Sunday, July 11, 2010


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.



Bubbli said...

awsome!.. i mean.. i hope ur okay now, lol. uh-oh when i type my hand is like the first pic.. thats the wrong one right?

Blue Pearl said...

Nice accessory Gladiator:) Get better soon. A helpful yet ergonically great tool is to exercise your hands from time to. Rotate them in different direction and massage them. It really helps.

Anonymous said...

Technically the title should be Gladiatrix since that was the name used for Female gladiators in ancient Rome. :)

Not to detract too much from the post, I hope that you get better iA.

p.s: I am still trying to figure out the "confused" part in your site bio.

MuslimFirst said...

hahahhaha Gladiator Muslimah - fighting for Islam - with every keystroke! (Actually, that's a pretty cool line - we need more Muslim journalists telling our side of the story, the Truth).

That was cute, when you wrote "pre-heart attack" which we meds call angina - which is chest pain due to ischemia (decreased blood flow) which goes away with rest, unless its the more dangerous form, which occurs even at rest.

As for the questions, yeah, that's the line of questioning in case of suspected chest pathology.

It's funny how you turned a medical situation, into one about typing, though since it involves our body, it's all connected.

good post behnu-ji.

Allah Hafiz!
-Five-sixths doctor-bhaya

Rukhpar Mor said...


@Bubbli, Yes the first picture is the 'incorrect way'.. I think he wanted me to just slightly curve my fingers..Yeah, I have been okay alhumdolillah.. I stopped wearing the brace like two days later after I got bored with it...This morning, however, I had both chest and left arm pain..yikes!!

@Blue Pearl, yeah i think he mentioned that too..i think that would help me a lot...thanks!!!!

@abupokemon they had female gladiators...!!!!:O
I didnt know that....whoa..I can't imagine seeing two females get at each other's throats..wait..never mind..i've seen that a lot..but not physically...=)

I am confused as to where I will end up and what I will do...I am planning to apply for optometry school, but who knows if I'll get in or if anything will go as I have planned...sigh*

yes, that is a pretty cool line I must say=)

haha too much biology...he did mention about the angina, but said I didnt have it...i didn't want to use medical terms cuz they scare me sometimes...
haha it's good you're practicing using your knowledge with other day you'll be saying that to your actual patient..(well i hope not, i hope your patients will be healthy and will only need minor check-ups once in a while)

Wassalam everyone!!

jnana said...

Wow, yes, we're all pretty much ignorant about the correct way of using computers, or rather, it isn't a case of ignorance but we just can't be bothered at the risk of our health lol.
Hope you're alright now

MuslimFirst said...

Oh, I was going to say, it was your median nerve that was damaged, yes?

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing this. i should practice typing with my fingers flat. tsk!

Rukhpar Mor said...

@jnana, yeah even now I am not careful..So, it's just a lack of unconcern for some people..

@MuslimFirst, I actually don't know..he said maybe it was carpal tunnel syndrome, but he doesn't think I have it...I am still very confused=(

@gessyl I should also follow my own advice=)

MuslimFirst said...

Well, if it carpel tunnel, then it would indeed be your median nerve, but anyways, hope it gets better with the conservative treatment/positioning and rest. Keep us posted!

Rukhpar Mor said...

That's good to know, doc!!
I'm actually alright now, but the thing is that I really need to take care of my typing habits, which I don't see happening anytime soon..

Lina said...

Wow, what a scary story!

I bet you were terrified. I'm really glad you're okay though. Who would have thought that this could be caused by typing!

Thanks for sharing this, it sure is useful! I'll be watching out.

Take care!

Abez said...

Lol- the joys of carpal tunnel syndrome! I used to have two of those braces, one for both left and right! I didn't feel like a gladiator though, I felt like Robocop. :P

Rukhpar Mor said...

@ Lina, Yeah it was pretty scary but I'm glad it turned out to be what it was and not something like a heart problem...

@Abez, yeah I had one for each arm, but I couldn't take the picture of both arms from my cell phone camera=) lol robocop!

Rukhpar Mor said...

Wait sister abez, so your hands are okay now? I mean does it go away by itself??

MD said...


Ouh, i hope your hands are recovering now :)

Rukhpar Mor said...

Yeah, my hands are alright now=)

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