My Hands Hate Me
Having RA for years comes with its share of challenges, I think everyone knows that much. But it’s the quirky, everyday stuff that really gets to you. For me, it seems like my hands, especially my right, has a mind of its own. In fact, I’m positive my right hand hates me, and any pretense of cordiality has gone out the window at this point. All attempts at reconciliation have failed, so, as Daffy Duck eloquently put it – this means war.
Hand weakness and RA
Can a part of your body hate you? After years of RA, I say the answer is a resounding “yes.” Case in point: the other day I was minding my own business, as I often do, admiring my perfectly poured cup of coffee. Suddenly, and without warning, my right hand flailed out and knocked the mug over, sending brown liquid flying like shrapnel from an Arabica grenade. Unfortunately, I’m used to my right hand’s bad behavior by now, and I don’t even think twice as I reach for the paper towels. As I’m primarily right-handed, I reach for the roll with the same misbehaving digits. My rightmost of hands was still angry with me, though, because as I grabbed the roll my hand suddenly dropped the entire paper towel roll into the spilled liquid. Exasperated, I used my left hand to clean up the spill and shook my head as my right hand gave me the finger.
RA or Alien Hand Syndrome?
Ok, ok, my hand didn’t literally give me the finger, but I know it was thinking it. Sometimes I feel like it’s going to turn into a mouthy marionette so it can tell me to suck it, and then laugh in my face like a ventriloquist without a dummy. Why do my hands seem to have a mind of their own? Is it the years of RA, or am I suffering from that rarest of conditions – Alien Hand Syndrome? This is a real condition where the right half of the brain becomes disconnected from the left, and one of your body’s hands literally gains a mind of its own. It will reach out and knock things over, try to do tasks you haven’t told it to, and smack idiots upside the head when they deserve it. Now, my hand has never doled out corporal punishment to morons (without my say so), but the rest? Well, let’s just say that some days trying to tie my shoe is like thumb wrestling with a six-fingered man. With six thumbs.
On the days when my right hand isn’t holding me in open contempt, it broods quietly and becomes passive-aggressive. I will be standing in a store, happily reading the label on a jar of tomato sauce and then poof! Mr. Passive Aggressive just decides he’s not going to hold on any longer and goes limp. Down goes the tomato sauce and explodes right there on the grocery store floor. Let me just say that it takes a certain amount of finesse to not look a raving lunatic when you yell at your own hand in public. I apparently don’t possess the needed smoothness because, as I put it up to my face like some sort of naked sock puppet and began to scold my own hand, I did get a few looks. Then again, this is New York.
When my hand actually works
In reality, me and my hand have a love-hate relationship (it’s not as dirty as it sounds, I promise). Just when I’m at my wit’s end and ready to lop him off with a meat cleaver, he will do something great and make me love him again. For instance, I was standing at my dresser the other day and on top, I have a small vase. It hasn’t had anything in it since the day I got divorced, but it’s still there putting my dust on display and being a general nuisance. As I was getting dressed, I must have brushed into the vase with the shirt I was taking out because there it was, teetering on the edge of the dresser with a disastrous fall a veritable certainty. As it careened off the edge, my right hand reached out before I could even think and when I looked down, there was the vase gripped solidly. Dude! My hand had done me a solid. These random, good deeds by that thing at the end of my right arm happen enough to mention, and I just can’t figure out if it’s because my right hand wants to do good or if I’ve just gotten so used to the bad behavior that my reflexes have been honed to a fine point. I like to believe the best in people so, for now, I’ll assume it’s my right hand making up for his passive-aggressive (and sometimes active aggressive) conduct. No hand can be 100% jackass, right?
When you have RA, your body does things that you never thought possible, and the hands are almost always a bad area for long-term sufferers. I don’t think that many other’s hands have become sentient and act in a silently belligerent manner against their owners like mine has, but I know that random spasms and loss of grip are common. It’s during those days, when the hands are out of hand, that you just want to throw up your arms and scream. Talk soon.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.