Numb Finger

I'll just watch the clock while the doctor looks at my Xrays in the other room.
I’ll just watch the clock while the doctor looks at my Xrays in the other room.

A day or two before I left for my vacation on Bois Blanc Island I woke up with my left pointer finger feeling numb.

I’ve had numbness like this on other parts of my body in the past, but its always gone away in a day or two.

This time the numbness has stayed around for around a month.

I used WebMD to try and figure out what was going on and there was some pretty scary things on there. Fortunately, I didn’t match all the symptoms of any of the more serious conditions.

A self-diagnosis wasn’t enough for me so I made an appointment at the local clinic.

My wife had her eye on a particular doctor at the clinic to be her own primary care physician. I tried to get an appointment with that doctor so I could preview her for my wife, but she was on maternity leave until November.

Instead I got an appointment with a different, but equally competent male doctor.

I’ve never had a male doctor for my regular visits. Neither has my wife. Nothing wrong with the doctor I saw today, but I’ve always been more comfortable with women. I think we’ll go to the female doctor on maternity leave for any future problems.

So! The numbness in my finger! I’d feared something horrible like peripheral neuropathy or Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Instead the doctor said it was something much more mundane.

It was likely just physical trauma to my radial nerve which takes sensory information from my hand to my brain.

The damage would normally repair quickly, but its possible I’ve been aggravating the injury by sleeping on my hands.

So the injury might fix itself if I stop sleeping on my hands.

However it might be too late for the injury to fix itself within my hands.

In that case the nerve would need to regrow from my shoulder all the way down to my hand.

When nerves are regrown from the shoulder they extend about one centimeter each week.

My arm is roughly a meter long (I haven’t measured exactly), so if the nerve regrows from my shoulder then I won’t have feeling in my finger again for another two years or so.

So lets hope my finger gets better soon if I stop sleeping on it!

-Mister Ed

Orthodontist Visit

The office of the third orthodontist I've visited.
The office of the third orthodontist I’ve visited.

I went to the orthodontist today for a third opinion on a procedure I’m considering.

I have a crossbite where my lower jaw doesn’t line up correctly with my upper jaw.

It’s not visible to other people unless I point it out and it doesn’t affect my eating.

The issue is that the problem only developed recently and it irritates me.

I feel like my mouth just doesn’t close right and I hate it.

My mother had the same problem and it eventually became painful and she had to have surgery to get it fixed.

I’ve gotten conflicting opinions on whether the jaw pain my mother experienced was related to her crossbite or to grinding her teeth, but I feel those two could be connected. I’m certainly grinding my teeth more now that they don’t fit together correctly.

Fixing my crossbite would require surgery. I’ve been to three orthodontists and they all agree that I’ll need to see an oral surgeon in addition to getting braces to fix the problem.

My family is worried about the surgery for practical reasons. The health benefit isn’t clear, its expensive, and no one will notice but me.

Surgery also has possible risks of excessive bleeding when they take out a piece of my jaw so that the upper and lower halves match.

That risk is controlled by doing the surgery in a hospital, but its still on my mind a little bit.

I’m also concerned about whether I will enjoy the surgery once it is finished.

My crossbite developed when I was about eighteen years old. The reason it bothers me is because I remember when it wasn’t like this.

But if my teeth were always like this would I care? Probably not.

And what if after the surgery my teeth don’t fit exactly like the way they used to?

Then I would still feel like my mouth wasn’t closing right and I’d have spent thousands of dollars for nothing.

I’ll keep doing the consultations and planning steps for the procedure for now, but I haven’t made a definite decision on if I’m going through with it or not yet.

Bleh! Why can’t my dental problems just be candy related?

-Mister Ed

My Lab Meeting

Here's a picture of one of my PowerPoint slides from today's lab presentation.
Here’s a picture of one of my PowerPoint slides from today’s lab presentation.

I presented the progress on my research at lab meeting today.

I haven’t gotten as far as I wanted to since my last lab meeting, but I did get as far as I expected to.

By the end of the summer I was expecting to have 5 of the 6 constructs successfully injected and integrated into C. elegans strains.

I’ve gotten 4 out of the 6 and the summer isn’t over yet. I’m on track to finish.

Otherwise, I’ve had a problem with the worms not staining like the ones of the person who used to work on this project.

His worms stained extremely dark. There’s so much blue color that the picture of them looks black.

My worms don’t look like that, but we aren’t sure why.

I’m going to tweak some things to try and make my strains look that way.

If the tweaks don’t work… I’ll have to check using a more complicated method to ensure that I injected the worms correctly.

That’s the gist of what I presented at the meeting.

The meeting went pretty well.

Today’s meeting was between my lab and the lab adjacent to us.

Our lab meetings are always joint meetings. The neighboring lab works on similar stuff. Both of us are small labs as well so it makes a lot of sense for us to meet together.

The professor from the other lab always asks the presenter tough questions.

I felt like I fielded everyone of his questions really well.

I felt prepared, I had answers to most of his questions.

I’m going to look for answers to the questions I don’t know in research papers.

I haven’t gotten around to describing more about what I do in lab, which might have made this post a little confusing.

I’ll try and upload a post that goes in more depth for my lab meeting presentation in the future.

That’s all for tonight.

-Mister Ed