Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Internet Related Injury

For almost 3 months now, I've had a pain in my arm.

Not in my butt, not in my neck, but in my arm. My forearm to be precise. Twixt wrist and elbow.

Being a very brave manly man's man, I didn't even think of going to the doctor until about a month had passed and when I did go, the locum said it was probably a slight muscle strain, possibly being aggravated by my spending too much time on my laptop. WHAT ?? The quack !!

He prescribed some low dose co-codamol, gave me a pat on the head and I left with a lovely raspberry lollypop.

I did little to cut down on the hours I spent on the computer and the pills did nothing except add to the number I take daily so 3 weeks later I went back to the surgery and this time saw a different doc.

She did nothing except listen to my tales of bravery and stoic acceptance of my pain and said that I needed to give it time and that as I was soon to be going to Italy and would be without my laptop, things should be much improved on my return. Ha ! Little did she know me.

Just over two weeks later my laptop and I returned from Italy (!) but due to having a wonderful time and the fact that wi-fi hadn't reached most parts of rural Tuscany, I'd not used it much except to download photos.

Sadly my arm pain was as bad as ever.

So I made another appointment and this afternoon I saw another locum but this time he was a doctor from the old school. He faced me, listened to me and then got up to give my arm and hand an examination, something the first doctor had done, but not the 2nd one. He asked me to grip his finger and when he convinced me he wouldn't fart, I gripped it hard and winced. Then he smiled like a magician about to perform a clever trick and said he knew what the problem was.

I can't remember the exact medical words but basically I'd torn the muscle that runs from my left ring finger right up my arm and torn it where it naturally split in the middle of my forearm.
Seeing the doubt on my face (as after all, tearing a muscle implies using it in the first place and the most exercise my arm gets is doing the dishes) he asked me to bend back my ring finger and when I did so, I went owie, owie, owie as a sharp pain hit my forearm.

He smiled knowingly but still gave me a lollypop for the pain.

He also gave me a prescription for some sort of gel to rub on my forearm 3 times a day and another one for a support bandage to....well put on my arm. Then we talked about Italy for 10 minutes and exchanged stories about our favourite places and in the end I thought about the patients still waiting to see him and said I'd better let him get on with it.

What a nice man.

My pharmacist didn't have the gel in stock so I can't comment on it yet but I did get the support bandage and although I now can't feel my fingers and two of them look like a couple of pork and sage sausages, my forearm does feel a bit better !

He also didn't tell me to cut down on computer use but it may have been implied in his advice to rest my arm and hand as much as possible.

At least that's how I'm interpreting that advice !


Daphne said...

That's how all GPs should be, of course - they should look at you, listen to you and take an interest in you as a person - though this one, as an Italy-lover, was interested anyway!
Many GPs aren't like that but I have often played the role of a patient as part of the GP selection process and they don't get chosen unless they are, these days, and that's a Very Good Thing. And I hope your arm gets better soon.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Did you get that wrist rest I advised you about? I bet you didn't! They work wonders if of course you are computing at a table with a mouse.

Silverback said...

YP, I compute on my laptop from my recliner chair but do a lot of screen scrolling with thumb and index finger.

I think I may have to cut down a bit if I want this to heal.

Debby said...

Hmmmmmmm I'll be good.

Jennyta said...

How about using a mouse on your laptop (easier to scroll)and using it with your other hand? I am left handed but I can use a mouse with my right.

jay said...

Um ... I don't know quite how to put this, but ... um ... having two fingers swell up is not part of the treatment. It isn't therapeutic, and it isn't part of the plan. There. I put it quite nicely after all, didn't I?

In other words, go back and get the right size arm wrap! This one is too small. ;)

Anyway, yes, that's how docs are supposed to be. Lately, I've only met this kind of service in one of the docs at our practice, and all of the consultants I've been sent to see. The shoulder guy is magic. He says 'raise your arm like this', looks at the way the muscles move, and knows what the problem is. I'm seriously impressed!

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