Hand job: Disovering the ulnar bursa

MUSCATINE, Iowa — The moral of today’s story is: It stinks to get old.

Of course, the story itself is longer than five words and I’m going to work through the pain to type them all.

The beginning: Sunday night, Maggie Curry, executive director of the Muscatine Center for Social Action, sent an email in which she asked if I’d be available Monday to help move some furniture.

Sepp and Leona Fortenbacher of Muscatine had donated some furniture, Maggie said, for a family being counseled by Barb Fick, MCSA’s community resource  coordinator and housing advocate. Maggie said her husband, Tom, who is also head of maintenance at MCSA, might need some help picking up the donated items, which would be big and heavy.

In no particular order, I think Maggie asked if I could help because she knows I am:

1. On the board of MCSA.

2. Unemployed at the moment and not as busy as I might be otherwise.

3. Kind of a big lug who has often been asked through the years if I could help move furniture.

To make a long story short, Tom, three other volunteers and I spent about two hours picking up a bedroom set, a sofa and a love seat.

So why does it stink to get old? Mainly because I can barely make fists this morning with both hands. My typing is a little slower than normal.

Some of the bedroom furniture, in particular, was heavy and hard to hold while working it through doors and hallways. And I can tell you my hands and fingers were carrying too much weight and my arms, shoulders, back and legs weren’t carrying enough. With some trepidation, I must confess it appears my hands have been overlooked in the extra time I’ve been spending lately at the gym.

I say all of this reluctantly because I have friends who are:

1. Family-practice doctors who may read this only to tell me I’ve done some kind of damage to tendons in my fingers or to the ulnar bursa (which is where most of the soreness appears to be located, based on my reading of the accompanying graph.)  Note: BTW, did you know there are no actual muscles in your hands? I didn’t until I started working on this. The muscles we use to operate our hands are in our wrists and arms.

2. Fitness and trainer-types at the Muscatine Community Y who will no doubt have something worked up by the next time they see me to improve my hand strength.

I can hardly wait for that even if I am hoping Maggie doesn’t call again for at least a day or two.

Actually, I was happy to help. And thank you, Sepp and Leona, for your very nice donation to MCSA.

Today’s quote: One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels. — Gustave Flaubert, French novelist (1821-80)