Monday, March 2, 2015

My Hurting Hands #SoL2015 Day 2

My hands hurt. All. The. Time. 

"I don't know how you stand it." That's what my husband says when he looks at my hands. 

"I have a high pain threshold." That's my response to my husband and to others, often students, who comment about my cracking, bleeding hands. 

We live in an arid climate, so dry skin is common. However, the kind of dryness that splits my fingers and sends me running to the dermatologist began after I crossed the half-century mark. Time has exacerbated the problem. 

That my hands--more accurately my fingers--hurt persistently challenges my ability to write, to grade, to clean, to fold laundry, to work out, to function. The things most important to me are tasks I avoid or pass on to my husband. 

I couple of years ago I purchased my own mat to haul to the gym. I use gloves when I go to kettle bell classes. I no longer attend body pump because the bar, even with gloves, hurts my hands. 

Right now my hands look pretty good. Here are a few pics from Sunday: 

I have a prescription medication for my hands and lotion from the dermatologist. At night I medicate and wear gauze gloves on my hands to aide the healing process. It helps. But environmental factors make breakouts unpredictable. Too many triggers lurk in my world, and I can't identify them all.

A few weeks ago I fell and sliced the right pointer finger on the chalk board tray. In the process I hit my head, resulting in two knots on m forehead. I probably should have visited the urgent care across the street from my school, but I had another obligation. 

A colleague bandaged my finger while I sat on the floor and sobbed. Since the fall, the tip of my finger has bothered me. At first I worried about nerve damage, but as the skin has regenerated, the problem seems to have diminished. 

When my grading level is high, I experience more cracking and bleeding. Sometimes a split occurs when I'm in the middle of a student paper, and I return the paper w/ a brownish streak of blood on it. 

The pain I experience throughout each day is minor compared to the hand pain endured by so many others in professions that demand more of their hands. When I taught in Arizona I met migrant workers whose hands bent permanently into the shape of a lettuce head. That's pain beyond my imagination.

Having use of my hands is something I take for granted. They're small hands, but they have served me well. Yet I worry what others think when they shake my rough, lobster-like hands, hands no longer soft but coarse. 

Still, the art and craft of teaching necessitates I take this matter into my own hands. 

"In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine," writes Ralph Waldo Emerson. The story of my hurting hands is one I hope will help empower my students to imagine what they can overcome with their imaginations when they reach higher with their hands. 

*I'm participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. Thanks, TWT and all working behind the scenes. It takes a village of bloggers! 

**Edited to fix typos (I counted five!) at *:03 a.m. MST.


  1. Oh my, what a dreadful place to have such constant pain. It sure sounds as if you are taking all the right approaches. This line is spot on: "Still, the art and craft of teaching necessitates I take this matter into my own hands." Teachers' hands are essential!

  2. I can't even imagine having your hands hurt like this and having to read student papers, and write comments, etc., etc. You are one brave lady!

  3. I can't imagine what you're dealing with. It sounds awful. I agree with Maureen: teachers' hands are essential. I hope you're able to soothe and heal yours.

  4. This sounds like such a deep pain to face day after day. I hope you are able to get some relief. -amacafe

    1. I toggled over to your blog and had flashbacks of sick children. Mine are only 14 months apart. I couldn't find a comment option. Hope you'll enable commenting soon. Moms need solidarity when the kids are sick.

  5. Anything that interferes in your daily life is bad, but for an English teacher to have pain in their hands, well, I can't imagine. But you have found a way to use it to inspire your students. Bravo!

  6. Glenda .. so sorry to hear of your condition. I had a similar issue with the after effects of shingles, and I tried this product:
    It is called Durham's Wonder Salve, and it is a bee/honey product containing a combination of Propolis, Aloe Vera and Goldenseal. It's expensive, but a little bit goes a long way. It eliminated my problem within a week, when nothing else worked. I would try it if I were you . ... it is worth a try. Good luck~

    1. 'Preciate the recommendation, Mark. I'm going to see if the dermatologist has this product before ordering. I like the idea of a bee/honey based product. I do know, however, that I don't have shingles. That's the first question I asked when I first went to the dermatologist a few months ago.

  7. Ouch, Glenda. I admire that you've found ways to take care of yourself and keep on--your effort and attitude are admirable! Any chance an allergy could be aggravating the already dry skin? I'm sure you've explored all sorts of options. I hope your hands feel better soon.

    1. Cleaners, solvents, soaps seem to make the problem worse, but it's hard to tell. I try to avoid contact w/ the cleaners at school and at the gym. I have my own soap at school, and I get Ken to put bleach in w/ the whites; otherwise, I use handmade soaps and eco-friendly detergent.