Hands In Peril

Posted on April 01 2020

Hands In Peril


I knew this was going to happen one day. I just thought it’d be in ten, maybe twenty years from now. Wishful thinking, I guess. After seeing a wrist specialist, I’ve been diagnosed with tendonitis in my wrist, forearm, and fingers…although the finger version has a different name. Can’t remember what at the moment. I’ve been experiencing slight soreness in both of my wrists for a few months now, and even though the pain was never extreme, I knew it’d be better to take care of it sooner rather than later. I’m glad I did because although I’m a likely candidate for both arthritis and carpal tunnel, so far, I have neither. So relieved!

Even though the situation isn’t all that dire (I can keep making my style of art for years to come as long as I do regular stretch routines and physical therapy), it’s still a strange sensation to have your body at war with your happiness. I need art. I need ridiculously meticulous art. It’s my meditation, my calm, and a big chunk of my heart…but it’s also straining my body and forcing it into pain I shouldn’t be experiencing for a few more decades. I already see a chiropractor for my neck and back (once again caused by my creative process), and now my hands are demanding just as much specialized help. I wish my body and my art could just get along, even just for a little bit longer. After all, I’m only 34.

I’m being a bit whiney. When I think of other professionals, like athletes, I realize other passions out there require even more from our bodies. Guaranteeing plenty of injuries, sports are an especially short-lived pursuit because at some point, the body just can’t give any more. I wonder how athletes cope knowing that something they’ve offered so much time and effort just won’t be experienced for the latter half of their lives.

I know I’m not alone and there are plenty of other people grappling with a similar dilemma. Anyone have any advice? Solutions? Counsel? I’d love to hear it all. In the meantime, I’m going to diligently stretch my fingers, rotate my wrists in little circles, wear my brace, dunk my hands in warm and then cold water, and keep seeing my physical therapist twice a week…because I need my art.

NEW UPDATE: I asked my physical therapist bluntly how long I had before my hands can’t do this anymore. Five years? Ten? Twenty? He said as long as I took my physical therapy seriously and integrated my stretches into my daily routine, I could do this for the rest of my life. I was overjoyed!


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