I awoke this afternoon like I do any other day. I turned on the shower and sat upon the toilet to pee and slowly come to my senses. Unlike most days, I noticed that my right arm seemed to feel different than normal. Now to explain this sensation is actually not easy to accomplish. Though I consider myself to be a very capable wordsmith (except for the times when my brain refuses to allow me access to my word recognition bank) and can normally describe something so that the reader can completely visualize what I am trying to convey to them, this change in my physical being seemed to escape description when I tried to explain it to my wife earlier this evening. My right arm I am convinced is either an alcoholic or is taking hard illicit drugs when I am not around to stop it!
Whilst dressing myself this morning, which has become a challenge most of the time for me now, I found that what my brain was telling my hand to do was not relaying properly to the digits that are connected to my hand. Sure, my fingers were moving, but they weren't quite moving properly, nor were they working in a true coordinated fashion. Again, sometimes little things like this happen to me, but most of the time it is my left side that acts as if it is rebelling against my orders, not my stronger and well behaved right side.
I drove to work as usual with my regular stop at Sheetz for my much needed 1st cup of coffee. I filled my cup with the brown gold that I can't live without when I am starting my day, and attempted to secure the lid to the cup. Normally the lid just pops right into place, allowing me somewhat secure and safe mandibular access to my favorite beverage as I zoom down the road to Charlottesville. However, the lid didn't seem to want to snap into place today. I tried several times to pick up the lid, and at least three times it would get just a few inches from my cup when it would jump out of my grasp and fall next to the cup on the counter. Figuring that perhaps my lid did not wish to be lid-napped from it's well stacked friends, I once again attempted to secure it into it's proper place on the rim of my cup. This time it must have decided that it should test itself and see if it measured up to the job by placing itself into the coffee. Well, I will say that the manufacturer has great standards for its product because the lid was able to enter into the rather hot coffee without rendering it useless by melting or crumbling into a gooey mass of twisted horrifically mutilated plastic. I removed my now coffee flavored lid from it's quick bath and again attempted to secure it to the rim of my cup. With the assistance of my left hand, it finally felt that it had passed all endurance tests and was up to the task of keeping the liquid inside of my cup whilst allowing my lips and small amount of suction to withdraw the contained fluids into my mouth at my whim and desire.
Once at work things seemed fine. Honestly, I drive a SUV around town and pick people up when they call me. Normally once I get to work my boss takes the opportunity to transfer the business phone line to me so that he can partake in some type of sport, usually golf or bowling often including one handed aluminum arm curls (drinking) and sometimes will use the time to get a little bit of sleep before he gets the phones sent back to him at 3 or 4am when I go home. As with any job where you answer a phone, write down information, no disseminate it to other employees, I always have a notepad in the center console of my truck so that I may jot down the dispatch information before dispatching it to one of my drivers. I have even managed to keep a few different pens with my notebook without them being reallocated by my wife into her vortex of writing implements that seem to also occasionally fall into a black hole located within the deep recesses of the suitcase that she calls a purse. I have my mobile office set up just the way I like it and love knowing that everything is right where I left it so that it is always at my disposal no matter how quickly I may need to access it. It is a good feeling to be organized!
Shortly after taking control of the company management functions today, the first dispatch call comes in. As always I have my notepad and pen at the ready to record the information. As the caller is giving me the information, I notice that what I am writing is practically illegible to me. I know what I should be writing down because I always repeat what the customer says to ensure that I am understanding them correctly, but my writing hand (I am obviously right handed in case you have not figured that out yet) is writing as if the English language is a foreign concept and is not familiar with the symbols that I mean to be putting on the paper below it. To say my writing is like that of a child would be an insult to any child. My 8 year old has neater pensmanship than the hieroglyphics that I was seeing being scrawled out before me. At this point, I actually had to get the customer to hold so that I could open the notepad app on my iPad just to be able to record the customer information in a manner that would allow me to be able to understand it and relay it to one of my other drivers.
After I took the customers information and called one of my drivers to dispatch them to the customer's location, I looked at the pen in my hand to ensure that it had not been tampered with. You know, perhaps someone thought it would get a good laugh to give me a trick pen, or there was some type of small creature within the pen casing that was working on their Gangnam Style dance atop the ink cartridge causing it to move in a different manner than it normally would when one is trying to write. Upon my completed inspection, the pen appeared to be completely normal in all regards. I again attempted to write some words on the notepad, and again it appeared to be some strange language that I do not ever recall being taught. I have actually seen stroke victims with severe residual side effects write in a more legible manner than I was performing. I then grabbed one of the other pens that I keep in my console and attempted to write with that one hoping that perhaps the pen that I had been using just wasn't sitting properly in my hand and that was the cause for my animalistic scribble. I know for a fact that this pen worked perfectly yesterday, and thus should perform to my writing standards without fail today, however as I moved it over the paper to form the letters that make up my name as I have done for the last 33 years, I was unable to recognize the letters that I had put down.
After this discovery, and some amazement at the hand that I was now staring at as If it had just been implanted onto the end of my wrist by some type of Dr Frankenstein in a secret lab before a bolt of lightning had reanimated the previously dead tissue, I could only come to one conclusion. My right hand has been secretly sneaking off when I am sleeping and engaging in some type of activity such as severe alcoholic intake or the use of illicit drugs. This is the only explanation. My hand is either drunk or high.
Now, before you accuse me of rushing to such a hard judgement against my poor defenseless little hand without any rock solid proof, let me explain my deductive reasoning that led to this unfortunate conclusion and the need for a swift intervention.
A: I do not drink. On very rare occasions I may have 1 mixed drink or 1 beer. These are normally special social occasions where there is some type of celebration going on (ie. birthday, wedding, anniversary, wake) and even then I limit myself to just 1. And, since I am very rarely a social person, and now that I have several symptoms of my disease so noticeable to people around me, I put myself in social situations even more rarely than I did before.
B: I do not use illicit drugs. Yes, I do use several narcotic medications on a daily basis, but I have prescriptions for them all and an unfortunate necessity for them. Granted, I have used marijuana before, but not in the last 18-20 years.
By this deductive reasoning, I have come to the conclusion that my hand is engaging I these damaging behaviors when I am not around to supervise it and it must be stopped. Because of this, my wife and I are going to investigate where my hand has been going, and what bad influences it has been spending time with in the hopes that we can stop this behavior and get my hand the treatment it so desperately seems to need. Once we have isolated the bad influences, we plan to sit down in a warm, soothing and comfortable environment filled with love and try to get it to accept treatment on it's own with our supportive words of encouragement so that it can return itself to the right hand that we all have come to love over these many decades together. I may ask that anyone with any attachment at all write a testimonial to assist us with this intervention that is unfortunately necessary to get "Righty" back onto the straight and legible path that it seems to have wandered away from. With all of our support and love, it will perhaps be able to overwhelm these demons that it is fighting with and will overcome the addiction that seems to have changed it from the "Righty" that I know we all love.
Until then, thank God for the notepad app and for the semi legibility of my left hand! Sometimes I wonder if this is really my life, or just something like it...