The hand story
Given the number of blog posts I have about the issue of my hands and the work being done here and there to get them fixed I figured I needed a single post that gave the short version of what’s going on so that when somebody asks what the deal is I have a single, more concise post I can direct them to instead of ½ dozen more lengthy ones. So here goes.
Around August or September of 2006 I began to have discomfort and pain in my hands when typing, starting at work and eventually moving home the pain got worse and worse, eventually also exhibiting itself with certain other uses of my hands such as clutching a steering wheel, holding a cell phone to my ear, or even using a screwdriver and has led to me not being able to work since mid February 2007 as a software engineer.
A quick trip to a family practice Dr. Had me walk away thinking I had carpel tunnel syndrome and a trip to hand Dr. Later caused some other ideas to be put forth. Unfortunately the slot first specialist wanted me to see a neurologist, someone who couldn’t see me for three months so instead I began a for a cure with hand Dr. Number two who after numerous nonspecific tests hope that carpel tunnel surgery would fix me. It didn’t.
Unfortunately surgery not only did not fix me but also caused a number of other issues, many of which have gone away due to time and six weeks of physical therapy (which is not a common outcome of this surgery).
The next up was a trip to a rheumatologist, who also couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and later while in Minneapolis I saw the third hand Dr. Who had an idea what was wrong with me, but was later overridden by hand Dr. Number four who I was sent to buy number two who was fresh out of ideas and wanted to get a second local opinion before referring me outside of the network to a place like the mayo clinic.
Hand Dr. Number four thought similarly to number one and thought I should see a neurologist which I finally did after a 4 hour drive (each way) to one in Fargo North Dakota who could see me six weeks earlier than either of the two in Sioux Falls.
Unfortunately the neurologist did not have the brilliant ideas and gave me a prescription for Baclofen in the hopes that I had task-specific focal dystonia of the hand, also known as writer’s cramp and after a couple of weeks on the prescription things have not changed.
So currently I wait to see hand Dr. Number four again to see if he has any new ideas based on what the neurologist said while I also give the prescription a couple more weeks before I call the neurologist and tell them it’s not working and likely see the Sioux Falls neurologist come early August instead of driving to Fargo again.
Please note that the text of the above post was composed entirely using Vista’s speech to text functionality (which should explain some of the weird punctuation) and took just over 15 minutes from start to end, hopefully with some time the software will become more accurate with my use.
On the suggestion of the neurologist I've quit taking the baclofen as it was giving me no positive effects and possibly one or two negative ones.
After another later visit to HD4 I got a couple of injection into my wrists to test the theory that this could be carpel tunnel (since day 1) and that excess scarring from surgery could have caused my problems to come back, unfortunately after a multi-week wait and see they nothing for me.
While waiting to see if the injections might be successful I went to see one of the neurologists in Sioux Falls who I had been scheduled for so many months earlier who suggested a spinal MRI (which was done later that week and was clean) so as to rule out even more and suggested a bone scan and further blood tests just as soon as I re-aggravate my hands plenty again.
While using my hands heavily for things like a coding contest and helping out around the MSDN forums I saw HD#4 again to judge the effectiveness of the previous injections and talk other ideas.
The verdict was that we should wait and see if anything comes out from the bone scan or blood tests before referring me to some kind of upper extremity pain center to go through all of these same tests again, but with people who specialize in cases like mine day in and day out.
After a month of work I've re-aggravated my hands pretty well to the point that I just don't want to use them be it for gaming, typing, coding or driving and have now scheduled the bone scan and blood tests for September 12th.