Briefly 9/21/17: paresthesia

My friend Mikkie wrote movingly this morning about trying to get relief from nerve pain following on a stroke he had a while back; unfortunately, the only medication for his condition isn’t compatible with other drugs he’s taking, so he’s miserable. In any case, his doctor supplied a name for his condition — a variety of paresthesia — and paresthesia turns out to be, for me, a chronic fact of life, ever since my necrotizing fasciitis disaster of 2003. Constant but low-level, not soul-absorbing (as it’s been for Mikkie).

From Wikipedia:

Paresthesia is an abnormal sensation such as tingling, tickling, pricking, numbness or burning of a person’s skin with no apparent physical cause.[1] The manifestation of a paresthesia may be transient or chronic, and may have any of dozens of possible underlying causes.

The most familiar kind of paresthesia is the sensation known as “pins and needles” or of a limb “falling asleep”. A less well-known and uncommon but important paresthesia is formication, the sensation of bugs crawling underneath the skin.

Addendum from NOAD2: caused chiefly by pressure on or damage to peripheral nerves.

The week of debriding operations that saved my right arm (and my life) severely damaged my ulnar nerve (the one that runs over the elbow joint and gives rise to the term funny bone). My little finger is bent over and useless, my fourth finger only a bit better, and they tingle all the time; some days I can barely write, the two fingers zing electrically, and the shock runs up my arm. Mostly, it’s just an annoyance, never enough to take over my attentional focus or keep me from sleeping. Things have been different for Mikkie.


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