Today as I cleaned the bathrooms of what is my home for the next several months, headphones jammed tightly into my ear canals, loud and throbbing heavy metal coursing within, I began pumping my fists in the air in time with music, singing alongside the vocalist in my best guteral growl. As I did, Trixie nearly did a backflip in fear, running out of her litter box, and into the living room where she did one of those cartoon moves, running in place for a moment as she slipped on the hardwood floors trying to get away. Once she got ahold of herself, she bolted for the safety of her tri-tunnel, finding a comfortable spot to catch her breath whlie making sure I wasn’t coming to kill her or something. If I’d had the whole thing on video it’d be Dodo viral for sure. (Unrelated: Not sure what it is about that first sentence, but I feel like there’s a that’s-what-she-said joke in there somewhere.)
Oh, the power of these hands! (Insert maniacal laugh here.)
My hands are small, and mapped with super fat blue veins that my “new” sister was happy to blame someone for when we all found one another after 43 years. (And that, my friends, is what we call a teaser – another blog, for another day. Guess you’ll have to follow along so you don’t miss out on the super cool story.)
I very clearly remember tracing the plump veins on my mother’s hand as a child, and noticing the roadways of blood dispersing as I ran my finger over them, and bouncing back as I continued. I told her she had the hands of an old lady. I was young – being less uncouth than merely observant, and as she pulled her hand from mine, placing one over the other on her lap beneath the table, I knew I had embarrased her. And so, of course, the universe handed out her karma – literally, as I grew to inheret the robust blue veins. As a result, I didn’t put much love into them, continually reiterating the old-lady-hands theory in my head. Incidentally, new sister Lynda was the one to put this into perspective, reminding me that our veins are a sign of a strong and healthy cardiovascular system. Yeah, I could get behind that reframe, and I took it.
The last few years my hands have been in a good amount of pain – mostly, I believed, related to my job. I was slinging drinks, carrying plates and counting money for near six years – and carpal tunnel quickly became a thing. I worked with seasoned veterans – some going on 40 years in the industry, and I just gotta say, I don’t know how the hell they do it. But for my part? After a blood panel confirmed I was free of RA, Lupus, or a myriad of other things that may cause the pain, I found the continuation (and my hyper-obsession) of it to be more a valid reason to leave my job – among, as y’all know those “other” reasons I’ve written about.
But now? Here I am a few months later, decidedly not working in hospitality, yet finding myself with crippling pain, frequently and unexpectedly shooting from my wrists and thumbs. Yesterday? I nearly dropped my French press when my grip on the handle caused my pain receptors to freak the fuck out. Yeah, not cool.
So, I took care of what I could, detailing all of my symptoms for my Doctor, hoping for a quick answer and easy fix. And Dr. Web (M.D.) came through – offering me the same damn information my IRL Doc gave me last year, and with the same advice: Splints, activity modification, and/or Corticosteriod shots. And while I have for sure altered my activity since leaving Maxwells, neither a splint or steroid shot seem remotely necessary at this point. Not to mention that the ever-trusted interwebs had lots of PT ideas for these types of injuries.
I’ve started in with therapuetic motions the last several days, as well as practicing something else, with less online fanfare: Gratitude. I mean, pain sucks, but why am only finding value in my hands when their usefulness is challenged? My paws are far more than old-lady-hands, they are my livelihood – and always have been. From the moment I wake up, my hands are allowing me to move throughout my day – to drink my coffee, wash my hair, grip the steering wheel of my car. But when they don’t work? I suddenly notice all that I need them for.
So in addition to working on my hands physically, I’m also working on ’em internally. Because, why not? I am grateful for my hands – and in pain I’ve come to be aware of all of they do and have done for me. Cheesy? Sure, but doesn’t make it any less true.
And as far as Trix goes? I scared the absolute shit out of her half an hour ago and now we’re playing hide-n-seek together. Wouldn’t it be cool if everything could be solved so quickly, sans hitching a ride with the drama llama?