10 September 2007

Give a girl a hand

I started having problems with my hands when I was in college. Pain... loss of sensation... loss of control... As a 22 year old, during a particularly bad period, I went to the campus health center and was told that I was most likely dealing with arthritis. I was a child and it never occurred to me to ask for a second opinion.

In the spring of 1999, after spending an intense period of time working on some hand-built porcelain vessels that I wanted to use for a grant proposal, the problems with my hands reached a new extreme. I felt as though I had lost all fine motor control. When I tried to hold something, my grip was so tight that the item would crush in my hands. A tiny vessel, which had taken hours to build and was nearly finished might be crushed to dust in my hands when I thought that I was gently holding it. At the same time, I would try to grip things tightly and they would slip from my grasp to the floor.

Within a month, I had the first of 6 hand surgeries which were spaced out over a period of 8 months. The diagnosis was Carpal Tunnel, Tendonitis and ancillary nerve damage. From diagnosis to the first surgery, I was so busy with blood tests and surgery prep that I didn't have time to think about what was happening.

Soon I will be seeing a hand specialist for a "pre-surgical consultation." I don't know if we will ultimately choose surgery, and I know that it is unlikely that we would have to repeat all of it, but I'm a little freaked out. I don't want to repeat any of it. I honestly don't know how I'd manage life with Sprout during my recovery. I can't manage life with an energetic, high-needs three-year-old as it is. I've had the number for the physical/occupational therapist for almost a week and haven't scheduled my first appointment because I just can't seem to find a childcare solution. We considered enrolling her in preschool. The problem is that preschool is 3 hours 3 mornings a week. I would spend 1/2 hour of that driving her daddy to work after we dropped her off, another 45 minutes driving to the physical therapist's office, it takes another 1/2 hour to get from the physical therapist's office to the preschool which means that if the appointment is an hour, I have exactly fifteen minutes margin for delayed appointments or traffic problems. I'm not sure it's possible but I am almost certain that the stress will drive me around the twist.

Of course, the way that today has been going, I'm probably going to run away from home. As an indigent living on the streets in the midwest, scheduling medical appointments will probably be the last of my worries. What is it about 3 year olds that inspires them to bite and hit when they don't get their way. It's not like ***We've*** ever modeled that behavior, although I will admit that I really, really wanted to hit her with a rolled up newspaper when she bit me the second time in less than a minute.

The good news is that tomorrow is my bellydance class. It's the thing that I look forward to all week and the thing that really gets me through right now. Between dance class and trying to find my way around Ravelry, I'm starting to remember that there's a world out there that has nothing to do with preschoolers.

Image: Georgia O'Keefe: Hands with Thimble photograph by Alfred Stieglitz


Anonymous said...

It's good that you have found activities for yourself. Taking a small amount of time for yourself is important so that you can be refreshed for other parts that take a lot of energy. Best wishes that all works out with your hands.


sheilabythebeach said...

Seeing a hand specialist sounds like a very wise move. Hope he/she will have a solution of some kind for you. In the meantime - bellydance!!

Daria de la Luna said...

I wish I were there (and free) to help out with Miss Sproutie while you recuperate from hand surgery! I'm glad you at least are getting a glimpse of the world beyond preschoolers!