Monday, December 4, 2023

I've Got an Itchy Trigger Finger. No, Really!

When you're young, you hurt yourself when you do something like skateboard down a hill, or jump over a parking meter, or fall from a bunkbed. When you're my age, you hurt yourself doing things like walking to your car in a parking lot, looking over your shoulder when backing out, or apparently doing nothing more than writing a grocery list. 

That's what happened to me. I hurt my thumbs (yes, plural - thumbs.) I hurt both my thumbs from doing something as innocuous as writing. Or typing. Or crocheting. Or just because I'm 53 and body parts simply cease working when you get to this age. Who knows? But both my thumbs started hurting. Then they started popping every time I bent them. They would sort of click in and out of place. Crack crack crack crack. Then (this is my favorite part) they stuck in a bent position. I couldn't straighten them by myself. You remember when your parents told you not to make faces at your sister or your face might stick like that? Well, I'm here to tell you - do not make obscene hand gestures because your hands very well might stick like that!

A couple months passed until I couldn't handle the pain anymore so I made an appointment with an orthopedist who specializes in hands. After listening to me describe the problem and listening to looking at my thumbs, he told me, “You have trigger fingers.”

The image of Yosemite Sam sputtering, “I’ve got an itchy trigger finger, ya varmints” flashed through my head.

“That’s an actual thing?” I asked the doctor. “Because, I’ve gotta say, it sounds a little made up. Did you get your degree from Looney Toons University?”

The doctor gave me a blank stare. I’m not sure if he was insulted, or if he was just gauging my mental competency. Either way, he went on to explain the validity of his diagnosis.

“I can give you a shot in both hands that should help alleviate your symptoms. If it works, great! If it doesn’t work, I could give you one more shot. 

"What are the chances it'll work? I mean, hitchhiking is really hard right now. No one knows what I'm doing with my gnarled thumb." I held up my hand to demonstrate.

"There's no way to know if it'll work for you or not. If it still doesn’t work after two shots, you’ll need surgery to correct it. But don’t worry, it’s a simple surgery. We put a numbing agent in your hand." Then, taking my hand, he drew a line with his finger indicating where he’d make an incision. "It’s just a little snip snip and you’re all done."

“Snip snip, huh? Yeah, that’s what they told my ex-husband yet here I am with 6 kids.”

His jaw dropped a little.

“Just kidding. The whole 6 kids thing was on purpose."

blank stare

"I mean, it seemed like a good idea at the time,” I shrugged.

“Okaaay then. I’ll be back in a minute.” He left to either get the injections or to beg another doctor to take over so he didn’t have to deal with me anymore.

Apparently his colleagues beat him at Rock, Paper, Scissors because he was the one who returned with a couple syringes. Shots don't typically bother me, but holy crap they hurt! It felt like I was being injected with a mixture of hot sauce, lava, and evil! My thumbs blew up like Harry Potter's Aunt Marge. 

I'm happy to report that a couple weeks later, my thumbs were all good to go! Now I have no more pain, popping, or locking. Until I do something crazy like stir a pot of spaghetti and dislocate my wrist, that is.


dpinyan said...

So glad to see one of your wonderful writings this morning. Sorry you have hand/thumb problems. Take care.

Mystii said...

I have trigger thumbs as well as had cortisone shots injected. Oh man, those hurt so bad I still remember the pain, six years later! Reassuringly for you, I haven't had any more and my trigger thumbs have behaved themselves. I hope you get the same results!

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