May 31, 2004

Coming out of the tunnel

So, anyway, last saturday afternoon I tilled the soil and planted the garden. By the time I'd finished I was sweaty and dehydrated and light-headed. I drank a few glasses of water, ate something and relaxed until Norm came by to pick me up for the Bluefish game.

By the evening -- and especially after dark -- the ballpark was cold and windy with a misty rain - and me with no sweater or jacket. B-r-r-r-r. Norm had ice cream while I sipped coffee and hot chocolate. The Bluefish lost to the Pennsylvania Road Warriors (they don't actually have a ballpark yet and spend the entire season on the road and never actually set foot in Pennsylvania) by one run.

At about midnight I was sitting at my computer and got up (to do something or other) and I noticed that my left arm had fallen asleep. It was pretty numb and I couldn't lift my wrist or control my elbow movements very well. I waited for the pins and needles to set in. They never did.

Uh-oh. What the hell is this?!

By the time I went to bed, at about 2am, there had been no change. Hopefully it would "wake up" while I was asleep and everything would be all right.

Sunday morning comes and there's still no change. I can't tell ya how long it took to get dressed - especially trying to tie my bootlaces.

Here's some of what it was like:
When I held my left arm loosely out in front me, bent at the elbow and palm-side down, I could not lift my wrist. I could curl my fingers in but couldn't make a tight fist.
When I turned my hand over to palm-side up, I could make a tight fist. But, then I tried to extended my fingers to flatten everything into a straight line. As I straightened my fingers my wrist would be drawn up until my straightened hand was at about a 45 degree angle to my forearm. The muscles on the back of hand and forearm were useless.

If I strained the muscles while gardening, then how come I didn't have any pain or discomfort? I was tired and felt drained afterward, but there was no achiness.
Did I have a heart attack? I felt no sensations of anything up 'til the moment I'd noticed that arm was "asleep". I took an aspirin anyway.

Monday morning. No change. Well, there was a very slight change, but nothing really to speak of. I was worried that I couldn't drive -- especially since I don't have power steering.
But I got into the truck turned the steering wheel. For some reason I had no trouble using my left arm to steer; just grasp and hold the wheel, and pushing up and pulling down were a cinch.

However, once I got to work, the more complex movements required for running the press in the way that I'm used to was out of the question. Essentially I was a one-armed pressman for most of last week.

As the days went by my arm came further and further back to life. Now, here I am, nine days later and it's almost normal. I can lift my wrist and control (almost) every little movement, but there's still a residual numbness that throws my hand in unexpected directions now and then.

For the past two weeks I've been experiencing a feeling I haven't felt in a while: hunger. While I used to get by eating one little meal a day ("get by" meaning "waste away"), I've had hunger pains constantly for the past ten days to a week. But, when I tried to eat, I couldn't. I'd get a bites in and it was a struggle. I had no energy or patience to eat, and the hunger pains would continue.

So, I've forced myself back into the habit of eating a few times a day to stave off the starvation and emaciation. Drinking orange juice and ovaltine for vitamins and minerals, eating meat (I made two strip steaks the other night, ate them both and was STILL hungry) and peanuts for protein, but I gotta eat more; I deperately need calories calories and more calories.

I went out to dinner with my family last night and I forced myself to eat a six coarse meal.
Seafood chower, salad, strip steak, two stuffed jumbo shrimp, baked potato, green and yellow mixed squash. Mmmmmm.
(The steak was a bit tough, so I took most it home in a doggie bag.)

As I sat at my computer late last night I actually felt satisfied. I wasn't hungry and I felt like I had some energy again. I felt normal.

Today I had some breakfast (eggs, english muffin, o.j.), went out for a long walk (too cold today to try to ride the bike), had some lunch (the leftover steak and a small frozen pizza), did some laundry...

Maybe the hunger pains et al were the pins and needles and I'm finally waking up.

Posted by Tuning Spork at May 31, 2004 04:40 PM

I have no idea, other than that the body does some odd things at times when it's trying to tell you that you need to take better care of it.

Posted by: Ted at June 1, 2004 07:02 AM

It sounds like you had a stroke. Good.

Posted by: David at June 1, 2004 03:57 PM

Indeed it do, and I'm finally listening. :)

Beat it, you. Go on, scat!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at June 1, 2004 07:21 PM
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