Living with chronic pain
|I want to get my hands on the person who coined the phrase ‘funny bone’. I’d love to pick up my number 3B drawing pencil and poke their ‘funny bone’. I’d be willing to bet the farm, all one-hundred and ninety acres of unharvested red clay, that he or she wouldn’t be laughing. After all, did you laugh the last time you accidentally bumped your funny bone???
Not only is the ‘funny’ part inaccurate, but the ‘bone’ part is wrong too! It’s not your bone that provides the unpleasant tingling sensation which runs from your elbow all the way down into your ring and pinky fingers when you bump it, it’s your nerve. Your ulnar nerve, to be exact.
Your ulnar nerve is located in the back of your shoulder and runs under your armpit, through your elbow, and down into your ring and pinky fingers. Realizing the importance of this nerve was never a concern of mine; until I mysteriously developed two nerve conditions: bilateral Thoracic Outlet Syndrome(T.O.S.) and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. These are fancy ways of saying both my ulnar nerves, (in both arms) are compressed at the shoulder, and in the elbow. In other words, my funny bone always feels like I just bumped it.
Unfortunately, there are other disagreeable symptoms which accompany my nerve condition. At any given moment of the day I can feel pain or discomfort in my neck, shoulder, elbow or entire arm. My arm can feel weak and heavy, or swollen and bruised. These conditions can appear in one or both of my arms. Normal activities which involve lifting my arms above shoulder height, bending my elbow even slightly, pushing or carrying objects weighing over a few pounds, can easily produce pain. Thus, I am in pain every moment of every day. Because every day, I bend my elbow to wash and dry my hair, or lift a forkful of scrambled eggs. Every day I am folding laundry, sweeping the floor, or washing dishes. Making the bed induces a dreadful feeling. Writing, drawing or typing requires physical effort. Playing tennis is out of the question.
I’ve only had to live with T.O.S. for 11 months now. Maybe writing about my frustrations and experiences will help to provide some psychological relief. But in the mean time, I still want to get my hands on that person who coined the phrase ‘funny bone’.