when letting go isn’t a planned thing

Posted: January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Once upon a a time, I drank more than a pot of coffee per day.  These days, my rule is I get one cup of coffee, on Sunday mornings at church – a NORMAL sized cup, not a big tankard mug (which used to be the “one cup per day” I allowed myself.)  After that, if I want something more I wash the cup out and refill it with hot water.

This past Sunday I was contending with sinus drainage that was making me very chokey and cough-ish, so right before church I filled up with hot water – something to keep stuff moving and keep me from disrupting the service.  After the first song, we always sit down for some short announcement videos.  I leaned over, picked up my cup, and in the process of bringing it to my mouth…I lost my grip.

This is a thing that happens right now.  I lose my grip. It’s not carelessness.  No amount of concentrating can help me avoid it.  My hands just decide to let go without notice.  I’ve been through it before – a few years ago, I dropped my blow drier every day for months.  But that was no big deal – the blow dryer bounced.

Losing my grip on the hot water was a big deal.  Boiling hot water gushed out of the hole in the lid, splashing my chin and neck, running down my chest, pooling on a spot in my belly for a bit before my shirt absorbed it.  It was a pretty intense pain.  Still, I sat quietly, knowing that by the time I might get back to the bathroom to deal with it, whatever damage would already be done.  No scene needed.  I winced and sat still, my chin and neck stinging, and then what felt like white-hot points, one in the middle of my chest and one on my belly.  I focused on worship and intentionally turned my attention away from the burning.  The next morning in the shower, I noticed:  a blister on my chest, and a blister on my belly.  The redness on my neck persisted pretty well through yesterday – it’s mostly gone today.


I thought of that today, when I got called down the hall at work to help pass out treats at a party.  My stomach was a knot of dread as I waited to take a tray holding dishes of ice cream and cups of punch.  I shouldn’t have come, I thought.  But I hadn’t thought of that until I was already there.  I wasn’t willing to just turn around and walk away…especially when a coworker needed my help.  So I focused hard as I carried the tray, and held my breath, and hoped not to drop anything.  One table…fine.  Two tables…fine.  Three tables…fine.  Fourth table…fine.  Fifth table…dropped a cup of punch onto the table, splashing it into someone’s lap.


I assume this dropping thing is related to my carpal tunnel.   I don’t see any doctor about my carpal tunnel.  I grew up watching my dad suffer with it when he worked in a meat packing plant, and hearing him talk at the dinner table about the guys who had surgery for it.  I learned early that if you’re going to keep doing the same work, you’re just going to re-injure yourself.  Not a lot of point in having surgery, then, unless a dramatic life change is in order.  And let’s be real here:  I am NOT going to stop using a keyboard.  It just ain’t happening!

I have always just worked around it.  I wear wrist braces as needed and compression gloves at other times.  I do the physical therapy exercise a friend taught me after she sought treatment for her carpal tunnel.  I push through the pain and when I can’t, I take it easy for awhile.  I don’t so much mind working around it.

But these days, I find that I need to start strategizing how to avoid dropping stuff.  After the hot water splash in church, I first resolved to always hold it with two hands, but then revised that to a plan to add cold water when I get the hot, so it won’t be at scalding temperature.  Today after embarrassing myself in that party, I decided I probably just shouldn’t take on any serving type jobs unless and until this clears up.

That doesn’t feel good.

And it occurs to me that this might be an element of the funk that had me so down a couple of days ago and is working hard to suck me under again tonight:  just frustration and grief at my body betraying me.

My hands can’t be relied upon to hold things.

My feet will only let me wear one kind of shoes, and punish me when I vary (like the last couple of days, when I’ve needed to wear my snow boots:  UNHAPPY FEET.)

And a bunch of other little dumb details, all related either to aging or overweight or both.  I’m thinking I’m not as mellow about that as I think I am.  Which surprises me.   Which means I still have a lot to learn.

No big lessons today.  Just a share from where I am.  Blessings, all.

  1. Cindy Maynard says:

    Karen, I had the same issues with my hands due to carpal tunnel many years ago. Here’s what I did. Actually it happened by accident. My chiropractor helped my carpal tunnel symptoms. If I get regular adjustments the symptoms usually stay in check. Over 30 yrs ago I was to have surgery, and after a couple of adjustments I canceled the surgery. Now I have adjustments maybe every 3-4 months. Don’t know how you feel about chiropractors but I swear by them. Worth a try.

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