As the days shorten and the nights lengthen, they briefly reach the balance point of the Autumnal Equinox. It’s also the point in the year when I’ve still got the air conditioning on, but it comes on rarely, if at all. Several times now, instead of going barefoot, I’ve put on socks. I’ve gone to long sleeves. The last time I changed my sheets, I put a microfiber blanket on. But, it’s not cold enough yet to change over to the heater. We’ve had rain, and blessed relief from the heat of summer.
Wednesday when I went out to the doctor, it was cool enough that I wore my SomaFM hoodie. Last week, I started having trouble with my right hand. My little and ring fingers, and that whole side of my palm have a “pins and needles” sensation and both fingertips are slightly numb — it’s that sensation you have after your hand or foot has “gone to sleep” — and it starts waking up. Once circulation has returned, the pins and needles sensation goes away. Only I’ve been having that sensation in my hand constantly for over a week now.
One of the occupational hazards of medical transcription is carpal tunnel syndrome, but that is a problem with the median nerve, the nerve that goes to the thumb, index and middle finger. The problem I’m having is with the ulnar nerve, which is called cubital tunnel syndrome, caused by entrapment of the ulnar nerve at the elbow It started Sunday week ago and the numbness and tingling has persisted. I called to get in to see the doctor, and the earliest appointment I could get was yesterday, Wednesday. I got in to see a resident. Fortunately, he was not one of those doctors who minimalizes what you tell them as “all in your head” or who can’t be bothered with listening to your symptoms before they makes their diagnosis. This one was nice and had his head on straight. He sent me for an x-ray of my elbow, and has put a referral for me to see a specialist.
I get my health care from the VA, and my local clinic is run out of Amarillo. When I get referred to a specialist, the first one that has an appointment available is who I’ll go see. If it’s the one in Amarillo, then I’m in for a 130-mile (2-hour) bus ride. I have to wait for them to call me to tell me when my appointment is and whether it’s going to be here or in Amarillo. It’s fairly likely that I’ll have to have some type of surgery. It’s a relatively minor procedure done as an outpatient, but I’m right-hand-dominant. . . with three cats. . . and hair that takes both hands to comb. . . . I hope to goodness I don’t have to have it done in Amarillo.