Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Google Search History Makes Me Look Like a Nutcase

Yesterday, my left ring finger felt funky. Like, my-finger-is-so-numb-that-it-feels-like-someone-stitched-a-cadaver-finger-onto-my-hand funky. I attributed the numbness to the nasal-passage-freezing cold snap that is currently punching the East Coast. Why? Because, like a dummy, I went gloveless yesterday. Cold begets numbness, yes?  But then I went inside, warmed up, and was perfectly toasty.  But the ring finger, she stayed numb. Also? In the bright light of my kitchen, I could see that she was yellowish, like my baby boys when they were fresh out of the womb. (Sidenote:  mixed blood types = jaundice and a five-day sentence on the bilirubin blanket).

Though I'm no medical expert, I'm well aware that you don't get jaundice in just one finger.  So then I started freaking out that maybe I was having a heart attack.  But, that's a shooting pain/numbness in your whole arm, not just your ring finger. Usually. "Oh God," I thought, "what if a heart attack can kind of creep up on you sometimes? What if, in fact, I am a victim of a very slow, progressive heart attack preceded by a very slow pain/numbness?"

I may also have thought: "Well, if it's not a heart attack and the flesh is necrotic, I'm pretty sure that I could live without my left ring finger. I'd have to re-learn how to type, though."*

Well, once you're wondering if you're having a heart attack or contemplating surgical removal of a digit, there's only one solution. No, not the E.R., Silly Reader. Google! Within about a minute I found out that this numbness thing is commonly caused by a nerve that has been pinched like an adorable three-year-old's cheeks.  An ulnar nerve, which, courtesy of my seventh grade biology class, I know is in my forearm.

Herm. A pinched nerve? Whatever could've caused a pinched... Oh. Wait.

The day before, I exercised a bit more vigorously on the elliptical than normal. And, I tend to clutch the elliptical's handles like gravity doesn't exist and I will be thrown off the planet if I don't hold on for dear life.  As it happens, this can cause your fingertips to go numb.

So, yeah.  The next time I pounce on the elliptical, I won't hold the handles at all because I am a FREE SPIRIT!  But, mostly, I don't want my finger to go all yellow and numb again.

Hooray for aging!

*This and my crazy Tetris-skillz are full-on proof that I am clearheaded in stressful situations.

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