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Three score and ten or more

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ruminations on Coothood, part whatever.

It’s one of those days when one (or at least this one) meditates on the advantages and disadvantages of Coothood. Pain, diagnosis and prognosis are all felt differently and treated differently by age and by the changes evoked by the MARCH OF TIME.

Beginning while I was in high school, I have had all the symptoms that are now recognized as carpal tunnel syndrome. Of course, at that time there was no such thing as carpal tunnel syndrome. As a result, when my fingers turned tingly and numb and useless so that I couldn’t hold on to things, I had: truck driver’s shoulder, where my deltoids and some other muscle had over developed and were cutting off the blood to my fingers; or when I had excruciating pain in my forearm and hands, I had gout, or - - - - something else. Over the years Chiropractors have vibrated and shocked me electrically, then massaged the heck out of both arms and back (even if it doesn’t cure, it makes you feel good), for gout, doctors made me quit eating anything that tasted good, in addition to peas, beans and lentils. I’ve had xrays, examinations, held on to little aluminum bars that had low voltage electricity, and had surgery recommended to free up the blood flow from my shoulders to my hands.

Now that they have discovered Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it is too late for me. I now have an acquired peripheral neuropathy that mimics many of the Carpal Tunnel symptoms and even passes them on to my feet and legs. When I was having an EMG (I don’t have a clue what the letters stand for, but it is a diagnostic tool where they stick a needle on a nerve at the top of your leg, an electrode on the appropriate toe then shoot electrical current between the two, and measure the length of time it took to get from the needle to the toe- - - or, the needle in the arm and the electrode on the finger and do the same thing, it is probably the most fun you can have without receiving a root canal without anesthetic) the technician looked at me and said “Boy, you have the worst case of Carpal Tunnel I have ever measured.” When I asked my doctor about it, she chuckled. “It is now just part of the neuropathy, and the treatments are completely different”. I had to admit, the type of pain from the carpal tunnel is no longer in my arms (the fingers still turn numb sometimes) but now is on the bottoms of my feet.

New rumination! I wonder what capsasin (pepper) ointment would have felt like on my feet when they were healthy. Now I spread it on liberally to cut the burning. If anyone wants to try capsasin on their healthy feet and describe the sensation, I am open to reading it.

Day before yesterday I was visiting my daughter and reached upward for a book. My hand locked in place with my thumb immovably set by the side of my fingers. “I’m afraid my hand is paralyzed.” I said to my wife, so she took my hand and unlocked the fingers, moved my thumb and everything worked well. I had two more similar seizures the next day, so, first thing upon arriving home I ran to the doctor to be healed of my paralysis. “It is just a cramp” he says. “Those types of things are frequent in people who are----- over fifty or so, it is a little like when you stretch out your toes before getting out of bed and get a cramp in your foot. A lot of older people get them in the middle finger of the hand.” (I didn’t want to pursue that one, but, all in all, I prefer the cramp in my thumb). It is a bit discouraging, gout becomes Carpal Tunnel, becomes a neuropathy, and paralysis becomes a cramp.. I just don’t get no respect, that’s all there is to it. But then, I think coothood brings on a combined tolerance and lack of respect that is always a bit irritating. In my next life I think I am going to be Japanese, or Korean where, when you reach coothood everybody bows to you. Or not?????

8 Comments:

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Thotman said...

you so make me laugh...the first time I read the title I read cool hood...and cool you are...no doubt in my mind...richard you are simply incredible...(bowing out of total respect for my elders)...as long as you can type dont worry about the tiny cramps...use your other hand to pry apart your thumb and indexfinger used to make the O in I'm O-K... oh and I dont care if you cant post your address...I will add it to my favorites...just sign your name wo I will know you came to hang out...

 
At 5:21 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

Your story of the finger cramps reminded me of when my mother broke her middle finger and had a splint on it for a couple months. Driving down the road, it inevitably stuck up from the steering wheel causing many a passing motorist to "greet" her back.

 
At 6:59 AM, Blogger Kathleen said...

Oh, thank you Richard. I needed to laugh! And, the responses from thotman and ed are great visuals! I would bow to you, but I have this problem with dizziness when bending at the waist. So in lieu I will shake a leg at you in respect for your achievement of reaching Coothood.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger PeachBelle said...

Well, oldish coot, i love reading your blog but hate hearing of your pain, so i'm passing on to you my own little bit of doc-isms...

I too suffered unbearably from carpal tunnel syndrome for many years, till i found an otc arthritis med, that was fabulous. But when I ran out and went to buy more, it had been discontinued.

Fast forward a few years, I had hung onto the package it'd came in, in hopes of its revival. I picked it up and looking at the ingredients, saw TURMERIC listed as one of them. I knew it is a spice readily available in the supermarket, so I bought some. I stirred it into my foods ever day, and let me tell you something, it was like finding the fountain of youth!

I was able to throw off the wrist supports I had worn for a very long time. My whole body felt new, rejuvenated.

Somewhere along the way I read that TURMERIC is an anti-inflammatory.

And nowadays, the medical field is telling us that virtually all our ills are the result of inflammation.

It also cured my 'bad'knee that was on the verge of needing to be replaced.

My stepmom was about to have surgery on her foot, when I told her about TURMERIC, she tried it and now her foot is fine & completely pain free. She told me that now they have TURMERIC capsules at the pharmacy, and I saw them recently at Wal-mart here in middle Georgia.

Give it a try and let me know in a month how much better you feel.

No charge, you're welcome : )

 
At 12:20 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

The aches and pains of aging aren't much fun but it could be worse - not being alive to age.

 
At 7:26 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Thank you all for your comments. Peachbelle, welcome to my comment column, and I hope you return many times. We have decided to try the tumeric solution, and will report on the results.

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

08 21 06

There is no one else I have read that phrases things quite like you Richard!! hehehehehe I am saddened that you have this neuropathy, but happy that you are taking it in stride. My fingers lock up sometimes too, I don't have carpal tunnel but another type of syndrome related to this crappy job I once had where we had to type eight hours straight a day!

They showed me exercises that help, but when the weather changes outside oooh wee it can hurt. I heard that EMG tests weren't the most comfortable but they sure provide wonderful diagnostic information.

I hope that you aren't hurting your fingers by typing so much. Then again you could one hand type too if that would help.

I hope you are enjoying yourself with your family! One of the lessons my Grandparents taught us well was the love of family and friends. Take Care and I hope you have a good week:)

 
At 8:31 AM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

08 21 06

And Tumeric huh? Shucks Miss Peachbelle you might've just made yourself a fan club. I will check out that remedy as well!

 

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