About six months now since I started developing wrist pain… right wrist pain. And I can’t quite recall, but I am now thinking that it was around that time that I started really getting excited about creating the shadow poems. Writing poems into glass with a Dremel tool so that the shadows can be read against a painted background under direct light. Fine lines etched into clear glass using a high-speed, somewhat unwieldy rotary tool. With my right hand.
Also around that time, I experienced right wrist strain after chopping kindling, which I also love to do. It wasn’t a sudden pain – just more of an ache. But it never really healed, despite ice and immobilization. Well, not complete immobilization, because I had to keep working on new pieces. I stopped using the Dremel, but continued pottery and micrography and painting. Still didn’t get better. Then I stopped throwing pots, but contined micrography and painting. Saw a wrist specialist and told him I thought I injured it originally chopping kindling; he looked at the inconclusive MRI and agreed that what he did see – inflammation – was consistent with that type of injury and that there was likely a cartilage tear that was just not showing up.
Ah, denial. I asked if it could have been caused by my art – he didn’t think what I was doing could’ve caused a tear.
Surgery went better than expected, according to the doc – no tear. Just old injury or injuries that never healed, with adhesions that he cleaned up. Put a gigantic nonremovable splint on me with instructions to come back in 3 weeks. But for me, the news is actually bad, meaning that it’s still very possible that the damage was done from repeated strain. I tried to explain exactly what kind of strain I had been putting on my hand, but got the sense he wasn’t really getting it.
So here I am. Waiting and wondering. I was so hoping that it really was a tear that would point directly to trauma; instead I’ve got to wait and see if I will be able to safely pick up that Dremel again. Or throw plates. Or write my ittybittywriting.