I’ve learned 2 things this week: (1) There is something wrong with my right arm and hand, and (2) I can be surprisingly ambidextrous when the situation demands (evidence: see sad hand below). The problem — a brand new one — came on very suddenly about 3 weeks ago. I suddenly started having serious pain in my arm, the area between my wrist and my elbow. The pain was a deep-down throbbing kind of pain, which I would feel most strongly at night. In the morning, that pain would shift position and concentrate in, of all places, the back of my hand. My arm was also as weak as a kitten. Then for a couple of days, all seemed OK again. And now, things are back to being not OK.
I now have an area on my thumb that is numb (right near the base of my thumb), and my whole hand feels … funny. It is very weak, as in, I can’t screw the top off of a bottle of soda weak. There is still this deep ache in my forearm, and last night my shoulder started aching as well. The best way to describe the shoulder pain is that it felt dislocated.
And I’m not sure if the following is related, but last week, when I was doing some yard work, my index finger suddenly started feeling swollen, hot, ichy. I looked at it, and was startled to see a big, pulsating blue vein at the surface, looking as if it were about to pop. In panic mode (I mean, seriously, what is this?!), I found a couple of aspirin and quickly washed them down with water, thinking that maybe I had a blood clot in my finger (do fingers even get blood clots?). The vein and swelling and pain did eventually dissipate in the course of an hour or two, but there was this bruise-like discoloration that lasted a day or so on my finger.
But back to my arm. Something is bad wrong. Of course, the first thing any computer-literate person does in this kind of situation is to google the hell out of key words, right? If I were a betting person, I’d say that I have carpal tunnel syndrome. Evidence weighing in that direction include the fact that I have pain mostly at night, that the pain is in my forearm. Other facts seem inconsistent with CTS: its quick onset (can it really make an appearance, out of the blue, overnight?), the fact that no fingers other than my thumb are involved, and the motions that are supposed to be painful are ones that I can do without any difficulty (raising the thumb above the plane of the hand, touching thumb to pinky finger, pressing the back sides of the hands together with elbows on the table). Also, I’ve experienced some twitching of muscles in my upper arm area, which I don’t think is associated with CTS. In any case, I don’t think that my arm situation has anything to do with MS — the fact that there is this associated muscular(?) pain is inconsistent with what I know about MS symptoms.
I’m currently enroute back to Texas, to accompany StarMan in a road trip back to the west coast, so I’ll have an additional 4 days or so to access the situation. If at the conclusion of this trip, my arm is the limp dishrag that it is now, then an unplanned doctor appointment will be one of next week’s activities.