November 6, 2008

The story of db clay

Shocking my elbow


A few months back I did a post about my pinkies going numb. Well, they have remained numb since then, and to avoid long term damage I decided to go in for a doctor’s diagnosis. Initially my thought was that I had carpal tunnel. But due to my symptoms and the location of my numbness, my general doctor advised me otherwise. To be sure, he referred me to a neurologist for further testing.

This morning I went and visited with a doctor at some Neurology clinic in SW Portland. He was a specialist and I explained to him the feelings my hands/arms have been having. He had me manipulate my hands in a variety of positions, he tested the strength of my fingers and grip, he asked questions, and to conclude my visit, he hooked my arms up to a machine… connected by chords affixed with a gelatinous adhesive. He sent a variety of electrical shocks into my wrists, elbows and fingers. It was a weird sensation. Not painful, but odd. He would give me a low voltage, record the numerical data (i.e. the time it took for my nerves to respond) and then he increasingly ramped up the voltage. So much so that my fingers and arms were convulsing with each shock. I laid on my back as tests were performed and I contemplated how I got to this point:

I told the neurologist I have made about 30,000 wallets by hand in my life. I told him I have scripted at least an equal number of emails (I type a lot). I also told him that I was amateur arm wrestling champion in 5th grade. All contributing factors to my current ailment.

The goods news is that, according to my shock results, he doesn’t think it is carpal tunnel. He seems to think I have endured mild damage to my ulnar nerve in my elbow. No treatment is immediately necessary, no surgery just yet. Which is good news. He simply told me to “be nice to your nerves…”

I don’t quite know what that means? I don’t think he does either. I am probably going to pursue a second opinion via eastern medicine, next, to possibly relieve my symptoms. Probably going to see an acupuncturist in the coming months to hopefully remedy my numbness and loss of strength.

While in the waiting room, I drew the above image of my pinky on a manila folder.

Garett Croft Stenson



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