Hand Trouble

Filed in Out of Our Head, Point of View by on January 25, 2016 1 Comment


I wish I could tell you that I’ve had a productive weekend of knitting here in Maryland, where the blizzard called Jonas recently raged up the coast, effectively shutting us in. We can only trudge through 2.5 feet of snow to get off our street. Similarly, I’ve knitted only a few rounds on my current project and it feels about the same. I’m back to having hand issues, with my right hand buzzing all the time with nerve irritation. I know why, and I know some of what to do.

My doc is not inclined to surgery, so that’s not an option at this point. He’s prescribed braces night and day and NSAIDs. Thank goodness for those. They help, but the tradeoff is not sleeping well because of the night braces. The mind is a battleground when you’re tired and you have to choose between tossing and turning all night long and your hands feeling only somewhat better during the day.

I think it would be weirdly easier if there was serious, sudden injury that caused real pain. Then I could mentally cross the divide and just follow doctor’s orders. Because it’s more an annoying overuse injury (a lifetime of knitting, keyboard use, lugging heavy cameras around, piano and viola playing, etc. combined with sleeping with my arms and wrists bent like a praying mantis), I make do with numb fingers and that buzzing sensation. The daytime wrist brace restricts finger movement so much that knitting is incredibly slow and not fun at all. Not even a little bit. It’s hard to pick up and want to do something that is frustrating at best.

Anyway, this is not meant to be just a complaining rant. Lots of people knit with challenges worse than my buzzing nerves. The good news is that there is plenty I can do, and I’m making time to do it. I’m working on changing the way I design, and that has been a satisfying mental challenge for me. Usually I just make it up as I go, literally writing the pattern as I knit the sample. A better way for production and creating sellable patterns is to plan ahead and write the pattern before the sample is even on the needles. This goes against how my brain naturally works, but it’s been fun to learn the skills. It calls on experiences I’ve had previously with tech editing and writing up my designs from the samples. It’s both easier and harder. Just like wearing my braces, right?

In addition, I’m organizing photo files and catching up on business accounting. I’m going through my yarn stash and purging; I love rearranging by color and refreshing what’s on display. And every day I do those few rounds, learning stitch by stitch to adjust my movements for knitting with the brace. It’s part of life to have to adjust to change, and as much as I’ve been avoiding it, it looks to be permanent this time.


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