And then my arm went numb. Like a lobster.

Ok, so it would appear that I did not get salmonella, E.coli, or Dengue Fever from the Great Chicken Hoopla of 2012. Let’s hope that this trend continues because I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that E. coli makes your hair fall out. Or something. I’ve got enough things to deal with right now. I don’t need baldness.

Yea, I’ve got enough to deal with right now – like the fact that my left hand and arm have been frequently and randomly going numb. When it’s not numb, it’s really tingly, but not tingly in that, “Ooo, that’s pleasantly tingly; keep doing that” kind of way. No. It’s tingly in that “I must have thought I was a lobster in my sleep or something because I slept with both of my arms tucked behind my head and neck and now they’re asleep and the mother f*ckers are being stabbed by a billion invisible needles!!!!! Damn you, lobsters!!!” kind of way.

I think the most important lesson we can take from that above segment is that I think that lobsters sleep in a really cool and “popular” kind of reclined position with their claws behind their little heads like a teen heartthrob in a field of daisies looking up at cloud animals.

Obviously, my grip on the realities of aquatic creatures is not my biggest problem. That would be the numbness. Which I went to the doctor about on Friday. Yea, I know. I was gonna write about it on Friday but I didn’t. Then I was gonna write about it on Saturday and Sunday, but I was really lazy and posted an awesome picture of Kim Jung Un on a unicorn (because they apparently have a stronghold in North Korea) and videos of a teacup pig bounding down the stairs and into a bowl of oatmeal. You’re welcome.

Then I was gonna write about it Monday but was too worked up about the Toys for Tots thing to focus. Yea. 3 days later. And yesterday was obviously going to be about how on Monday night, my dinner tried to murder me. Duh. So here is the update on my numb appendage, like 4 days late. I’m sorry, I’m not sorry.

So I learned a lot of new things last week. Apparently, when you call your doctor’s office and tell them that you’re experiencing numbness in your appendages, they get all weird and panicky and transfer you directly to a nurse. So, if you don’t like doing the touch-tone menu crap, there’s a little tidbit for you.

RECEPTIONIST: Ma’am. Ma’am? Are you still there ma’am. Merciful heavens! Ma’am!!!

ME: What? What?  I dropped my phone. Jeez.

RECEPTIONIST: Ma’am, in your predicament, you can’t leave me on the line like that. It frightened me. I thought I was going to have to call 9-1-1.

ME: Well it’s not very easy to hold a phone with a numb hand, now is it?

RECEPTIONIST: You could use your other hand.

Smartass. So she put me right through to the nurse, who asked me a barrage of questions ranging from “Do you have a warm, pulsation in your legs?” to “Have you done anything recently that could have severed a nerve in your shoulder?” Yep to both, lady. Because not only do my legs pulse like a super bass, but I also regularly engage in spirited rounds of Red Rover with burly, arm-wrenching man-adults. Incidentally, my arm is laying on the floor next to me. Could that be why it’s numb?

I know she was just doing her job, which is why I didn’t say any of those things to her but instead answered her questions politely and “to the best of my abilities,” which has always made me feel like they expect us to not know what’s going on. “Where do I hurt? Well, it’s hard to say. Is this my thyroid? No? It’s my pinkie? Oh, well it hurts there.”

So she scheduled an appointment with a doctor and I went. 

First of all, this doctor was not my usual primary care guy. He was not Indian and he had this “Don’t call me doctor, call me Tom” kind of vibe about him. Two strikes against you, sir. I’m not racist, for the record, it’s just that all of my Indian friends make me look like an idiot with how smart they are, which I assume would make them good doctors. So the fact that my doctor is Indian is a point of pride for me because he is very, very smart. And no, I’m not stereotyping. We had a lovely chat.

Another thing about telling a doctor that your hand and arm are numb when you are a non-smoker who is under the age of 50? They think you’re either faking it or crazy. After a series of “nerve” tests, which I’m still convinced was just an excuse to get me down to my tank top, I was told that there was nothing wrong with me.

ME: But my hand and arm go numb a lot, with no apparent cause.

DOCTOR: I’m really sorry about that, but medically, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with you. I guess if you really want to press forward with this I could refer you to a neurologist.

ME: I would like to press forward with it. My hand and arm are numb. That is, to me, indicative that there is something wrong with me.  

DOCTOR: Um…. Let me go talk to my attending doctor and see if he has any suggestions.

ME: Please do.

…..ten minutes of Angry Birds later…….

DOCTOR: Ok, so my attending doctor can’t think of anything off the top of his head, but we’re going to run some tests.

ME: What kind of tests?

DOCTOR: We’re going to do a full blood panel to check to see if there’s any evidence in the blood of something systemic that might be causing the numbness. And a pregnancy test.

ME: Oh, ok. That sounds like a – wait. A pregnancy test? Do fetuses often cause numb appendages?

DOCTOR: Maybe. Are you sure that it’s not all in your head?

Ok, Kara, and all you other vicarious livers, before you get your pajama pants in a bunch, I AM NOT PREGNANT. Sorry. Yea, I’m sure my doctor is as bummed as you.

And my blood-work was pristine. PRISTINE. As far as I can tell, they just gave me a pregnancy test to determine whether it was hormones making me a crazy lady or if that was my general state of equilibrium. So it’s onto the neurologist?

Not quite. Doctor Wunderkin told me to set up an appointment with my primary doc in two weeks to “see if it resolves on its own.” Because nothing says “I think you’re a crazy hypochondriac” quite like dick-teasing a person by telling them you’re gonna refer them to a neurologist and then telling them to wait two weeks to see if it “clears up” like a pimple. Oh, and take an aspirin. 
Maybe he thought that I, like certain crazy people, would skip the appointment with my PCP because I’d been caught in my own web of lies. Sorry Dr. “Call me Paul,” I’ve got a problem and you don’t believe me, which is the only crazy thing about this. Fine. I’m better off with my super-genius regular doctor anyways. He’s way smarter than you, sir.

I’m anxious to hear what my doctor thinks and to have an actual conversation with him about symptoms where I don’t feel like I’m standing in front of a grand jury of one. I am also anxious to see him because it will put an end to my suffering because I refuse to Web M.D. this one for fear of what it will say. Especially after the chicken incident.

So what can be learned from this experience?

      1.       Apparently your unborn child can make your appendages go numb and tingly. So that’s great. In addition to taking over your body, stealing your figure, terrorizing your digestive system, kicking you in the bladder so directly that you pee yourself in the car, and forcing their way, eventually, out of your hooha, they will alsomake you numb. Anywhere. It’s a crap shoot, really. Thanks a lot, babies.

      2.       I am really not ready for any of the above “symptoms” yet. It’s like in all those chick-flicks where the girl thinks she’s pregnant but doesn’t want to be but when she takes a test and finds out its negative she’s really disappointed, proving that maybe she does want a baby after all? I experienced the precise opposite of that. I never thought there was even a chance that I was pregnant, for the record, but when that negative test result was read to me by my voice-mail,  I got so excited that I said “Thank you, Jesus!” really loudly. At work. In the break-room. It’s fine. It’s not a thing. So no babies for a while. But I’m ok with that. Clearly.

      3.       There are some benefits to hand and arm numbness, which include but are not limited to:

a.       The ability to touch really hot things which, in turn, scares the bajeezits out of your husband.

b.      You have a really effective duel-starting glove. Like in the Three Musketeers when you wanted to duel so you slapped your opponent in the face with your glove to show him that you were challenging him? Only it’s my whole friggin’ arm. Watch out, Carter, I gots a duel-startin’ appendage and I ain’ts afraid to use it. (And, because I’ve been thinking about it, “I came to two things today, Carter: Duel-Slap and eat breakfast. And I already ate breakfast.” Ok…maybe that one wasn’t as good.)

c.       You only have to worry about one hand feeling really cold. Granted, the other could be getting frostbite and you’d never know it but I’m committed to keeping on the sunny side of this one.

      4.       Numbness of any kind will get you to the front of the line in a doctor’s office. I assume it’s the same for airport security and the check-out line at Target. Because I think we all know that I’m gonna buy those sunglasses before I go to the doctor about this whole numb thing.

      5.       For those of you who are seriously concerned, I do not have blood clots and I have not had a stroke. I don’t know how they know this – they didn’t do any tests. But they told me that I definitely do not have those things. So you can breathe easy and remember that this is an example, like so many others, of how some of my body parts would like to kill me so that I’ll stop standing in between them and world domination. Yea, I’m looking at you, uterus.

But since my “acute care’ doctor is NOT smarter than a 5thGrader, do any of you have any suggestions as to what could be causing this? I’ve already heard demon baby. Surely y’all can do better.

Happy Hump Day, y’all! 

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  1. No idea! Very strange, indeed. I hope it gets better soon.

  2. Carpal tunnel. Try this sweetie…$10 wrist brace at WalMart. Sleep in it (the sturdy, plastic insert so you can’t bend it at ALL kind), wear it when you’e not requiring the use of your wrist. If it works, that would be it.
    Took multiple trips to the Doc with no clue before a friend recommended the braces and my numb, tingling, I want to KILL something arm and hands stopped waking me at night. (Let’s blame NaBloPoMo for all the extra typeing!)

    • Excellent suggestion! I’ll go this weekend to get one and try it out! I type all day long, and half the night! My mom’s a pianist and she has carpal tunnel, so I guess it was only a matter of time for me!

  3. Oh goodness. ..

    You know what I’d like to know? If there are good doctors out there whose patients like them .. one time my parents took Victor to the hospital because he had a couple of spots on his arm .. the doctor went out for over half an hour and my parents started joking “It’s like he had to go back to school, study this and then come back and tell us or something!” … five minutes later the doctor walks back in with a text book and a puzzled look.. “Well it kinda looks like these, but I’m not sure.. so we’ll just have him take these ..” ARE YOU SERIOUS?!

    And that’s just one of our doctor stories… not sure how this is supposed to make you feel better… I’m going to shut up now..

    Just one last thing.. I really do hope it gets better soon! *hug*

    • I LOVED my last doctor. He was so wonderful and always had a joke to tell you. He listened! I hope everything turned out well with Victor! If a doctor came int the exam room with a textbook and said “kinda” about anything, I would walk right out! That’s ridiculous! (Not that he needed to consult a book – I’m ok with that – but that he brought it into you!)

      Thanks for the well wishes, Larissa! I’m sure it will get better soon! 🙂

  4. Here are my guesses as to what’s going on with your arm:

    – Your limb is haunted, possibly by a lobster, or the soul of yesterday’s chicken.

    – You are devil-possessed.

    Both of these would have the same cure, I believe (i.e., exorcism).

    OR, you could have what my sister-in-law has:

    – Your chi is slippery.

    (Though my sister-in-law’s herbalist/witch doctor doesn’t say the letter “r,” so the actual diagnosis was is “Yo’ chi is slippewy.” God bless her.)

    The treatment for this is drinking wicked stinky tea several times a day. You might just want to live with the slippewy numbness.

    Hey, feel free to share any or all of these diagnoses with your REAL doctor! It would be killer to be right on this one.

    • Crap, just read the other comments and I have to agree that carpal tunnel sounds right AND makes sense, given all the keyboarding you do.

      It still could be caused by a gypsy curse, though. And when was the last time you buffed and waxed your chi, missy?

    • Oh, Lady C. How does one catch a slipper chi and is it contagious? My aunt used to perform exorcisms and I’m going to see her over the holidays. Maybe I’ll ask her to perform a quickie exorcism between courses.

      Likely cause: Carpal Tunnel. But if that brace doesn’t work, I’ll be printing off your comment to show to my doctor. It’s basically the same as printing off a Web M.D. article.

  5. Are you sure your arm isn’t detatching in the middle of the night and having whimsical adventures while you’re sleeping? I’m sure that’d cause numbness!

  6. One time I was at church and I stood next to a new-ish friend. We had to hold hands during prayer time, and at the end of the prayer I did the standard “prayer squeeze”. SHE DID NOT SQUEEZE BACK. I was mortified and avoided being near her for like a week. Then I discovered she had a prosthetic arm and she didn’t squeeze back because she couldn’t. I don’t ever remember feeling so relieved that someone had a fake arm.

    The Moral of the Story: I’ll be so relieved if it turns out you just have a prosthetic limb.

    • Haha, I hate to bust up all of that relief, but as far as I am aware, my arm is the one I was born with. But your story made me choke on my coffee, so well done! At least you had the good sense not to call her out on it. Which I may have done, depending on how good my day had been.
      “Ma’am? Do you not like me? Why do I ask? Well, because you didn’t squeeze my hand…with….your….prosthetic ….limb. I’m going to go and die now. Have a nice day, please.”

    • Is it terrible that I laughed so hard out loud at work when I read this?

  7. The Man had similar symptoms whenever he sneezed. He would have shooting, tingling (and sometimes pain) down his arms. They did an MRI, but he never got the results. because his doctor was terrible. and also had to give up his license. so yeah.

    • Whoa there! The lovely Chris as Life Your Way suggested that it could be Carpel Tunnel. I’ve been wearing a carpel tunnel brace for two days now and it seems to be getting better, which is great! I hope The Man goes for a second opinion. Sneezes should not cause numbness and tingling! Now you’ve given me something else to be paranoid about!

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