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My hands

My hands during trauma, stitches and patches included

During the summer of 2019 while doing pullups on the outdoor structure of our apartment complex in Berkeley I started to have some mild pain in the forearm and the right hand. I was trying some odd moves while bare hands or wearing gardening gloves. Not a wise beginning. I brushed off the initial pain and put it on the fact that I was new to calisthenics and that a few bumps would happen. The forearm pain is still there, often the result of an obvious strenuous bar-based activity but that's not the point here. I started to notice growths on my right-hand middle and 3rd fingers.

Lots of online research later and with the wet bay area winter Sharon and I started to develop chilblains. It took us a while to identify the obvious. I thought that it was normal to have red hands when it's cold... Sharon broke the stoic spell. We bought gloves for the dishes and started to pay more attention to our hands. My weird bumps were still there and with the chilblains combined with my excessive biking, it didn't get better.

During the winter I reached out to my doctor. Photos were not helpful, so I got in for an exam. Inconclusive. Got referred to a hand specialist that thought this could be some benign tumors. Then a hand surgeon for a second opinion. Nobody was able to say what it was.

I was offered to surgically remove to bumps. And then get a biopsy of the removed tissue. The bumps were not getting bigger or smaller. New ones ended up appearing until a couple of weeks before surgery.

In late spring 2020, I went in and got my bumps excised. Quick job. In less than 4 hours I was in and out of the Kaiser Medical Center of Richmond.

2 weeks later, the biopsy came back from the dermatology department. It's just a granuloma annulare... a fairly common, definitely benign condition. The dermatologist who announced this to me was mildly bummed that I did get the chance to ask her before because she could have clearly identified the granuloma without needing to bounce me around the hand surgery specialist and cut my hand open.

I recovered from surgery during the summer. Lots of one handed showers and starring at the stitches like hamlet to his skull.

In spring 2021, I got into the idea of wood carving. Spoons more specifically. After a few weeks of pleasant stoic agony with one knife, I decided to get a Japanese gouge from Ida Tool to sculpt nicer spoon bowls. A couple of days after the purchase I managed to sculpt a hole a the base of my left thumb.

3 stitches that ended up being a bigger pain than the 30ish from the year before. Scar tissue buildup required a year of massaging, and scrapping to get to an acceptable state. It still feels noticeably different. Less mobile, stiffer.

Since then I managed to stubbed 2 toes. Both broken. My big toe on the left was an absolute pain. Turns out I broke it on 2 sides of the same joint. Pathetic injury. I slammed my foot in a kitchen cabinet while enraged by my baby pushing stuff off the counter. It took half a year for me to get an X-Ray and a full year for the toe to get back to normal-ish size. It flares up randomly and will forever be shitty.

We all learn to deal with the realities of being a human body through injuries and conditions. All of my prior health mishaps were either too long ago or not that severe. This recent journey with my hands and entering my 30s brought the realization that wear and tear will add up, injuries or not. P

Pain is unavoidable. Accidents happen. I'm learning slowly accepting to not wait for all of my health wishes to miraculously come true. They won't. My hands will never feel great again. Most of my misery shed light on my inability to let myself recover. To truly rest and accept finitude. A journey that will resume the next time something happens... my fault or not.

← Index / Published on 2023-04-10