On this blog, I haven’t talked much about myself. I’m supposed to be talking about gaming (hence the name: IndySligo Gaming) but there are many things going on in my life that aren’t gaming that I’d like to talk about anyway.
Don’t get me wrong – gaming is still a major part of my life!
But for now, I’m going to talk about elbows.
For most of my adult life, I’ve noticed a problem when I set in a “comfortable” easy chair for too long. Aside from my back and tailbone getting sore, my hands start feeling tingly. I never thought much about it. I’d just adjust my position and the sensation would go away.
Being a bit of a computer nerd, I spend (and have, for too many years to count) many hours sitting at a computer with my hands on the keyboard and/or mouse. My first wife knitted, and from this, she developed carpal tunnel syndrome and had surgery to correct it (twice on her right wrist.) During this time, her orthopedic doctor thought I might be developing the problem as well, so he gave me wrist splints, recommended anti-inflammatory drugs and to upgrade my workstation with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
I suppose these measures helped. After getting my right MCL sprained a couple years ago playing hockey, I talked to the doctor about my arms. He sent me to get a medical test done: an Electromyograpy examination. Basically, they attached wires to my elbows and fingers and measured the amount of electrical resistance in my arm. He said at the end of the test that I didn’t have carpal tunnel syndrome. Okay. But why do my arms hurt?
At my next visit to the orthopedic doctor, I asked. I was told that no, my wrists are fine. What I’m suffering from is cubital tunnel syndrome. What the heck is that? Basically, it’s the same thing as carpal tunnel, but in the elbow instead of the wrist. Here are a couple links about it: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/cubital-radial-tunnel-syndrome#1, http://www.assh.org/handcare/hand-arm-conditions/cubital-tunnel. They set me up with a pair of splits, a set of elbow pads, and sent me to a physical therapist for six weeks. Using the splints and the pads, along with the therapy, my elbows started feeling better and there was a measurable improvement in my grip strength.
That was a little less than two years ago. Since then, I still use the elbow pads when I’m on the computer at home – mostly because I can’t remove the armrests on my chair. At work, I lowered the armrests to their lowest position to discourage the habit of leaning on them. I still do, but I can’t for long because it kills my back to do so.
Over the past few months, I noticed an increase in pain in my forearms. Waking up with tingly fingers is more common, along with tingly feelings while driving. During my regular visit with my family doctor – whom I see semi-annually, mostly to monitor my diabetes – I asked him about my elbows. He made a referral and last Tuesday, I met with this new doctor.
It didn’t take him long to figure out that I’m not being disingenuous. My arms hurt! I asked about treatment options – I know that cortisone shots can be used for carpal tunnel, but he said that it’s not an option for this. There’s no room to stick the needle, apparently. Not that I’m a fan of needles anyway. Since I’ve already been through the physical therapy route, the next option is surgery.
Since I don’t want to miss the latter half of hockey season, and now’s not a good time for me to take an extended break from work, we scheduled the surgery for December 21st. It’s after the last hockey game of the year and my work will be closed between Christmas and New Year. After discussing it with my wife, we agreed to do both elbows at the same time, meaning I’ll need taken care of for the first few days afterwards. May as well get it all done at once.
What a way to spend the Christmas holiday, huh? Such as it is, it works best time-wise. Hopefully, recovery will be quick and complete. I’ll regain strength in my arms and hands, and I won’t be taking NSAIDs like candy. At least, not for this.
Just sitting here as I type this I notice the little finger on my right hand is tingly. My elbows are ninety degrees and the keyboard is positioned correctly. The measures that help to prevent one problem aren’t helping to prevent the other. *sigh*
That’s what I’m dealing with right now. Despite this, I’ll try to keep up my aggressive plan to post poetry (mine and Brenda’s) as well as add a new installment to Kabize’s story weekly – if not more often.
If you’ve read through this bit of personal diatribe, thank you! I’m not a huge fan of reading things like this written by others, so I have little expectation that this will be popular. Who knows? I might surprise myself.