Slitting the Other Wrist

I’m not thinking of ending it all. I just thought this title was cool. It ought to become a catch-phrase: “Things are going down the tubes. I’ve already slit one wrist. Now what?” “Slit the other wrist!”

In fact, the title refers only to the upcoming surgery on my left hand. My right wrist was slit back in December and is doing well. My left hand, however, is constantly numb and occasionally painful. I am right-handed, so this is sort of annoying, but not crippling.

I’d like to blame my tendency to drop things on carpal tunnel syndrome. Not a serious issue, nor one requiring any painful choices. The surgery is very easy and quick, and in about 90% of cases cures the pain and numbness. (Klutziness , however, is not so easily cured. That’s another story.)

Anyway, I’ve been looking at diagrams of the surgery to see what the doctor actually did while I was knocked out. Confession: I like looking at medical diagrams. The drawings of operations are always so neat, no blood or other unpleasant things. Medical illustrations make the human body seem orderly and color-coded. It’s not like on “House, MD,” where they always find something messy and weird (like a 9-foot tapeworm) when they cut the patient open. Medical illustrations don’t show stuff like that.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by many things — or nothing. In my own case, I’m sure that writing is to blame. I first began to notice pain and numbness in my thumb and index finger when using my computer, and when holding a pen. Eventually, all my fingers except the pinkie joined the party. (Strangely, all the fingers on your hand except for the pinkie are controlled by the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel.)

So I had several thousand dollars worth of tests. By that time, I was waking up every night with pain shooting up my arm. Drugs do not lessen this pain. The only solution was to get up, flex my fingers, shake my hand; after a half an hour or so, it would go away. Lately, I wear a splint on my left hand, which helps. But the only cure is cutting open my wrist.

The doctors who do this kind of surgery have a good gig. Since it only takes about 30 minutes to find and ‘release’ (cut?) the transverse ligament, they can slit a lot of wrists in one day. Their patients don’t die, and complications usually aren’t serious. I’m sure there are occasional wrist emergencies that pull them off the golf course, but most people with carpal tunnel syndrome schedule weeks in advance, making a carpal-tunnel surgeon’s life fairly predictable.

I wish I’d known about carpal tunnel syndrome before I spent all those years getting a degree in Greek.

I am a disgustingly healthy person. I never get sick — I hate being sick. It bothers me to have to ask for help.

But I will slit my other wrist, just to be rid of this problem.

Besides, scars are cool.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ian g
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 16:30:33

    what in God’s good name is this…?

    yeah, “carpal tunnel”. sure. porn will do that to you, huh? 😉 kiddddding 🙂


  2. escher dax
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 19:16:18

    Wrist has been slit; thank god for vicodin. 🙂


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