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Update from the Hand

This ordeal has been the most frustrating thing I have had to deal with in a long, long, time.

Sure, there was the 1986 Browns/Broncos playoff game.

That sucked.

The 1987 Browns/Broncos playoff game.

That really sucked.

The 1989 Browns/Broncos playoff game. That was just depressing.

But this numb hand/arm/back pain thing is just plain evil.

Last week I was told by my family doctor that he was scheduling a “nerve test” for me. From what I gather this is where they put electrodes on my hand and zap me like the guy in the lab test in Ghostbusters. Really looking forward to that. The scheduling can take anywhere from 3-10 days and we’re nearing the 10 day mark as we wait on insurance to decide if I REALLY need this nerve test. I suppose they are deciding if I should just suck it up and deal with it.

It’s maddening. By now I have lost nearly all feeling in my right index finger. It’s just a digit at this point. I still feel like this is originating from my back or spine. Xrays were negative. So I sit and wait and refrain from typing as much as I can which for a guy who earns his coin sitting at a desk and writing an editing all day …kind of a problem, no?

I have so many things I’d like to be talking about with all of you. Dark Souls has owned my life the past week.

But for now, I’m still on the DL.

Hopefully this gets resolved soon.

Oh– and Happy Halloween.

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Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

16 thoughts to “Update from the Hand”

  1. I hope you are able to get this sorted out. Mainly for your own peace of mind. Plus I miss reading your stuff.

    Haven’t us Browns fans suffered enough?

  2. I know where you’re coming from. For 6 months I had a sciatica so bad I couldn’t sit down for more than 15 minutes before I had shooting pains down my leg. It was brutal. I hope you can get your condition resolved more quickly than that.

  3. but there are 2 nerve tests, and they might make you do both. the first is the electrode test. in the second one they kind of use you like a pin cushion and stick some needles in you.. if the electrode test is inconclusive, or doesn’t give enough information, the needle test will give the doctor all the information he/she needs to make a diagnoses

  4. Was just recently diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. Dr. has me in special inserts and now that I’m doing that the pain is worse than anything I was dealing with before I went in to see the Dr.

    It’s like walking with a golf ball under the arch of your foot. 6 hours on my feet and I’m DONE.

    Good thing I’m running around on cement floors 8+ hours a day for work.

    Hope they figure out what’s up with you and the recovery time/treatment involved doesn’t require 6 months of pain worse than it was before you went in to start seeing it get better.

  5. Hi Bill,

    I had very similary symptoms to you earlier this year. Certainly what I had may be something completely different to what you have. I’m no doctor. In my case my problems were probably due to years of poor posture, crappy ergonomics at work combined with heavy computer use, lousy fitness and a family history of back problems.

    After a couple of weeks of shooting pain down my right arm, constant pins-and-needles and numbness on the top of my forearm and certain fingers I had a CT scan of my neck. This showed some spinal disc degeneration and restrictions of certain foramen, which are the holes in the spine the nerves pass through on their way to the periphery of the body. The doctor thought these were likely pinching at least one nerve, causing ongoing inflammation around the nerve and my symptoms.

    Armed with the CT scans I went into physiotherapy once a week. Initially the aim was to remove the pressure on the nerve by finding positions which I could work and sleep in which stopped the pain, and which allowed the inflammation to die down. Initially these were quite convoluted, but I could use a bunch of pillows to lock my head and neck into a position in which I could sleep comfortably. I also got this nifty home neck-traction device I could hang off a door at home and which I used a couple of times a day to reduce the pressure on the nerves.

    Slowly but surely the pain reduced, the degree of freedom of movement increased and the numbness reversed. The physio also started working on massage and exercises for my neck and shoulder muscles to better support the neck, and to improve my posture so that the pain would be less likely to re-occur.

    In my case I was sleeping better after a week, and was lucky to feel completely better after two months. I’m still watching the position of my spine, and stretching out my upper back and neck. I now use the mouse at work with my left hand to mix thing up, and try to minimise the amount of typing I have to do to reduce the amount of time I spend in one position at the computer.

    I was surprised how effective the physiotherapy was, but there seems to be a reasonable anatomical and physiological justification for how it works.

    I hope that you get a diagnosis soon and that you make a swift recovery.

  6. Bill, long time reader and lurker here!

    For what it’s worth, i had a similar experience a couple of years ago.

    I woke up one morning with a strange sensation in my right arm and the vague feeling that it just didn’t feel right. This developed over the day into tingling and numbness in my lower arm, all the way up to my right shoulder, plus the bottom half of my palm, my little finger, and the bottom half of my 4th finger.

    This went on for several months – sometimes it would go away for a few days but it would always come back and was usually also accompanied by some form of neck pain. Anyways, long story short, it did eventually dissipate, along with the neck pain after several months of worry.

    Turns out i’d done something to my neck that was causing overstimulation to the ulnar nerve running down the underside of the arm. This must have eventually healed itself. Pure speculation, but you might have something similar that is pressing on one the nerves that supplies the upper side of your arm (maybe radial nerve?).

  7. Hang in there Bill, it’ll get better. Sucks about the index finger though. A few years back I had an issue with nueropathy in the pinky and side of my right hand and the outside of the heel of my right foot. The hand eventually got better from being able to use it. My foot most likely never will, no muscles to use there. Anyway,that not exactly encouraging I guess.

    And on a side note, I’m a bit partial to “The Shot” myself. I don’t remember the drive real well other than to this day most of my family swear the field goal was wide. The fumble was never to he spoken of in my house.

  8. Best of luck to you, Bill. Hope they get that sorted out soon.

    As far as your Browns go, the only comfort I can offer is that nobody thought my Saints would ever amount to much. South Park even lampooned them. One of the more surreal experiences in my life was watching them win it all a couple years ago. If they can do it. . .

  9. Hi Bill,

    Just a thought: Maybe get yourself some speech recognition software? It can be frustrating to use and of course much slower than typing, but with a bit of patience you can get results.

    I’m off to a chiropractor today for lower-back pain…. Here’s hoping we both get better real soon!

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