Saturday, February 01, 2014

My Weird TENDONcies

I have a weird tendency toward enjoying monotony. Crocheting is rather monotonous, doing the same or similar stitches over and over. One thing I enjoy about monotonous tasks is that I can feel productive but my mind can wander wherever. I can listen to books, watch Netflex, visit with people...whatever. 



However, monotony has a TENDONcy to cause me problems. I think that is just sad. Not many people enjoy the beauty of monotony as much as do I. Why oh why does it have to turn on me like that?

Nope, I didn't misspell tendency. I am literally talking about my tendons. You can already tell that this is going to be a fascinating post, can't you? Everyone wants to know more about my tendons, don't they? Well, maybe it can be educational. Maybe you also have had some weird tendoncies. 

I don't think I can remember all the tendon injuries I have developed over the years, affecting my elbow, ankles, foot and wrists.  Almost always, though, they are embarrassing and make me feel elderly. There's nothing quite like hearing a neurosurgeon, after having just done your exam, chuckling down the hall as he tells his assistant that he has a lady in there who developed lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) from CROCHETING.  OK, it was pretty funny. You can read about that one here. 

With my new job, I've been doing a lot of handwriting as I document people's answers to my health questions. We are about to go to electronic forms, just in the nick of time for me. Here's why I say that... Monday morning of this past week I woke up and before I even got out of bed I knew something was weird. My thumb didn't work right as I tried to move the blankets off myself. I was able to bend it and unbend it, although it took a bit of effort. The weird thing was, it didn't move smoothly, it "popped" open. It was so interesting, I made the motion quite a few times (20?) just to marvel at the oddness of it all. I can't say it felt very good, but it was most definitely interesting. It felt a bit like it was dislocating, but not that painful. Soon, it worked itself out and was normal the rest of the day. 

As it turns out, my thumb does that weird trick every morning now. In fact, it has become worse and hurts now down into my wrist. It isn't that painful but just a bit noticeable. Well, I'm a nurse. I work at a surgical center where trigger finger release surgeries are done. I know what is going on here. I've had patients come in with a thumb or finger stuck in a bent position. It isn't really an attractive look. I don't think I need that! Since it is my thumb, I'm thinking it would be hard to start IV's or to even hold a pen if I let it get worse. 

So, what to do? What to do? I suppose some would make an appointment with one of those doctors I know who are experts in this kind of injury.  Instead, I went to Mayo Clinic (via the internet) and read about stenosing tenosynovitis aka trigger finger. Yep, that's it! Diagnosis complete for a cost of $0. (Disclaimer: Nurses do NOT diagnose medical ailments...unless it is their own ailment.)

From what I read, especially since this has not gone on for very long, I may be able to stop the progression, maybe even heal completely. Splinting and resting it is the first step. I went online to see what is available to splint this condition. I found big ugly splints  that would do the job but not much of a fashion statement, now is it? Then, I found a pretty splint! I'm not kidding. It looks like cool jewelry. I knew that everyone would want one if they saw how pretty it was. I wouldn't  have to admit that I had a tendon problem... yet again. Here, take a look at it. Yea, nice. The price, although way cheaper than surgery, seemed a bit high for this minor injury.

But wait! I had a flashback! When I was in high school and playing basketball, I often hurt my fingers, a direct result of my inability to ever figure out how big the basketball really is. When it was thrown to me I often had my hands a smidge too close together, resulting in my fingers getting hurt. As we lived a very, very long way from a drugstore and Amazon.com was years away, we learned a cheap method of splinting. All we needed was tape and a plastic utensil. We would just break the plastic spoon, knife or whatever. Place it over the joint that needs to be immobilized and tape it in place.  It helps to cushion it with gauze (or kleenex). 

I actually got as far as breaking the plastic knife this morning before I came to my senses. I suddenly realized that I no longer live in Turner, MT and I have a wide choice of nearby drugstores.  Maybe I will go buy one of those ugly splints after all.

How about you? Do your tendons get cranky sometimes as well? Have you ever had trigger finger (or thumb) problems? Any advice?