Wrist Pain and Careless Behavior in the Workplace

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

November 8th, 2008 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

Yesterday I went to a long-awaited meeting with the leadership of a prestigious institution, to discuss collaboration on a project.  We had a great connection, and it was a dynamic meeting — with lots of exciting ideas tossed around. 

As I was writing notes toward the end of the meeting, one of the individuals got up and, in a gesture of affection, leaned on my right wrist (as opposed to, you know, lightly touching my arm) — saying how lovely it was to meet with me and how she hoped to speak soon. 

At that moment, I was in the middle of saying something to another individual across the table.  So all of a sudden, I had a confusion of signals racing around in my brain:

She’s leaning on my wrist.  What.  The Fuck.  I can’t pull my hand out, because that will make it worse.  I can yell stop.  She won’t understand what I’m talking about.  She’s being affectionate.  How do I switch emotional tracks.  I can’t yell in this environment.  Nobody understands what’s going on. Professional decorum.

 Any minute now, she’ll take her hand away. I’m in the middle of talking.  How do I switch verbal tracks.  Stop.  No.  Don’t.  If I yell any of those, she might get confused and frozen.  That will exacerbate the situation.  Breathe.  Positive thoughts.  It’s going to be okay. My wrist isn’t hurting. She’s not taking her hand away.  I need to tell her to take her hand away.

About four or five seconds had passed, when I finally understood what I needed to do, then began telling this woman to move her hand off my wrist.  By then, she already was removing her hand; and she couldn’t hear me anyhow, because she was speaking.

After the incident, I moved my wrist around, and it felt okay.  Maybe, I thought,  I have healed enough by now that everything is fine.

But as often happens, the impact didn’t hit until minutes later, and it got progressively worse — until my hand and forearm were numb, and my fingers were tingling with nerve shots.  I became barely able to move my hand, and as the afternoon progressed, the pain and limited mobility spread to my elbow, shoulder, and upper right back.

By the time I got home, I had to eat with plastic utensils, because it was too painful to lift a regular fork or spoon.

The good news is that I was not as freaked out as I was when a similar thing happened in 2003. In addition, despite my desire to inhale the kitchen in response, I stayed away from the food and instead turned to dance and energy healing.  As my mom pointed out, I have a slew of skills to draw from now.

While dancing, the pain in my hand, arm, and shoulder decreased, and the mobility increased, dramatically.  After dancing, however, it returned to about where it was before.  I took a long, hot shower, letting the water pelt on my shoulder, upper back, and arm, which softened everything and made me feel better. The energy healing I did with my mom also seemed to help, and I fell asleep after a few minutes.

I’m trying to stay in the place of positivity and the present moment — focusing my attention on where I’m at right now and what I can do to heal myself, rather than getting caught up in frustration and anger.


Greg Katz November 11th, 2008

I’m impressed by your level of mindfulness. Your description is that worthy of a sequence in a movie, the scene shown in slow motion, showing your thought process and the eventual outcome.

Your ability to shift into wellness mode is inspiring. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, you took action that alleviated your level of distress physically, emotionally and spiritually. I believe it’s this level of sharing that can transform the world of those facing health challenges.

Keep on dancing!!

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