Richard Kimble May Be Looking For Me

Richard Kimble May Be Looking For Me

Readers of a certain age will immediately recall Dr. Richard Kimble, The Fugitive who was in search of the one-armed man.  Some will immediately think of David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, for others it will be Harrison Ford who will come to mind.  And a scant few may think of Tim Daly, although it is doubtful that anyone reading this blog is in the Tim Daly camp.

Loosely based on, or at least eerily similar to, if not directly inspired by the real-life story of Dr. Sam Sheppard, this was the name of the protagonist on the 1960s TV show, The Fugitive.
Despite seeing a one-armed man fleeing his house just before
discovering the body of his murdered wife, Kimble is the likely
suspect, and ultimately found guilty, convicted of her murder.
  Dr. Kimble becomes a fugitive and embarks on an ardent search
for "the one armed man,"the killer of Kimble's wife.  Circumstantial evidence, but, hey,
Kimble knew two things:  1) he saw this guy come out of the house,
and 2) he (Kimble) didn't do it.

Not to imply that I did it (I was a teenager when this TV show was on,
and had both arms then and now!), but of late I have become the
one-armed man.  Well, to be more specific, the one-handed
man.  Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, the cursed affliction of those who
spend a zillion hours a year a their computers, hit me like a ton of
bricks earlier this week.

The Sound of . . .

We've all heard the old saw about the sound of one hand clapping.  Well, what you're reading is the product (are the words?) of one hand typing.

Rim shot, groan, guffaw, whatever.  I've lost considerable dexterity (read: use) of my right hand, but not my sense of humor.  Of course, for the near term, I'll only be dispensing left-handed compliments.

The Hand Jive

My doctor understands me.  After hitting me three times with one of those reflex hammers,  the third one causing me lightning-like staggering pain in every pore of my body, she made the Carpal Tunnel diagnosis.  "Well, this means you'll have to stay off the computer for about a week or so," she told me.  Seeing the look of abject horror on my face, she then said, "But since we both know that isn't going to happen, go home and Google the exercises for  carpal tunnel syndrome, and do them while you spend as little time as possible on that keyboard."

She explained that since the pain was all in my hand, fingers and thumb below my wrist, I was a good candidate for a strong recovery. Up the wrist and arm is worse, and indicates more serious issues.  She gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory, and noted that Arthritis exacerbates the discomfort. 

Lucky me.  I suffer from Severe Arthritis, which is a contributing cause of my chronic knee problems.

She spoke about the reason for the tunnel in carpal tunnel, that the median nerve becomes compressed as it passes through a small tunnel formed by the wrist bones. The symptoms begin when the pressure inside the tunnel results in this tunnel, due to the stress, either increases or decreazes in size.  Either situation causes pain and this pain radiates out in various ways.   An excellent description can be found here

Rest and the exercises will help, she advises, as well a very necessary brace to hold the area in place and relieve some of the stress and the discomfort.  If progress is not made, then a Cortisone shot might be the course of action, or possibly Acupuncture.  Should those fail, surgery is the next step.

Brace Yourself

She recommended I get a Futuro Brace, which I was able to find in the local CVS.  The pain is worse at night (as she had warned me), so wearing the brace is necessary to get any sleep.

At first I was unable to make a fist, grip anything with my right hand, and to do most of the usual, simple, basic things one does with one's right hand.  Like opening the toothpaste, or holding the toothbrush with my right hand.  Like holding a pen or pencil, or writing.  Like opening a can.  Or using a key, buttoning a shirt, even being able to tie one's shoelaces.  This is, of course, adding insult to injury. 

I had to call a friend (dialing with my left hand) and ask him to drive me to the doctor.  I feared I wouldn't be able to get the key into the ignition, much less use my right hand to grip the wheel.  And then there was all this pain, too.

Little by little progress is being made.  I can make a fist, although not a tight one.  The pain is lessening, but this is a slow process.  I feel the fatigue and the discomfort when I use the mouse or do even a little bit of keyboarding with my right hand.  I haven't driven since last weekend.  And there's some "keyboard production" work I need to get done that requires pinpoint accuracy, which is very difficult using the left hand for all the aspects of the task.

The pain has been traveling, going from my thumb to the lower joints on my ring and pinky fingers.  There's a general area that seems to start on the back of my hand at the knuckles beneath the fingers, which travels through to the equivalent area below the fingers on my palm, with the pain centralized in this diffifcult to pinpoint location.  And although nothing is sticking out, I continue to have a sore thumb.

I guess there won't be any hitchhiking or piano playing in the near future.  Nor should I expect Roger Ebert to be calling asking me to guest host with him anytime soon.

One-Armed Work Ethic

This post took over six days to complete.  It was composed, edited and readied for publication over a six day period.  Normally this would occupy an hour or two, perhaps over two or three sittings.  In this case there were probably fifteen or twenty occasions in which I'd spend a few moments working on it, then have to quit either out of frustration with my left hand limitations, or due to discomfort on the right hand.

I also used this start-stop method to polish up or edit a bunch of posts that have been mired in not-yet-fully-edited limbo (or is that Blogatory, an online place tantamount to Purgatory?).  Perhaps this is a case of Carpe Diem a la Carpal Tunnel.

A Fugitive (and gimpy) Lobster

Meanwhile, I'll be keeping my distance from Dr. Richard Kimble.  Funny thing: years ago when we had a fish tank in the dining room there was a gimpy little blue lobster in the tank.  It seemed to be missing a leg (or legs).  I named it Richard Kimble (no Dr. in the Crustacean community).  It made no sense, since Kimble had both hands, but for some reason it just seemed appropriate.  There was no Inspector Morse, either.

Now, with Carpal Tunnel in my right hand, I find myself thinking that little gimpy blue lobster should have been named Futuro, or maybe Chester.  But then I would have to have named the other lobster, a bigger red one, Marshall Dillon.  None of the other fish in the tank seemed like they would have been properly called Miss Kitty or Doc, so better that we leave well enough alone.

Excuse me now while I do the exercises and go ice my hand.