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[IPk] Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

While we're on the topic of hand stuff....
I have had carpal tunnel syndrome since 1999.  I had the surgery on my right
hand in the summer of 1999, but still sleep with a brace on my left hand in
order to stave off having the surgery on that one.  I have always considered
myself an inquisitive patient and I did a lot of reading on complications in
the first few years I had diabetes, just so I'd understand the mechanisms by
which higher-than-good blood sugars might mess me up.  I was shocked to learn
from my orthopedist that though people with type 1 are not necessarily more
likely to get CTS, they are more likely to need the surgery to correct it:
i.e., some non-diabetics whose CTS is caught early may find the symptoms go
away with the brace and some physical therapy.  Meanwhile I had the surgery
within 4 months of my initial contact with a physician about the horrible
tingling and general uselessness that had begun to limit my capabilities with
my right hand.  I'm quite right-handed, so not using my right hand for stuff
was not really an easy option.

Anyway, I had the surgery on my right hand in the summer I turned 18 and it
was a year before I could do a push-up again.  The surgery took 7 minutes, but
it took a lot longer than my doctor had advised me in order for my to have all
my functionality back.  I asked several people who'd had the same surgery how
long it took for them to be be back to normal and heard I wasn't really
lagging behind or healing slowly.  My advice to anyone suffering with CTS at
the "moderate" stage (there are 3 stages: mild, moderate, and severe) is get
it fixed soon but don't expect a miracle-cure.  If you have "mild" CTS, watch
out for it getting worse but wear the brace as long as you can.

My assessment: carpal tunnel is a b***ch, but there's no reason to put up with
it so long you end up effectively crippled.  Also, don't believe people
telling you you can't have it if you think you might.  I was 17 when my
symptoms started and my parents wouldn't make an appointment for me to see a
doctor until I dropped a cup of hot coffee.  From the obscene amounts of
typing involved in my undergraduate liberal arts education and my never having
had a proper typing class I probably gave it to myself more than I "got" it,
but that didn't make it any less real or the eventual relief of the surgery
(once I was healed) any less welcome.

So there! :p

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