Knuckling Under


Today is a fine day. A little drippy outside. Gray and drippy. I slept okay. I should have tried to sleep before midnight, but I was listening to audio podcasts and crocheting.

Yeah, crocheting. A few weeks ago, I thought career as a crocheter might be over. Surprisingly I didn’t have much of a backlash from the carpal tunnel last night. Maybe I can continue to crochet without the pain and numbness in my hands causing me grief on a daily basis. After I finished that blanket last month I was really concerned. My hands actually ached, like they never have before.

Last night, I finished three doilies that have been lying around nearly-finished since Judi was in the hospital last October. My backlog of projects is ridiculous and I should really be more careful with them.

I mean, I do an awful lot of stuff with my hands and I kind of need them. Up until now I’ve always taken them a bit for granted.

I looked at the hands of an older woman while I was helping her near a cash register the other day. They were gnarled and arthritic things, like each knuckle fat macaroni on a necklace made by a child. She struggled to get bills out of her wallet. I looked at my hands and thought, wow. That could be me if I’m not careful.

When I was young, I learned how to pop my knuckles. I don’t remember where I picked up the habit, but I remember the admonition from just-about-everyone who saw me doing it thereafter. “You’ll get arthritis when you’re older,” they said. Yeah.Well… Maybe… But have you ever suffered through the indignity of an unpopped knuckle? That’s not something you want! So I popped my knuckles.

I learned to crochet. And I popped my knuckles.
I played the piano. And I popped my knuckles.

I never thought anything of it. It’s one of those dire warnings you think about, but don’t concern yourself with, because you’re pretty sure it doesn’t apply to you. Like “See those oleanders in the middle of the freeway? Don’t eat *those*. Or “Don’t swallow those watermelon seeds, or one will grow inside of you.”

My hands aren’t that bad really. Carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t osteoarthritis. I just have to rest my hands and do a few flexibility exercises. They feel fat and puffy and unresponsive, especially in the morning. Sometimes, if I’m not careful, I can drop stuff. No grip, but also no pain.

So I crocheted. My stuff looks good and my hands held it together. I still love the beauty and symmetry of the circular designs I create. I love giving them away, when they look splendid. They usually do, especially after I’ve steamed and pressed them with an iron.

But for all that, yeah, it looks like I have old man hands. The veins on the back of my hands pop out at all times now, no longer hiding under the skin like they used to. And the skin no longer fits me quite right.

It’s–oh God–wrinkly and stuff. The struggle is real, my friends.

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2 thoughts on “Knuckling Under”

  1. It’s clear I need to ship you my really cool colors of crochet thread…sigh. I have attempted several of the round doilies and never completed one that I liked or that looked awesome. So, if you would be kind enough to message me your mailing address, I WILL send it! 😉 I will stick to making incredibly awesome afghans! ❤

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  2. I know about such things. Old age pains are real. I never even considered that when growing up. I popped my knuckles too, always have. Not too sure that the old warnings about popping knuckles is true,,,I just know that they feel better after a good round of finger popping. I remember the old 50’s song about finger popping too. It seemed OK then, and it seems OK now. Wrinkles…now that’s another story.

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