Introspection

It’s cold, out here in Portland, OR. This kind of weather really does a number on my hands. I should clarify; it does a number on the arthritis in my neck and THAT does a number on my hands.

It’s funny, but our hands are something we take for granted. We look at them when we do our nails, or attend to cutting a broken nail, but we really don’t pay attention to them.
We don’t look at the way the skin moves over the fingers, the way the thumb and the fingers manipulate objects. The tendons that move my fingers as I type, and correct the many errors from fingers that have become clumsy, they move these fingers with ease, and the muscles give precision. The hand occupies a very large area in the motor cortex of the brain. The hand is a piece of magic, and one I’m happy to possess.

When we look at our hands we see faithful friends, for the most part. Friends who brush our hair, and our teeth. They zip zippers, button buttons, and snap snaps. They stir coffee and pick up things to examine.

It is a hard thing to deal with, the things that are happening to my hands, but the headaches make it a reality that I have to deal with, increasingly. There is no ignoring them. It has gotten bad enough that I now take amatriptylene at night for the pain, and Vicodin for when the pain flares are really bad. I used to be able to go for days without pain flares, but no longer.

These hands are used to paint, to create. To cut an onion, to deftly blanch peaches. To touch my face, my loved ones, my brush. They are marvels of design and efficiency, human hands. They are capable of bringing so much pleasure, and so much pain.

I hope to keep my hands; to still be able to peel an apple, to write down a name, to touch my husband’s hair.

I never realized, until they started to not work, how wonderful these hands really are. I’ve really resisted training my computer for voice commands. As long as these work, I will work them.

I will paint with them, I will make love with them, I will do all of the things that I have always done, with one exception. I will no longer take them for granted. I will cherish what they do for me, I will cherish them. I will examine the fingers, and appreciate them for the wonderous things that they really are.

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