Happy Birthday to Me!

I got my first birthday present a day early.  I had been dreading that EMG test for the whole month of June.  All I knew was, it involved needles.  I’d rather birth my three children all over again than endure a needle.

About an hour before I was supposed to leave for my test, I made the brilliant move of consulting my good friend Google about what to expect with the EMG.  This is what I read:

A needle is inserted through the skin into the muscle. The electrical activity is detected by this needle (which serves as an electrode). The activity is displayed visually on an oscilloscope and may also be displayed audibly through a microphone.

Since skeletal muscles are often large, several needle electrodes may need to be placed at various locations to obtain an informative EMG.

I am serious, I immediately started sweating and hyperventilating.  To make matters worse, I read that the test should take 30-45 minutes.  THIRTY to FORTY-FIVE minutes of sticking needles into my arms!?????  I knew I’d never survive.

I immediately called my husband and, drama queen that I am, wailed into the phone that I was having an anxiety attack and I just couldn’t do this.  He quietly and calmly reassured me that these things are never as bad as they sound and that I should just go and get it over with.

After we went back and forth for about 15 minutes (keep in mind, he’s at work, trying to keep a huge computer network up and running, and his hysterical wife is on the other end of the line going “NEEDLES!  CAN’T DO IT!  THREE KIDS!  NEED MED’CINE!  NEED SEDATIVES.  NOW!”), he finally convinced me to just go and get it over with.

I was met with several roadblocks, each of which would have made the normal me give up and stay home.  But for some reason, I was determined to see this through.  First I realized that I didn’t have the third row seat in the minivan, which I needed in order to chauffeur my kids’ friends home from their play date at my house.  It occurred to me that this was the perfect opportunity to give up on the EMG for the day, but I called their dad, and fortunately he was able to come get them at moment’s notice, giving me time to still get to my appointment.

Then I got in the car and drove to the doctor’s office, but upon arrival, discovered the main entrance to be locked.  Again, I was tempted to say that I must have the wrong day and go home, but I got out my trusty cell phone and called upstairs, where they informed me that they thought I was a no-show because my referral hadn’t come through.

I almost offered to reschedule, but I didn’t, and they finally came down to let me in, which is when I discovered that I was at the wrong entrance.  DUH.  If directions can possibly be misinterpreted, I’ll be the one to do it.

After we entered the office, the receptionist called and got my referral and even got my kids a bunch of toys to play with while they waited.  She informed me AGAIN that she thought I was a no-show, and they had called the next appointment and told him to come in early.  Naturally he arrived five minutes after I did and got the privilege of sharing the waiting room with my three rambunctious children while I was led into the torture chamber.

I found myself apologizing for my inconvenience, although I don’t know why.  I HAD called for my referral, and I was ONLY five minutes late, and although I did have three kids in tow, they are generally well-behaved if they don’t have to wait too long.

I immediately informed the doctor that I was very nervous about the needle portion of the test.  I might have even whimpered a bit.  He assured me that I would get through it.  Somehow that did nothing to calm my nerves.

He started with the electrical shock section of the test (Yes, I said Electrical Shock) and he said it was the most uncomfortable part, but frankly, I’ll take electrical shock over needles ANY. DAY. OF. THE. WEEK.  And I told him so.

By the end of that portion, either he took pity on me or he was just anxious to get to his next appointment or he feared for the well-being of his waiting room with my three children out there unattended, but for whatever reason, he told me that he had enough information from the electrical shocks and there was no need to do the needles.

I immediately stood up on the examining table and broke into the Hallelujah Chorus with my arms lifted to the heavens.  Or maybe I just imagined that part.  At any rate, I thanked him profusely for my early birthday gift and climbed down from the table, ready to gather my kids and take them home, far away from needles and electric shocks.

Oh, do you want to hear the diagnosis?

Evidently I have moderate carpal tunnel in my right hand and mild carpal tunnel in my left.  At this point, no invasive measures are necessary.  The best thing I can do is avoid the movement that causes the problems (uh-huh, suuuuuuuure) and keep the brace on at all times, particularly at night, for some reason.

Anyone know if they make keyboards with built in track pads?  I really do believe it is using the mouse that is the culprit.  I don’t suppose Apple would let me trade in my iMac for a laptop, now would they…

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50 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me!

  1. Happy Birthday!! Maybe you could try a trackball mouse instead of a regular mouse.. this doesn’t require wrist movement.. only thumb or pointer and middle finger (depending on the type you get).. Glad you didnt have to have the needle!! I did when I had my wrist check.. not pleasant was how I would describe it 😛

  2. Happy Birthday! I’m glad you got to avoid the needles. Bummer on the carpal tunnel. Hopefully it can be managed. Have a fantastic day!

  3. Happy Happy Needle-free Birthday! Not to add anti-Mac fodder (I loved my Mac) but I’ve not had achey wrists and hands since going laptop a couple of years ago….

    Mousefree has been very comfy for me. 🙂
    (Although I never had the discomfort you have…)

    Wishing you a discomfort minimizing option soon!

  4. That is great news! And Happy Birthday!

    My Mom also swears it’s the mouse. She alleviated this by switching the mouse from side to side every few days. That way she isn’t using one hand continuously.

  5. Happy Birtday to you, Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday Jo-Lynne, Happy Birthday to you.

    I hope you continue to have a great day and that your wrists feel better soon!

  6. Actually, they do make keyboards with a mouse/track pad in them — although I don’t know if that is the case for Mac products.

    When you get home, take the arm rests off your chair and raise it so that your elbow is slightly higher than your hand on your mouse. Your arm shouldn’t be resting on anything — I can’t remember why. I had a friend who was an occupational nurse who showed me how to sit correctly and that’s what she said to do. Worth a try anyway 🙂

    Oh, and Happy Birthday!

  7. I had some issues with carpel tunnel a few months back and since I have an office job I couldn’t stop using my computer! I had to wear a brace constantly and was in a great deal of pain. I too was told about switching my mouse to a different side. I also got a tiny mouse not the big rat I did have. Both of those things has made a huge difference and I haven’t had to wear the brace since. It does take some getting used to, so the bet thing is to play solitare for awhile to get used to using your left hand on the mouse. I hope it helps!

  8. Happy Birthday Jo-Lynne! I remember the day you were born, saw you just hours after you made your appearance into this world! You were a beautiful baby and you’ve grown into a beautiful young woman, inside and out!! xoxox

  9. Yay! Happy needleless birthday to you! Glad that it’s not serious. The brace at night is to avoid laying on your wrists in funny positions. Something about lack of blood flow blah blah blah. Can’t remember what, but I do remember having to wear a wrist guard at night in college.

  10. Happy Birthday! to you which is also Canada Day.

    I’m SURE that there is a compatible Mac product out there for your needs that will work with your iMac.

    i can’t believe you had shock therapy! 😉

  11. Happy Birthday. I had it have it and ignore it. Its so painful but hte wrist bands at night helps soooooo much. I had it but it got super bad when I was prego but now its not to bad. Good luck feel better.

  12. Hi Jo-Lynne . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRL!!! I am so glad no needles!

    Not sure if this will make you feel better or worse. I have a Dell laptop with the mouse pad – – I have issues with my thumb, wrist and arm – probably from too much keyboarding. So, not sure if the change from mouse to keypad will help. I did purchase a wrist rest that does seem to help when I am doing a lot of typing.

    I can’t believe you were “electrocuted” on your birthday!

  13. Happy Happy Birthday, indeed!!

    So glad the needles weren’t needed! Surely, there is something else you can do to help with the carpal tunnel? Praying you find some relief!

  14. Happy Birthday!! I’m so glad you’re not going to need surgery! I was going to suggest a trackball mouse, too. My roommate in college, a viola player had a hard time with carpel tunnel, so I realize how painful it can be. I hope it gets better soon!

  15. Happy Birthday!

    I’m glad to hear the test didn’t have to use the needles and that it is mild carpal syndrome. The braces help immensely, especially at night.

  16. Happy Birthday! Hooray for no needles! For the record, I have a MacBook Pro (laptop) with a built in trackpad, and using that actually bothers my wrist more than using the mouse. I use Apple’s little cordless mouse, and it seems to fit my hand more ergonomically (i.e., my wrist doesn’t have to flex much to use it and it fits right in the palm of my hand.)

    Maybe you just need a different mouse? I also highly recommend chiropractic treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome. Very effective. And – NO NEEDLES! 🙂


  17. Yea! No surgery, no drugs, no shots, it’s all good! And Happy B’Day! Try the little bumper pad I posted about, may work keeping your wrist elevated.

  18. Happiest of Birthdays to you!!!! I’m sooo happy no needles! Being a former dental hygienist…I can feel your pain of carpal tunnel. It stinks! Keep wearing the brace and doing those silly exercises…it really works! Hope you have a very happy day! And oh…I totally understand about the Lancome mascara…you’ve convinced me to try the CoverGirl stuff! Target…here I come 🙂 I’ll take $6 over $22 any day–if it realllly works!

  19. I’m so glad the diagnosis means no drastic measures are necessary at the moment. And yes, it is amazing how much stress you can put on those wrists while sleeping. I do not kid here.

    Happy Birthday!!

  20. Semi good news then at least. Aw, but Happy Birthday! I hope you have lots of plans that include shopping, chocolate, and maybe a spa treatment or two.

  21. Happy Birthday Jo-Lynne, dear, happy days to you all year! If I had one wish then it would be…a very happy birthday to you from me! 🙂

    I have something ready to come to you in the mail. Wish I had of mailed it sooner!

    Glad to hear the good news as well!
    Makes my heart sing! 🙂

  22. Happy Birthday!

    I had carpal tunnel when I was pregnant and it stank! But I did wear those braces and they did help – especially at night, and I have no idea why!

    hope you are feeling better soon.

  23. Happy Happy Birthday my online pal! Hope it’s been fabulous!! And I do the same with Google. I should never ever ever ever ever google symptoms b/c I just fareak myself out, but I’m an addict and I must.know.now. ug. Hubby yells at me, my dr. yells at me…but, I can’t stop. 😉

  24. Happy Birthday, early, I guess. lol. And I’m so gald you didn’t have to be poked with a needle. lol.

  25. Happy Happy Birthday!

    …my hubbyman uses a trackball for his mousing. It’s a good change, and although it takes some time to get used to the difference, it’s well worth it to save your wrists!

    When my CTS gets to bugging me, a day or so of wearing a brace to totally rest the joints (where it pinches) does the trick…MOST of the time!

  26. I will be quite honest, I didn’t read all of these comments. 🙂 BUT – the deal with the braces at night is that we tend to curl up our wrists while we sleep, therefore pinching up the carpal tunnel and cutting off nerve supply to the hand, making them fall asleep. SO – the brace keeps the straight and keeps the tunnel open.

    Happy birthday!! 🙂

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