Sunday, March 28, 2010

Balloon hand

Pain level: 5
Dislocations so far today: none so far
Subluxations so far today: Right shoulder a couple of times, rib on my right side last night
Meds: Etodolac--1 horse-pill, twice a day
Major complaint:  stiffness/pain/swelling in my fingers, hand, and wrist (R>L)

I have balloon hand.  Friday morning I woke up with my right hand and wrist swollen and puffy and overall in a bad mood.  Itchy and tender.  When I tried to bend my fingers, the creases at the joints turned bright white, and I couldn't make a fist because my fingers were too swollen and the skin felt really tight (perhaps because the hand was so swollen?)  I had limited mobility in my right thumb and wrist, too.

Well, guess what?  It's Sunday and I still have balloon hand.  It does get better as the day goes on--the morning being the worst.  By about 6 PM I can make a fist with my right hand.  By 9 PM I can use my right hand with very little pain.  This lasts until around 1 AM when the stiffness/swelling comes right back.  So I have a 4 hour window in which to use my right hand.  Awesome.

Luckily, my left hand is not nearly as bad and I'm mostly used to using my non-dominant hand rather dominantly on occasions when my right arm locks up from some thoratic outlet problem or a trapped nerve, so I have been managing one-handed pretty okay.  Not that it's not crazy-amounts of annoying.

My right hand is also cold to the touch when compared to my left and it sometimes looks more blue/purple than my normal pink.  But I seem to be getting Raynaud's episodes equally in both hands, so maybe it's not a circulation issue.  It also just feels weird.  I think it's because of the swelling, but it doesn't really feel like my hand.  Not in any disconnected sort of way, but it doesn't really feel like a hand.  My fingers don't feel like fingers when I try to move them--it feels more like having a semi-flexible spoon on the end of my right arm.  Like salad tongs almost.  It feels cold and plasticy when I try to move it--even though that probably doesn't make any sense.  It doesn't listen to me--I squeeze and I squeeze but the joints won't close and the skin over my knuckles feels like it's going to split.  I don't like it.  

Here's hoping my new meds start to kick in soon.  Balloon hand is getting really old.  Oh, and M's mom picked me up some therapy putty and showed me some exercises I can do with it.  So that's good.

Hand stiffness using middle finger has measure
Time: 1:56 PM
Can touch forearm? Nope--and ow!
Angle of extension of the center joint of finger: 45º
Angle of extension of the last joint of finger: 110º
Can touch forearm? Not a chance.  Yowch!
Angle of extension of the center joint of finger: 30º
Angle of extension of the last joint of finger: 75º (!!!)
That's bad news.

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