Mm, yes, nothing like a well-oiled, frequently-updated website!
I have been out of the art game after a decent start in 2020, since my carpal tunnel syndrome had taken a turn for the worse. CTS is used as a joke so often these days that it may seem like I’m making a joke too, but no: I legitimately have been artistically incapacitated for months. Covid-19 afforded me a huge chunk of time to be alone and create, but that was not what happened. Thank goodness for the support and entertainment afforded by my wife and kid during the past 6 months!
Instead what I got was months of being stuck in my own head. I could not draw, or write, or play piano, or even play video games without constant, dull-to-intense pain in my wrists and fingers. CPT is like having a zip-tie pulled tight where you would wear a wristwatch. For me, it meant lots of compounding factors: Wrist pain, finger pain, random feelings of ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ or ‘electric shock’ in the fingertips, dropping things like pens, eating utensils, tools. Any exercise that would put pressure on my wrists or relied upon me holding myself up was out of the question; this cut out biking, pushups, pullups, or anything like throwing a frisbee or a ball.
In short, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sucks really badly. You never realize how much you use your hands until everything has a ‘pain cost’ associated with it. Once my wife noticed that I was complaining of pain a lot when I cracked her back, she encouraged me to do some exercise to improve my wrist strength. I did a few minutes of this exercise, which was essentially a push-up where you rocked back and forth, and the pain was absolutely excruciating. I tried to write on paper, and the results looked like that of an 80 year old; I was terrified.
Three years later, after an unsuccessful Workman’s Comp claim (apparently typing all day for years will NOT cause CTS according to the WC Doctor who denied my case), some pain management, and a few tests, I had surgery on my right wrist. The day after, I could wiggle my fingers, and even though I was still recovering, I could tell that IT HAD WORKED. The random pain blips were gone. I didn’t drop things. I could play piano and my fingers actually went were I told them to go. It was glorious.
That’s where I am today. That procedure was a month ago, and my hand is feeling better all the time. I still have to go easy on it for a while, so I will not be creating new work for another month or so. I already made things worse two weeks post-surgery by trying to practice piano for an hour a day; that lasted for 2 days until my hand got swollen again from overuse. Thus I am going to ‘take it easy’ with the knowledge that I will be back in front of a drawing desk or keyboard in prime condition.
I know there are few, if any, regular readers of godrod.org; after all, I have not been keeping up with the site very well. I will make an effort to change that. Having my hand back feels like a near-death experience with less of the mess. I thought my creative life was over, and I was worried it would lead to a spiral of bad thoughts that I would have difficulty recovering from. At this point though, I plan on adding more art as I make it, and possibly branching out into music and other creative pursuits. The surgery was a new lease on life and I plan on taking full advantage!
Thanks for reading. If your hands hurt, and you joke that you have CTS, remember that that joke may have some truth to it. Don’t be afraid to get it checked out like I did. See you again real soon!