A month ago, I had chest pain on two different days within the same week. The chest pain was in the lateral left chest region. The pain wasn’t too bad. It was minor pain that felt a little tingly. However, a couple days later, as I made my way into the Microbiology final, two of my fingers went numb on my left hand: thumb and index finger. That scared the heavens out of me! I kept thinking, “I hope it’s not a pre-heart attack .”
I called in the next day to make an appointment and when I told the operator my symptoms, I was promptly connected to a nurse, who asked me some questions:
“Where was this pain?”
“Are you feeling it right now?”
“When was this?”
“Do you have difficulty breathing?”
“Do you have trouble standing?”
“Do you think you will pass out?”
“Are you in any pain right now?”
(Note: If I was really having some kind of emergency, I would have been dead and gone by now)
After the nurse made sure I was okay, I was connected to a receptionist. He asked me some of the same questions and then made an appointment with a doctor for the same day (in fact, just two hours later!). Usually, I have to wait a month for an appointment with a doctor, but I guess I said some keywords that prompted Kaiser to handle the case a little differently.
As it turns out, according to the doctor, it was not heart-related. Instead, he asked me some questions about my computer/typing habits and he speculates that it is probably related to a pressure on a nerve that runs the length of the hand.
Here are some tips he gave me on using the keyboard safely:
-Make sure your wrists are lying flat
-Make sure your fingers are not awkwardly curved like this:
-Sit at a comfortable distance from the computer. Don’t sit too close.
-Your fingers should be flat and slightly curved:
He then gave me a hand brace that I am supposed to wear at night to keep my hand in a neutral position. I loved the brace so much that as soon as I got home that day, I wore it around the house for the next couple of days. It made me look like an amateur gladiator, who could either not afford to make a hand armor out of metal, or ran out of metal because his body armor took too much material; hence the title of this post.