Thursday, April 7, 2011

"F" is for The Finger, Part Deux

In January, I posted about "The Finger" ~ my diagnosis of epicondylitis (tendonitis of the elbow), or what I coined as "writer's elbow." Ironically, the inflamed tendon causing me trouble runs to my middle finger. Go figure.

Well, the wrist splint was a bust and I had to proceed with two cortisone shots. The medication in the syringe had the consistency and coloring of Elmer's glue. The shots hurt, but not as much as I had imagined, at first. By the next day, my arm was swollen and aching worse than ever. For a week, I bemoaned its misery.

As the swelling faded, so did the sharp, severe pain that shot through my elbow whenever I attempted to pick up something. Ooh lala! I'm cured.

If only I had been.

Although the elbow pain has subsided, I've now developed generalized muscle tenderness in both arms and across my shoulders. Beneath my skin, my muscles feel bruised and sore even with the slightest touch. So not happy with this latest symptom.

Went to physical therapy on Tuesday. I was told that I have hyper-flexible joints, but that it doesn't affect my muscles and wouldn't cause muscle tightness. They recommended electrical stimulation to start with and follow up strength training exercises.

The electric stim sounded promising. Fifteen minutes of relaxation, bundled in warm blankets with electrodes connected to my skin at various nerves and trigger points. After I got hooked up, the physiologist cranked up the juice. The currents flowing through my right upper extremity weren't painful but they weren't pleasant either.

My hand flexed and contracted in a weird spasm. Lo and behold, my middle finger stood at attention as if to salute the flag in full regalia. I was assured that this meant the electrical stim was working. Maybe so, but all I could think of was rewriting the sexual tension and love scenes in my WIP. I certainly didn't want to imagine that kind of electrical current running through other parts of my body, as I've so often seen referenced in romance novels.

The electricity I experienced running through my system didn't have me thinking moony thoughts about Professor X.  It had me telling the PT to "get these things off me."  Of course, he didn't. He merely dialed down the voltage and left me strapped to the juice box.

Thunder boomed. Lightning streaked. Dear God! A severe storm in one of the worst lightning strike areas in the country and there I am with a direct line to a power source. Sore muscles could be the least of my concerns.

My imagination fills with gnarly images of death by electrocution. I decide that should I fall victim to such a fate, I would haunt the rehab center. Looking around at all the treadmills and stationary bikes and other equipment, I think that a ghost could have a lot of fun making mischief here. I'd be much more prankish than Sally on BEING HUMAN. And so I  began plotting, er rather, planning.

The PT must've seen a strange glaze in my eyes because he assured me that everything was fine and there was no danger from the storm.  I decide that I'd haunt him and his little dog too, if he were wrong.

Fifteen minutes later when the the machine was turned off and my electrodes were removed, I was alive and breathing. I stashed my ghost to-haunt-list and made my next appointment for a day with no rain in the forecast.

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Wynter Daniels said...

So sorry for all you're going through. I've been down a similar path due to spurs in my cervical spine that have affected my neck, shoulders, right elbow and hand. I hope you're better soon.

Laura M. Campbell said...

It's amazing what might spark an idea for a story. I'm sorry you went through so much pain. Good luck with the challenge!

shelly said...


Anonymous said...

Oh man, I've been hooked up to e-stim for my neck before, but I think I would have ripped the little buggers off and gave the PT the finger for sure if there was a lightning storm!

Have you tried a chiropractor who does arms/legs/hands/feet for the problem? My chiro has gotten rid of my CTS, and if you can find one who works on extremities s/he may be able to help :)

Anonymous said...

Yipes! How...electrifying! ;)

Cally Jackson said...

Eek! Hope your finger gets better very soon!

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