Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Phantom

Hello again! I'm not dead, I'm just being haunted by the ghost of finger past which is actually fairly manageable. As I type this I'm using both hands at varying degrees of proficiency. Let me tell you it is really stinkin' weird.

The past several days I've been off pain medications completely which may explain the spike in feeling the finger that is not. My senses are apparently so familiar with the ghost digit that my brain is still trying to press keys with that finger. This blog is actually the first time I've tried typing properly with all the fingers I do have. Previously it's been just my thumb or pinkie for various letters or pressing the shift button. Cool. :)

The sensations are sometimes tingling, sometimes normal movement sensations, sometimes the feeling that it is asleep, and sometimes it just throbs a bit. It is intermittent but more frequent, again probably correlating with more mobility and lack of pain inhibitors. Touching the remaining fingers usually helps clear the ghost but it doesn't always and usually not for very long. As I try and move my fingers, I'm sometimes stopped by the missing digit which is quite an odd feeling indeed. It's like my brain and other fingers are sensing the oddity and trying to send alarms through the nervous system. They're probably thinking something along these lines:

Index: Hey! Dudes! Something's funky over here!
Ring: Man you're right! I'm feeling it too!
Pinkie: Huh?
Thumb: Something is up with Middle?
Ring: Yeah, I think he fell asleep.
Index: Probably. Strange I'm wide awake though. Ring, why don't you nudge him?
Ring: Ok. [nudge]
Index: Woah Ring! I said nudge *Middle*.
Ring: I did!
Index: That was me!
Ring: Whaaaaat? No way!
Index: Yes way!
Ring: Holy crap... where's Middle???
Index: [blank stare]
Thumb, Pinkie: [confused side glances]
Ring: Seriously, where is he???
Index: I, I have no idea... I thought he was under that bandage...
Thumb: That's what I thought too...
Pinkie: So... I'm getting a promotion right?
Ring: How can you think about promotions at a moment like this?!?!?
Pinkie: Sorry...
Nerves: Hey guys! What's all the yelling about?
Index: Middle is missing!
Nerves: No he's not. He's moving right now!
Ring: No man, we're all still...
Nerves: Whaaaat?!? Are you sure?!?
Index: We're sure dude... Ohmygosh, Ohmygosh, I'm freaking out man!
Ring: You're freaking out?!? Dude, It feels like Middle is *inside* me!!!
Thumb: This is creeping me out...
Nerves: Woah, I must me losing it... I don't know what to say. Let me get with Brain. Be right back.
[nanoseconds pass}
Nerves: Wow. Ok. Guys?
Thumb, Index, Ring, Pinkie: Yeah???
Nerves: You're not going to believe this... Middle got axed, he's gone.
Index: Gone?
Nerves: Dead.
Ring: Dead?
Nerves: Dead. That 2nd surgery was to remove Middle completely, not just that annoying bump that was causing us trouble.
Ring: Why didn't anyone tell us about this?
Nerves: Brain said he told you...
Index: That actually does sound somewhat familiar now that you mention it...

Anyhow, that's kinda what has been going on there. I'm still trying to keep it elevated when possible but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference in the phantom pain department which makes sense since there's actually nothing there to feel pain. :D
So far so good on the typing though! I'm trying to make a fist to grip but that's still difficult without using my right hand to bend the fingers down a bit. My upper palm is still sensitive so I'm being careful with it. It really does feel like I can't close my fist because my brain is thinking the middle finger is in the way somehow. It's like my middle finger is sticking straight up with a bar connecting it to my ring and index finger at their first knuckles. Just as strange is that when I do get the fingers down, it feels like my middle is still sticking straight up, flicking something off. Sorry...

So yes, that's how things are going at the moment. The phantom stuff is still more tolerable than those headaches and stuff I'd been dealing with a week ago so this feels like progress. Brea gets a little creeped out when I mention this stuff so... sorry honey!

I'm trying to get moving with my business stuff again, self-employed people have terrible worker's compensation. Maybe we should have signed up for Aflac after all. Captain Hindsight to the... well, actually He doesn't rescue much... He's sometimes rescues the future I guess... Oh whatever. Really we're in pretty good shape at the moment. I just hate not being a meaningful contributor. There is a time for everything though.

http://oneseventwo.com and the corresponding Facebook page are where I'm directing my efforts at the moment. It's been cool that I've been given opportunities to take full advantage of the broad scope that "arts & photograhy" allows. Weddings, portraits, industrial, painting, casting, music, and even some graphic art design. Right now I'm working on selecting things to print and display at an art show Andrew Minnick is hosting. It's set for Saturday, December 11 · 10am - 6pm @ 6102 Cherrylawn Circle, Austin, TX. That's my shameless plug for the day. :D


  1. Happy to hear that you are back to having conversations with your body parts

  2. Yeah, sad thing is they gave me a prescription for occupational therapy but not a psychiatrist. :D
    Actually, I should note that this time it was more of a conversation *among* by body parts as opposed to with them. That's probably why they thought the psychiatrist was unnecessary. :D

  3. Seriously cracking up over here babe, you are so funny. It just creeps me out when you say "my middle finger hurts" cause it's not there so I don't know what to say to that!

  4. My hypothesis on why your finger feels like it's stuck in the "up" position:
    Your finger was "up" when it was last removed. The last message your nerves got before the lines were cut that it was "up", it hasn't received anything to tell it otherwise, so your brain just thinks it's still stuck in that position.
    Perhaps your brain thinks that until it is told otherwise, the finger's status will remain in the "up" position - there or not.

  5. @GrendelT
    I believe that does play a part although the straight up position isn't the only sensation it's getting. Sometimes it feels curled, bent back or melded with my ring finger. The sensory memory theory is a solid one though. The other interactions and processing protocol are the questions I'm currently mulling. I've tried crossing my arms and wiggling both middle fingers to see if my brain could be tricked. So far no dice but I'll try again.

  6. Hasn't your brain been through enough? Have some mercy and quit going around doing pranks on it all the time.

  7. So I don't know if this would actually help but I saw an episode of House once about a man who lost his hand in a war and he was in a lot of pain ever since. He was clenching his fist when he lost his hand so it's like GrendelT was saying about the brain thinking the body part is still in that position.

    House ended up helping the guy by making a box that he could stick his arms into but it would hide the handless arm and show a reflection in a mirror of the good arm. In the episode the man was able to unclench the hand he still had and because he saw the reflection in the mirror that made it look like he still had his other hand the pain went away.

    I actually just Googled this idea and found a website all about this same thing:


    Maybe worth a shot?

  8. Hope you get better! Phantom limb pain is a beast! It takes a while for the sensory receptions in your brain to figure out that they're not actually receiving stimulus from middle finger. Poor receptor's. So confusing...

    Seriously though - praying and hoping for all the steps forward in front of you.