one thing, I hadn't actually DONE a darned thing to injure it in the first place. For another thing, it wasn't behaving like a normal sore muscle sort of thing. Advil didn't do jack for it. I was seriously wondering if somehow I'd cracked a bone in the middle of the night. I am on., ah... medication known to fuck with your bones. I take calcium and lift weights whenever I can, but I was terrified that if I went to the doctor about it, the following would happen:

(a) "Oh, you're on that medication? Let me take you right off of it." (I am already worried about them taking me off of it due to my age this year as is and don't want them to. It works spectacularly for me and I will cry hysterically if they take me off it. It's worth possible bone damage, even.)

(b) "I can't do anything. Go a specialist in Sacramento. What do you mean, you can't drive? Can't you get a friend to drive you?" (Um, no, my lone friend with a car gets into major drama and trouble at her work whenever she has to take her handicapped husband to the doctor, I wouldn't put her through that for anything short of an emergency room situation.) "You can't? Public transport really doesn't go there? Uh....."

I get this almost every effing time I have gone to a local GP for anything, to the point where I wonder if GP's actually do anything besides write you prescriptions for antibiotics. They've got that down, and that's about as helpful as they've ever been to me.

(c) So far, I have disliked every GP I have seen at my HMO. Everyone else I've ever seen/talked to there-- nurses, optometrist, the gynecologist-- has been great, except the GP's. So far they have all been very frosty, kinda rude and dismissive, and generally not folks that should be allowed around people too much. They either told me the above specialist stuff, or laughed at me when I asked them to check a mole (and then said "Go to a specialist in Sacramento"), or laughed at me when I came in with pneumonia (wtf?).

The last time I saw the gynecologist, I told her that I'd had issues with the GP's and asked her to recommend someone. She ah, seemed to understand the situation, and gave me the name of one doctor and one nurse practitioner I went with the doctor because (no offense meant to NP's, but someone's gonna get offended anyway) I figured what was the point of going to an NP if odds are she'd still have to go to a doctor or have me go to one to find out anything if I end up with a major problem anyway.

I finally saw the recommended doctor last spring or so when I was having yet another "omg does this mole have cancer" freakout, and I wasn't too impressed with her either. Okay, so she didn't laugh in my face compared to the male doctors, so there's that, but it was still another case of "go to the specialist, it looks like nothing to me but I don't know jack about moles" and I left generally feeling blown off and annoyed again. And she wasn't exactly uh, warm and fuzzy either. There's not too many people in the world that I fall flat with or fall flat with me, but so far all the GP's qualify.

So, I didn't go to the doctor, and the wrist problem got better...slowly. Very slowly. Very, very slowly. Like I said, it started in mid-July and only started to really super improve in November slowly. I figured out that the main problem seemed to be that once I stopped moving my wrist around-- i.e. going to sleep-- it would stiffen up in the night and then hurt quite a lot. Eventually I realized that shaking out my hand, moving and wiggling it around a lot in the morning (or all the billions of times I wake up in the middle of the night checking the alarm), would mostly get rid of this problem, and I'd forget I had a weird injury off and on throughout the day.

Knitting with it was just fine, hah. Hell, I still lifted weights at the gym, though doing the triceps stuff over my head was where I had some issues. And again, this happened to my non-dominant hand. If this happened to my right hand I'd be freaking and going to the doctor ASAP, but since it was the non-dominant one, it was much less trouble to have a janky wrist when it didn't do as much work, like operating a mouse and writing with a pen.

In October, I finally told my shrink about this. She was all, "It's not a bone injury. I had something like that, it wasn't bone. Calm down. You can go to the doctor without freaking out about that." Now, my shrink's old injury eventually involved having surgery, which still meant I had the whole "specialist" issue to worry about, but at least I wasn't freaking out about the med issue. And like I said, it got better and better, to the point where I mostly forgot about it except in the mornings.

Then a few mornings ago--I think it was Wednesday or Thursday-- I woke up with a whole new kind of hurt. On the good side, the wrist thing was totally and suddenly gone and pain-free. On the bad side, fuck if I know what had happened in my sleep again, but this time it was the base of my palm/thumb/palm that hurt. It was semi-sore for a few days, but I could still do stuff. I figured "well, maybe something cramped up from me doing all this knitting in the round," and carried on, but on Sunday, HOLY SHITFUCK IT WAS HURTING.

And while it's pretty doable to keep on doing shit with your nondominant hand when the wrist only hurts in certain positions, it is Quite Another Fucking Story to do stuff when your PALM hurts if it touches anything. Or if your THUMB touches something with anything like a medium pressure. What. The. Hell?!? I could still knit and type with some pain (not nearly as much as like, touching a doorknob or shit like that), but...uh....yeah.

Again, Advil wasn't doing shit. I went to the hippie co-op and bought arnica gel, which seems generally well recommended on the hippie Internet for sore muscle issues. I don't know if it worked or not. Okay, I'd say in my case it mostly didn't do much, but it slightly improved about 3/4 of the way through the day, so I thought, "Uh...maybe it's getting better?"

Then this morning I got up and tried to do stuff with my hand. You know, like putting on shoes, going through the closet looking for clothes, putting on earrings, innocuous crap. And dear god, it was hurting like fuckall again. It even kinda hurt while typing, and you don't use your left thumb THAT much while typing.

Okay, FINE. I caved in. (I also had one circumstance change since the last time: if they do once again say "go to a specialist in Sacramento," theoretically I may actually be able to drive myself there since Zipcar claims to have mailed me my card today!) I logged onto the HMO website, and debated whether or not to make an appointment with the most recent doctor I didn't like, or the NP. Back and forth and back and forth and back and forth... Finally I just started looking through all of their female doctors that would accept new patients and found one that (a) was new since I'd last seen the gyno, so I wouldn't rule her out, and (b) she sounded pretty literate and nice and helpful on her website. I forced myself to call and switch doctors, and booked an appointment for Wednesday morning.

That was around 10 a.m. Around noon, I noticed hand wasn't hurting. AT BLOODY ALL. Seriously, there is a tiny twinge here and there, but it's now TOTALLY FUCKING FINE. For the first time since JULY.

I don't even know, you guys!

Was it the stress of freaking out for months about not wanting to go and deal with "go see a specialist" and cold doctors again and then finally caving in that made it all better? Was this some giant cosmic nagging from the universe to go to the doctor? Now that I don't actually have a major reason to go to the doctor (unless I ask about "how to fix having frequent nosebleeds whenever I blow my nose because there's a giant scab up there that can't heal because I have to blow my nose daily" again, which so far has gotten responses of "I have no idea, I have the same problem" and "Here, take some antibiotics." Neither of which fixed that.), should I cancel? Or should I keep the appointment because if the universe was bugging the shit out of me to go by giving me wrist pain for months that didn't go away until I booked it, maybe there's a reason?

Uh, I dunno. I'll be asking my shrink about this, though. But I haven't had such a freak-ass healing experience since I spent a year coughing till I puked after having pneumonia that despite many drugs they put me on, only went away when I started going to the gym. GO FIGURE then, too.

Well, in the meantime I'm gonna enjoy knitting, and typing, and weight lifting, and using doorknobs and pushing the button for a stoplight at a crosswalk, and hell, just putting my freaking hand in my pocket without pain. HUZZAH! (And uh... hope the pain doesn't come back.)

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