Carpal Shovel Syndrome


2014-01-05 – Oy!

A couple days ago, I noticed my wrist was hurting. I couldn’t imagine what was causing the pain. I usually get the pain in my right wrist, but this is my left.

Once, I took my right wrist to the doctor, looking for a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. He had me hold my hands in different positions and pushed and pulled and asked questions and pondered. Then he said, “you don’t have carpal tunnel syndrome.”

“Then what do I have?” I asked.

“A sore wrist,” he replied.

“But I’ve had it for a long time,” I said.

“When you get older,” he said, “all the normal twinges take longer to heal.”

That’s what you get for taking your right wrist to the doctor. I’m not going to take my left wrist. Because yesterday I figured out what is causing the pain: snow shoveling. I have carpal shovel syndrome.

I didn’t figure it out right away because, until yesterday we were dealing with two or three inches of snow, tops. And the snow was that light blowy kind. Who could hurt their carpals shoveling that type of snow?

I do have a lot to shovel. We live on a corner, so I have the typical Chicago 25 feet in front but maybe 125 feet on the sides. And often I do one or two more 25-foot walks to help out neighbors. So it’s a lot and it’s been pretty frequent the last couple weeks or so. Yesterday and today the snow became heavier and deeper.

They say that a good way to ease joint pain is by icing the joint. Isn’t that what I’ve already been doing? It’s like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire—only cold, very cold.

The current weather system is being described as an historic freeze. Someday, when my grandchildren ask how I survived the New Year’s Freeze of 2014, I’ll say that I did pretty good, only got a touch of carpal shovel syndrome.

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