Old Fingers

The stiffness and soreness in my 23-year-old fingers feels like it belongs to someone much older. Veins and arteries feel compressed against bone that rubs too close to skin. They’ve been lifting treated wood, oak lumber, buckets filled with tape measures and drill bits and drills, pick mattocks and cutter mattocks, shovels empty and shovels filled with sandy gravel. They’ve been doing able-bodied work and the body is able but the joints seem to be disabling slowly but surely. Even as they dance across the keyboard to write about their agony they feel the shooting pain up a nerve through the ring fingers, specifically the ring fingers today. Last week it was a twitchy thumb and everyday it’s the wrist blaring in hues of red before settling down, sucking it up and staying attached. From the wrist through my metacarpals energy pulses potently and this makes me want to write even as the pain thrums through them. Perhaps the little dance they do is getting the blood flowing after clenching in the same motion around a dozen different tools and around the heavy corners of lumber. They try to sneak in yoga between the bouts of heavy lifting (for a finger) but as of yet it has yielded little in the way of relief. But perhaps the pain would be worse without the momentary stretching. Maybe I should stop my typing, stop my pen scratching in my journal, stop my fingers from sliding around on my Kindle so they can get through two more weeks of this torment. But I won’t. Maybe instead these finicky phalanges will toughen up and remember that it’s supposed to get easier as we go one, not harder. The little muscles that control my hands should be conditioned by now, torn and repaired stronger than before. But since they seem to be getting worse I’ve come to the assumption that they might be aging quicker than the rest of me. If this is the case, I’ve got a lot of typing to do and I better do it now.

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This work by Sarah Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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