The Wrist

Around March of last year I started having some issues with my wrist.

People always tell you that your body changes as you get older, certain things no longer work as well, and you don’t recover as quickly. But nobody told me things would just… start hurting.

And that’s what happened with my wrist. It was my right wrist, my primary hand. I hadn’t injured it in some obvious way, or bruised it. Just one morning, it started hurting.

I was confused but figured it would just go away on it’s own. It was a little bit extra frustrating because it was impeding my ability to do Yoga, which I was positive, was the only thing keeping my body from slipping into complete and total uselessness.

Playing softball once a week seemed to do more harm than good. I couldn’t stand gym memberships anymore. But yoga really felt like it was going to be my focus for a long while.

Until my wrist started hurting.

I thought maybe I had slept on it wrong and maybe that caused it. After more time it didn’t go away and a rather obvious swelling appeared. I thought that maybe I was regularly sleeping on it wrong.

I figured the only way to fix it was just to let it get better on it’s own.

I’m not scared of going to the doctor but I am scared of going to the doctor for what seems like paranoid reasons so that he either A. Looks down on me or B. Starts to think I’m paranoid and refuses to take my serious.

However I’m starting to think that a fear of paranoia is kind of a self-defined term.

I stopped doing yoga and tried to wish my wrist better. A couple of weeks turned into a couple of months, and then a half a year. And then before I knew it, it was 2013 and I was sick of the swelling that refused to go down.

So I finally took to WebMD to see if I could self diagnose.

The thing about WebMD is they never put subtle pictures up for self-diagnosing. They are always the most extreme, severe, borderline gag worthy photos that not only make you cringe at the picture on the screen, but also function to help you start hating yourself as well.

I thought I had figured out what it was and made a doctor’s appointment to confirm.

My doctor confirmed my suspicions and told me that I in fact had a cyst on my wrist.

Leave it to me to get the only ailment that rhymes.

He does an examination and moves my wrist this way and that, turning it, shaking his hand firmly, twisting it, etc.

He seems confident and tells me I have a “ganglion cyst” which doesn’t sound like a physical ailment as it does some sort of interstellar constellation.

And then he says to me what is perhaps my favorite doctor phrase in the entire world.

Yea, it’s a cyst but it shouldn’t hurt.

I KNOW IT SHOULDN’T HURT! That is why I am here! Do you think anybody walks into this doctor’s office complaining of not enough pain in their lives?

Hey doc this shoulder keeps functioning normally… can we do something about that?

It shouldn’t hurt. Like I am the one doing something wrong here. If it shouldn’t hurt, but it does, can we please figure this out?

When he says things like that he makes me feel like a 4th grader trying to get out of a math test by getting a pass from the nurse.

Trust me. I did not schlep across town in the middle of the day to pay you 15 bucks to sit in a waiting room full of coughing, sniffling zombies just so you could verify my pain. I know it hurts. It shouldn’t but it does. Can we please DO something about it?

He tells me to go see a wrist specialist and he would recommend a simple procedure that would be a quick fix. I am frustrated, optimistic, and skeptical all at the same time.

On my way out of the doctor’s office I immediately look up ganglion cyst on Wikipedia to see exactly what it is I am dealing with.

And here is what I read:

A ganglion cyst is also known as a Bible cyst, is a swelling that often appears on or around joints and tendons in the hand or foot. The term “Bible Cyst” is derived from a common treatment in the past that consisted of hitting the cyst with a Bible or similarly large book.


Of course! OF COURSE I get the only ailment whose renaissance cure was being smacked with a gigantic biblical text.

I cannot wrap my brain around the desperation of people in pre-doctor time with a bump on their wrist going to the local medical professional only to hear that they were going to have to hold their arm out from their body, and bend their wrist so that somebody could swing and a 2 pound book at them as hard as they can.

That’s a hell of a remedy for something that “shouldn’t hurt.”

Luckily the wrist specialist I went to gave me slightly more advanced options, which included:

Do nothing and hope.

Minor surgery with rehab.

Using a needle to drain the cyst.

That last one still makes my face scrunch up.

All of the options he gave me allowed for between a 33 percent and 50 percent success rate. Not amazing numbers but all much better than previous researched holy remedies.

I opted for option 3.

To have a doctor drain something from you is definitely some sort of right of passage that you have crossed over into adulthood. There is no more being a kid once something has been drained from you.

I actually turned away from him as he did it. I didn’t feel like watching him insert the 4-inch needle into me, nor did I want to see what he extracted.

I also didn’t watch him put the next needle into my wrist with the “medicine that should prevent this from happening again.”

Alas, another should. I suppose we all have to deal with a relative amount of uncertainty within the medical profession. We shouldn’t expect doctors to be able to fix everything, even small things like rhyming wrist cyst.

We also shouldn’t wait 10 months before doing something about it, especially if you have your own bible.