Monday, February 7, 2011

The Finger

Months of chronic elbow pain, unremitting after ice and heat packs, anti-inflammatories and pseudo-rest, prompted me to trudge over to the orthopedist's office. Diagnosis: lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as "tennis elbow."

Whaddaya mean, doc? I'm a writer, not a tennis pro.

According to the fine doctor, I have overtaxed a tendon that runs from my elbow to my middle finger, a common injury to tennis players but not exclusive.

Hmmm, I wonder how I managed to accomplish an injury stemming from one finger. Ironically, the bird finger. Now there are times I want to flip off a driver who's cut me off, I rarely give in to that temptation. So, I studied my habits and can say I still have no idea how I did this. It doesn't appear that I use the middle finger any more than the others. If had to pick one with the most repetitive use, I would have placed my bet on the index finger. Yep, that would be the one. It points, dials, scratches, flicks, turns pages, and opens snail mail. 

Whatever the cause, I've renamed this phenomenon "Writer's Elbow" because I sure didn't get this from playing tennis.

The cure? A wrist splint. Yes, a wrist splint. Not the elbow brace I'd been wearing. 

How long? Six weeks. I almost croaked. Actually, I think my voice did croak a bit when I repeated back to the doctor, Six weeks? Are you kidding?

Ummm, no. He wasn't. Six weeks in a brace with anti-inflammatories as needed and a warning that if this fix doesn't work, a cortisone injection will surely follow. Crap! I've heard those things hurt like the dickens. My brain went into avoid-shot-at-all-cost mode.

The first night I wore the brace to bed I had a nightmare about the top of my hand splitting open and large toad frogs leaping out of the hole. Freaky. Even for a paranormal writer.

In folklore and mythology, frogs often symbolize transformations and self discovery. Think of the Frog Prince, a parable of animus integration and metamorphosis.

Okay, my dream was probably more of a response from my brain alerting me that the brace was too heavy and tight, but it's much more interesting to ponder it from an allegorical perspective.

Although dream frogs are generally positive symbols, their leaping could represent a bad habit of hopping from one thing to the next without completing the former. Ouch! That's how 2010 turned out for me. Skipping from one writing project to the next, leaving a string of unfinished manuscripts. At least until NaNoWriMo came along and I committed to finishing one, Howlin' Hearts.

2011 is the Year of Completion for me. Even with Writer's Elbow to contend with I'm determined to finish what I start and not start something else until I do. Perhaps this dream was a warning to be diligent despite unforeseen circumstances. So, I'll wear the brace and rest the finger. I've got nine others I can use to type.

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Autumn Shelley said...

Hahahahaha! Dream Frogs! Gotta love it. Maybe that explains the pain in my shoulder blade that causes various and assorted muscles to twitch randomly. (Except I'm pretty sure that being a midwestern transplant now suffering in the wastelands of Central Tx. that over-use of my middle finger is the more likely culprit.) Good luck! Hope the Writer's Elbow gets better!

Angela Scott said...

I know a man who has the middle finger problem as well--stemmed from an injury. He doesn't want it fixed though (easy access to the bird).

Anyway, I wanted to drop by and say hi to a fellow crusader.

My stupid profile had the wrong blog on display and has made me look like an idiot by having an old, blank blog.

My real blog (I do have one) is

You can delete yourself from the blogspot one with the same title.

So dumb. Join a crusade and have the wrong info :(

Amanda Milner said...

I too need to dedicate the year 2011 as the Year of Completion! I hop around from project to project as well. :P
Oh, I get crazy dreams like your frog one too, especially when they are influenced by something occurring to me when I sleep. I had, in my dream, a bump by my collar bone break open and millions of baby spiders come scurrying out, swarming me. 0.o I think both implications of why this dream occurred terrifies me. Do I prefer the dark, sinister meaning or that there was an actual spider crawling on me while I slept?? Lil!

Amanda Milner said...

*Lol! oops:P

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