Oh ouch. I used to get that after exams because I'd been gripping too tight. I swapped to a fat pen with a rubber grip and that helped.
Well, and giving up exams
My pens are really skinny. They're really cheap, too, but I buy them because they're the smoothest I've ever come across. I wouldn't normally skimp on something I use for writing. Anyway, I'll take a look at thicker pens when I'm in town again.
I hate suggesting this, but get thee to an orthopedic doctor with experience in repetitive stress disorders. You have the exact symptoms that I did prior to my having to have carpal tunnel surgery. I was taking an algebra class (Fall 2008) and come late November I could no longer hold a pencil. My typing and other activities were unimpaired. If the doctor thinks that you might have carpal tunnel, they'll probably order a nerve conduction study by a neurologist, which is very unpleasant but gives them an accurate picture if you have damage.
If you catch carpal tunnel early enough, you can treat it with therapy and life style changes. If it's too late, as was my case, it's surgery time. I had to have both wrists operated on.
Most people think carpal tunnel is indicated by pain. It isn't, the main clue is numbness and impairment. Please get checked out soon!
I wish I could remember who it was, but A Famous SF Writer had the methodology of writing three pages a day. When he got to three pages, regardless of how long it took, he moved on to other tasks. I thought that was interesting, certainly not appropriate for all.
You are the second person who's suggested it might be carpal tunnel syndrome. I dismissed it the first time, because there was no pain and I always thought carpal tunnel involved the wrists, but my hand is still off and it's been about four days, now. I'll call my doctor on Monday. Thank you for the suggestion.
Also, surgery. Yikes. I'm sorry you had to go through that.
Yeah, there's a lot of misconceptions about how CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome) manifests. Usually there's no pain, and your wrists feel fine. The actual physical/mechanical problem is in the wrist, but it manifests in the hand because it's a tunnel in your carpals (wrist bones) through which the nerves pass that operate your hand. You have two sets of tendons in your hand, one for making a fist and one for moving your fingers up and down. When you're typing, your fingers use the latter set, when holding a pen or pencil and writing, the former. If that tunnel in your wrist becomes constricted, it chokes off the nerves and can cause permanent nerve damage. For me, and apparently for you, typing is not affected but writing becomes a problem. I would expect that using a knife for food prep is also becoming more difficult for you.
In my case, the surgery wasn't that big of a deal, though no surgery should be taken lightly. A 1" incision in the palm of my hand through which a special scalpel is inserted to cut the ligament that binds the carpals, this relieves the pressure on the carpal nerve tunnel. It's normally done with Beir Block sedation, which is a very light sedation. You're not totally under, but you're unaware of what's happening. The procedure is quick, and you wear a brace to restrict movement of your wrist for two weeks. The stitches come out, you can lose the brace, but you're still under weight limit restrictions for lifting with that hand.
I get the impression that you're a single woman. You might need a friend to stay over for a couple/few days to help you out.
I'm a veteran when it comes to surgery. My carpal tunnel procedures were numbers 9 and 10, followed by getting my nose fixed. I've held steady at eleven for three years now and hopefully that will be it.
For me, I had to have both wrists done. I had a birth defect in my right hand: I was born with no tendons in my thumb. The muscles were there, but they weren't connected to anything. I had five operations on it, the last when I was ten. As a result, I'm mostly left-handed. When my carpal tunnel surgery came around, we went with my right hand first so my dominant hand would be free. It was hell. I think my recovery was more painful because of the previous operations operations on my hand. I was on pain-killers for over a week. My left hand was a cake-walk. Pain meds for a couple of days, and maybe before I went to bed. Total 180.
With luck, and I'm sincerely hoping you can avoid surgery, your recovery will be like my left hand and not much of a problem.
Seriously, man, you seem to know everything about everything. I'm not being snarky, I'm honestly impressed.
I hate the thought of you having to go through so many surgeries. Thank you for sharing so much about your experiences.
My right hand is the problem, and I don't think anything needs to be done for my left. If I do have to take the surgery and brace route, I'll probably be all right because although I'm right handed, I'm pretty comfortable using my left in a lot of situations. I'm very shaking with writing with my left hand but that will get easier with time.
Still, very much hoping to avoid the surgery altogether.
Thank you for the compliment. I'm quite knowledgeable about a number of things and have a passing familiarity with a number of others. Because of my thumb, I owned a copy of Gray's Anatomy before I got out of grade school. My main expertises are photography, computers, and firearms, and certain medical areas, most specifically parathyroid issues, recurrent pneumonias and the immunological possibilities, and carpal tunnel/hand skeletal abnormalities. I was very interested on reading up on polydactyly earlier in the year. I had no problem trawling encyclopedias as a kid and love the occasional deep Wikipedia dive.
Up until 2000, I had had six operations: five on my hand and heart surgery when I was 18 months old. It was a fairly simple corrective procedure that can now frequently be fixed with drugs. Since 2000, five more: tonsils, parathyroid, carpal tunnel x2, and got my nose fixed. I REALLY hope that's the last! But considering the possible complications from my immune disorder, not likely. And quite likely I'll be having cataract surgery in another decade or so.
It used to be that carpal tunnel surgery was a 3-4" long incision on the bottom of your forearm going from just above your wrist down, I had a friend at the police department in the '90s who had to have both wrists done, and it was pretty ugly. I have two 1" scars, and they're not very noticeable. The one on my left is all but invisible, the one on my right is slightly more visible but vastly overshadowed by the other operation scars. Let's just say that my right hand's life line is such that I should buy a katana and start practicing saying "There can be only one!"
Even though your problem manifestation is your right hand, they'll test both, plus it's possible that the problem could be in your elbow or shoulder. Most people don't realize how tremendously complex your shoulder is, you DO NOT want to get shot there!, contrary to many '70s detective shows. I don't write at all with my right, because of the bone/tendon/muscle structure it's uncomfortable/unnatural holding a stylus in that hand. Still, 30 something years of keyboard use had trashed it also. The nerve conduction study reveals all. One thing that my wife mentioned last night is that the neurologist could see by looking at my hands, specifically the fleshy muscle on the palm side of my thumb, that I had nerve problems. But that's something that I really can't relate.
Best of luck, Moira. I really hope you can get treated with therapy and postural changes.