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!