For several months, I have experienced numbness in my left pinky finger, the left half of my ring finger, and up the left side of my arm. There were two possibilities I was considering might cause this.
1) I thought it could be a side effect to the birth control I’m on, or 2) the bump to the funny bone I got a few months back was worse than I thought.
I decided it was time to go to the doctor to find out. After all, if it is a side effect of my birth control, it could mean something serious (blood clots, stroke, etc.).
Turns out, it’s neither. I have something called cubital tunnel syndrome (you can also find information here and here) a.k.a ulnar neuropathy. Basically, my ulnar nerve is being pinched in my elbow’s cubital tunnel causing the numbness in my arm and fingers.
The first thing my doctor said, when she came in the room, was about this syndrome. She knew immediately what it was and within five minutes I was out of the door with an appointment for an orthopedist.
So, I’m glad it’s not something more serious like a stroke or something. 30 years old, taking birth control, and smoking… It was a very real possibility (even though I do take my asprin every day).
It seems, though, as if my arms, wrists, and hands are bent on throwing every wrench they can into my writing plans. Two years ago, I had a dorsal wrist ganglion in my right wrist. It cause some severe pain as it was sitting on a nerve. Surgery was required.
No writing for me for a while with that one.
Now, my left arm is at odds with me. I don’t know what can be done about it yet, but I really hope I don’t have to have surgery. Maybe I’ll get a brace and be done with it. Something I wear when I’m typing that doesn’t allow for less than a 90 degree angle to my elbow (which aggravates the numbing) and doesn’t add pressure when resting on my desk.
All I know is that it is annoying how much my body conspires against me to prevent any long-term writing. Of course, I suppose there are programs out there which allow writing via a microphone. It just wouldn’t be the same. There’s nothing like the feeling of typing and the instant gratification of seeing your fingers do the talking for you… Then again, the tactile sensation of writing long-hand is pretty addictive too=)
It’s a good thing I’m right handed!