Well, hi there, you guys! I think I need a silly controversy on this website more often. You all came out of the woodwork with your opinions and your voting. But you overwhelmingly said I should keep writing about LOST. So, sorry, non-watchers and haters, you'll have to bear with me or find someplace else to read on Thursdays. I'll be back with my recap either tonight or tomorrow. For now, on to more important things.

When I was in college, I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel. It probably stemmed from the constant stream of typing and practicing instruments (trumpet, piano, guitar, clarinet, etc.), as well as the way I had slept my whole life, with my wrists curled under my chin. I was given braces to wear at night and/or when they hurt, as well as an anti-inflammatory to control the pain.

That was all well and good for a few years. I re-trained myself not to sleep with my wrists curled under, and I still don't sleep that way. I reached a point where my fingers & wrists occasionally were sore but it was rare and I was managing just fine without any braces or anti-inflammatory meds.

A couple of years ago, I started to think it was back. I noticed occasionally that after a day at work when I had been typing constantly, my fingers would be sore. Or when I cleaned the bathtub that the pressure of pushing my fingers against the sponge to scrub was really painful and left my fingers stiff and sore. Or when I stir things with spoons that have skinny handles. Or sometimes when I woke up in the morning my fingers would be stiff and take a few minutes to regain full range of motion.

And here is where my background in music therapy (it was my major for a year and a half before switching to BA in Music) probably hurt me instead of helping me, by allowing me to continue ignoring the problem. I, somewhat subconsciously, have applied some of those tools to myself. Music therapists are always adapting whatever instruments or other therapeutic tools they use to the physical limitations of their clients, and a lot of that stuck with me. I did things like buying spoons with larger handles to accommodate my fingers. I bought scrubbers for cleaning the bathtub that put the pressure on my palms instead of my fingers.

Again, I got to a point where it was manageable on my own. It didn't go away entirely, though. And I began to suspect it's not carpal tunnel. I assumed for a long time that it was, but it is definitely more my fingers than my wrists. My wrists rarely, if ever, hurt, and my fingertips are never numb. It's all soreness and stiffness in my fingers.

I know this seems like it's all leading to the dramatic discovery of what is wrong with my fingers, but I assure you, it's not. Because this is my MO. I keep quiet, ignore pain, and hope it will go away. If I can just live with it, just manage it, I'll be fine and it'll be okay. If I don't face the fact that it could potentially ruin any chance I have of being successful as a trumpet player, it won't. If I refuse to admit, even to myself, that way down deep I am scared this might be arthritis and that it could take away the thing that makes me me, then it's not happening.

I did mention to my doctor once, in passing, that I was worried about it. But I was there for another reason, for a bad cold, and it wasn't a physical. I told her I'd been diagnosed with carpal tunnel but that my fingers were hurting lately. She asked if I type all day and I told her yes. She suggested physical therapy as a starting point. I never called, though, because I sort of think it's silly to go to a physical therapist when I don't even know what's wrong with me. Instead I went back to managing it and pretending everything's fine. And it was, for a while.

Last night, I went to rehearsal. As usual, I enjoyed myself and loved the challenge and the music and everything about it. Halfway through rehearsal, during the Candide Overture, my right pointer finger started to feel stiff and sore.

For the first time ever, my fingers were sore while I was playing my trumpet. I arrived home in tears, scared of the worst-case scenario, of what this could mean.

I think I am going to have to face this thing.


Katherine said...

Yuck! I'm so sorry about pain while playing - I know how glad you have been to get back into it! Don't put it off - go to the doctor or therapy or whatever you have to do before it gets worse!!! We need you to keep on playing :)

maresi said...

that sucks so so much. I'm sorry! When I was experiencing that pain in college (back then my DR insisted it was just tendinitis, not carpal tunnel - BAH) I used to use a heating pad before and after playing on my wrist and hand. Is that at all practical for you to do a few minutes before rehearsal? Other than that I agree with Katherine - don't put it off, and get yourself figured out.

Thais said...

Question #1: Do your fingers ever turn bluish and/or do they get cold realyl realyl easily?
Question #2 - do antiinflamatories, such asnaprozen or ibuprofen help?
Question #3 - it there any tingling in the fingers at all
Question #4 - have you ever been dx with anything like fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue or any other autoimmunie kind of thingy?
Question #5 - Is it all 5 fingers or jsut a select few?
email me back
PS - does a moist heat help the symtoms at all?
PPS- for hand pain you hsould realyl see an CHT (certified hand therapist) or an OT experienced in treating hand ailment.

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