Return of the Wrist Brace

I reached out and grabbed the metal lever to the door of my apartment building, twisting it downwards to release the latch; a searing pain tore through my left wrist. I recoiled, as if the door handle had stung me. The pain lasted a few minutes than waned. I shrugged it off, continued on, making my way to the bus stop. I didn’t think of it again until I reached out to grab a pole on the bus and the pain returned, trekking up my arm. It stayed with me for the rest of the day. I was not able to bend my wrist upwards or grasp a pen; lifting a mug was almost impossible; I didn’t realize how often I leaned on my hand when getting up off the couch or standing up from a chair – the sharp pain accompanied any pressure placed on my hand.

Upon returning home, I retrieved the wrist brace I bought in the early stages of RA, before I knew my diagnosis, when the first pains appeared like an innocent sprain or tennis elbow, perhaps from too much computer work. I lifted its black woven body from my dressing table, watching flakes of accumulated dust drift into the air. I cleaned it off and wrapped it over my left wrist, slipping my thumb through the support. The brace prevented any upward or downward movement, securing my hand and reducing the cause of any more pain.

The wrist brace accompanied me to work and social visits for several days. Its strong fabric assisted me in picking up mugs and gripping pens; being left-handed, it was difficult to write and I hoped my wrist would return to its normal function soon. The idea of attempting to write with my other hand was not appealing. I popped pain killers to dull the searing pain triggered from any type of movement.

I was able to release my wrist from the stranglehold of the brace in a week – but I was extra cautious using my left hand against any resistance. The old lady had made her presence known, reminding me how fragile my joints had become under the weight of her grasp and I was not about to antagonize her again.

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  1. Wren on November 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    I winced for you several times, J, as you described the way the old lady treated your wrist. Oh, that hurts! I’ve got a wrist brace packed away in a dresser drawer, too, but fortunately haven’t needed to wear it for quite a long time. I’m glad the wrist-flare eased off–and I hope it won’t be back anytime soon. Sending a hug your way… 🙂

  2. J.G. Chayko on November 18, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Thanks Wren, so far, it hasn’t returned to that extent. There is some wrist pain now and then, but the wrist brace hasn’t been needed…but it’s not too far away, just in case 😉

  3. Irma on November 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Oh, how I know about that wrist brace. I have two, right and left, thankfully they have stayed in the drawer for a very long time, knock on wood. I’m so glad this resolved fairly quickly, but it’s true the old lady lies in wait. May she stay far away.

    • J.G. Chayko on November 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Thanks Irma, I hope to do my best to keep her away as much as possible.

  4. lovingmissliz7304 on November 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I slept in one for a while. I figured out there was a correlation between curling my wrist when asleep and terrible morning pain.

    • J.G. Chayko on November 21, 2013 at 9:28 am

      Yes, I tend to curl up my joints when sleeping sometimes, and then they’re extra stiff in the mornings. I hoped sleeping with it helped a bit.

  5. Phil Frame on November 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Hey J.G.
    I have started up the Tai Chi again after several years hiatus and it seems to be helping, I remember it said that that you could put chi out there so someone else could receive it. Sending some your way. Hang in there.
    Phil
    Syracuse NY

    • J.G. Chayko on November 23, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Thank you Phil. I do yoga to help, although Tai Chi might be less pressure on my joints on the bad days. Stay well.

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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.