FRAGILE HANDS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Fragile


I was going to try and write, but with the brace, I can’t. I keep trying but get more wrong keys than right. Sorry! Crepuscule will have to wait.

Note: Solved the problem. Removed the brace. The hand really HURTS.

Funny how this works. Just yesterday I was offering advice on pain in hands and wrists from essentially overusing of these critical muscles and nerve bundles.

Our hands are what make it possible to do the small, precise work involved in most of the activities we pursue. Music, typing, knitting, sewing, cooking, pottery. Unlike the long muscles in our legs and arms and even our hearts, our hands (and feet) consider of hundreds of very small, intricately connected muscles that are absolutely essential to complete the ordinary tasks of life.

Typing this, for example.

Last night, my right hand and wrist went into OH MY GOD THAT REALLY HURTS mode. This is not the first time by any means. I’ve been pounding piano keys, typewriters and computers since I was a very small (like four years old) child. I painted, drew. I chop food and I carved wood. I quite literally don’t know what I would do without my hands.

I’ve also been working on a computer since the early 1980s. Constantly. For work and for play. Until very recently, I still had my piano, but I could only play it for maybe five minutes until the pain was so intense I had to stop. I finally sold my piano because it was just sitting there getting dusty. I had to admit my days of playing were finished.

You notice how rarely you see people my age who are concert (classical) pianists? This is because we all develop arthritis in our hands. My piano teacher had it and her older sister could no longer play. Arthur Rubenstein played anyway, but eventually, the pain got to be too much.

When I sold the piano, it was an admission my days of making music were over. For good. Add that to the endless hours on a computer keyboard and my hands are a mess. I have pretty extensive arthritis in both hands and carpal tunnel issues in both wrists. In theory, I could the carpal tunnel fixed, but I’m not really up for surgery these days. Also, that wouldn’t take care of arthritis which is the bigger problem.

Usually, one hand hurts more than the other, for no special reason. Whichever hurts more gets the ice. When I was trying to practice the piano, I had ten minutes of practice followed by half an hour of icing on both hands.

I was like a pitcher who doesn’t want to give up baseball, but my curveball isn’t cutting it and the fastball will never happen again.

Garry asked me what he could do for me.

I said nothing, but there was something I could do for myself. I turned off the computer and put it on the shelf. That’s what I can do. I can give my hands some time off and with a little luck, after a few days or a week, they will be better.

I’ll try to write when I can, but I’m not going to comment on everything and I can’t write a lot. I shouldn’t be doing this, but I don’t know what else to do. Not writing seems too weird.

Take care of your hands. They are fragile. If you push them too hard, they won’t work. No kidding.

Hands are fragile, even if you aren’t old!

32 thoughts on “FRAGILE HANDS – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. We only think of our hands when they start hurting. Have you tried to skip some kinds of food? As much as I adore tomatoes I quit eating them when I developed some pain in my hands. Whether other things (like stretching exercises and yoga) helped too, as soon as I stopped eating my beloved tomatoes the pain slowed down and vanished. I read more on the topic of inflammatory food and sadly tomatoes and any other night shade veggies are bad for joint pain. I miss my tomatoes, but the pain was worrisome since I’m not yet very old:)
    So as you say our hands are fragile, regardless their age.
    Take good care of them and I hope they will thank you!


      • I remember now you mentioning tomatoes in another post. True about humidity, though. Which explains why some people move to Arizona or New Mexico. Quite a stretch but humid weather triggers joint pain. Hope it will pass as it is really painful.


  2. I can relate…I have developed a trigger finger on my right hand and will actually have to wake up in the night to straighten the finger back out. I worked in floral design…corsages, I type, I garden, I paint, I cook, all have taken a toll, and that doesn’t even begin to describe the condition of my poor feet. Ah!


  3. What is it called, voice to text! It’s available on my tablet and I know they are working on it for computers too. I can’t wait, and then we can type without typing. It will be a godsend for sure.


  4. Now, you’re talking a topic a lot of us of a certain age can understand. I have my Mother and my Grandmother’s hands – arthritis in the joints. I’m not complaining because they look bad, but they don’t hurt. So, I’ll accept the fact that my days of hand modeling are over, but currently I can still type without pain. Here’s hoping yours give you a break. 🙂 On a technical note, I couldn’t ‘like’ this post because for some reason I haven’t been able to ‘like’ any post this morning unless it had ‘WordPress’ in the title. Hmmm.


  5. We really undervalue our hands until we can’t use them. I’ve been lucky so far but every now and again a sore hand or wrist or arm will remind me that I’m probably on the computer too much and I try to take a break but I miss it too much to be off for long.


  6. Sometimes doing something different with the inflamed joints brings relief. My neighbor has arthritis in her hands and takes care of it by knitting, crocheting, sewing and typing. It seems to work for her very well. She’s nearly 80. A kind of small muscle cross training.


    • Sometimes that works for me, but this time, I think I just need to give it a few days off. The brace helps, though I have no grip at all. I’ve had problems with my wrists and hands for years. I worked in high tech and it’s an epidemic. I actually got off relatively cheap considering how much pounding my hands have taken. I had some very solid muscles in my wrists and hands. But arthritis has gotten worse. I was supposed to take care of this in 2014, but I wound up getting my heart fixed instead. Now, it’s a bit late for a simple repair I needed four years ago. I felt the heart was more urgent.

      I was right.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry to hear about your hand issues.

    Perhaps you can get a computer that you can talk to and have it type what you want it to say. Phones already can do this for texting…I’m sure there must be similar type software for computers.


  8. Time to take care of those awesome integers we humans call hands… Hope your break gets you back in good shape. I’m trying to practice taking breaks for my hands, back and eyes and have been feeling better because of it! ❤ xo


  9. Wow! It’s amazing how much you blog with arthritic hands! I have arthritis in my knees, and like you said, some days one hurts, some days the other, for no particular reason! Speaking of that, I need to get off my duff and walk around to keep my knees from hurting!


    • I am very good at not using my fingers any more than I have to. I barely move my hands when I type, but I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and chopping — and lifting and hauling post and stuff from shelves and counter and I think that’s what finally did them it. I think I need another brace for the other hand, too. I sure do wish Garry could cook.


  10. A timely post. One of my sisters has literally lost the use of the right hand for good – and this after the latest op. She had carpal tunnel ops twice, I think on both hands, several other ops with ‘used’ bone deformations being ‘reclaimed’ with fractions of other bones, nerves severed and sown back together – I can’t understand a word of her tales and I only know that when SHE complains, it must really hurt like hell-on-fire. She now starts very, very slowly to be able to use that important right hand again. She used to be a fantastic silver flute player, she is a sports fan and did her daily 2km at least, she does therapy and cannot even lift a knife properly to cut up her veggies since January.
    I also have my little complaints but nothing like her. You capable hands don’t look too bad though, so maybe if you care a bit more and write a bit less, they might last you a bit longer? Have you thought of using the ‘dictate’ function more often? All our doctors here in France use those and you walk off with the certificate/letter in your hands when you visit a specialist so that your house-doctor has got the full picture right away. I wouldn’t know if that takes extra equipment and what. But I think it might work a bit like skype or the computers for the blind.
    I wish you many more painFREE days, weeks and months.
    PS: Dare I say it? Garry at the steering wheel = a great photo – he has beautiful hands. Sorry Marilyn, can’t have everything…. at all times…. always! 😉


    • I really can’t write coherently by dictation. I think with my fingers. I have a big brace on my right wrist, but I’m wondering how I’m going to get anything done. I can’t grab and hold anything. Patience and rest.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Coincidence is an odd little thing. Just yesterday, in my Sunday Sparks, I was grousing about the pain in my right hand. My DOMINANT hand. It feels as if I’ve broken something in the side of it, but I can’t imagine how. And the day before I was talking with a sibling, and they were complaining about the growing consistent pain in their arms, hands, and shoulders (they do a lot of heavy lifting with their job). The doctor who examined this sibling said “It’s arthritis. Basically “get used to it.” I had to smile grimly because for the past decade and eight years I’ve dealt with chronic pain in my lower limbs. Now this sibling gets to understand, first hand (no pun intended), just what I’ve meant when I’ve been unable to do something and had to go gulp a pill and lie down.

    And like you, I was early on the typewriter and computer keyboard…long before ergonomics came along. These days I can’t type unless I have a split keyboard, the standard ones? Far too painful.

    So my utmost sympathies dear friend. I’m almost finished with your lovely book…and am saddened a little. It’ll be like finishing a good conversation with someone you really admire. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying it, typos and all 🙂

      These hands have been bad for years. I was going to have arthritis dealt with, but then my heart stuff happened and somewhere along the line, my hands were just not that important … and now, it’s too late. There seems little point in fixing the carpal nerve if the rest of the hands are full of arthritis, so I have to sometimes, pull back and NOT use the computer. And now, signing off …


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