Friday, December 23, 2005

Elbow Grease

On Tuesday, I went to the orthopedist for my follow-up appointment. As I had anticipated, the nerve conduction study indicated no damage whatsoever to my ulnar nerve. But, he was still willing to move my nerve, because once it does get damaged, it can't recover. We were talking about that when I mentioned to him that what really hurt was holding my arm in the violin-playing position. For those of you playing along at home, this involves bending your elbow about 120 degrees, tucking it in near your ribcage, and twisting your wrist until the blade of your hand is facing towards your face. I demonstrated it for him and he happened to touch my elbow in a certain place and the jolt of it made me jump. "Oh," he said, after poking around and making me squirm some more. "In addition to cubital tunnel, you also have (insert medical term here)." It basically amounted to an inflamed elbow joint. He told me there was a surgery for that too, but that it was largely unsuccessful. Instead, he would give me a shot in the bone there. He told me to hold on and he'd be right back with the shot.

First he poked at my elbow to figure out where it hurt the most. Then he sprayed it down with some sort of spray anesthetic. Then he took a great big needle and jabbed down into my bone in various places to disperse the medicine (steroid? cortisone? I couldn't tell you.). That hurt like the dickens and it was all I could do to keep myself from withdrawing my arm and pummeling the man. But after it was over, I felt like I had a new elbow! He was really excited about that, although he did warn me that by the evening, I would be hating him with a special kind of hate, because the anesthesia would have worn off. And sure enough, I did hate him with a new type of hate that evening. But, he told me that it would get better over the course of the next week. And it has.

In the meantime, I am not to do anything that will flare it up. I did try some writing with my left hand, and it still gets to hurting, but now I can write maybe half a page instead of the equivalent of a check. He told me absolutely no violin playing for the next couple of weeks, so grandma's going to have to forgo that pleasure when I visit next week. I also have to use a wrist brace and one of those braces for your elbow that are just a band that you put just below the elbow (often seen on basketball players) when I'm active with my left hand. I still need to buy one of those elbow braces.

He told me to come back if the ulnar nerve thing flared up again, and he would move my nerve. I may go back for that, because now that this other thing feels better, the tingling in the pinky and ring finger is more noticeable. But overall, I do feel a lot better.

1 comment:

rach said...

Aw, man! Byron would have liked to have heard the violin as well. But that's okay -- you get better!