Monday, February 10, 2003

I was reading the insert that came with my new wrist brace, and came across an interesting medical condition, “Gamekeepers’ Thumb”. Uh huh, that’s right. Evidently, there must be some sort of occupational hazard relating to the keeping of game, and not what one would ordinarily consider. At first guess, I’d imagine being bitten by a wild ostrich or butted in the head by an angry ewe to be the normal injuries of game keeping. Well dear reader, I’m about to enlighten you.

According to an article written by Dr. Matthew Hannibal, MD; and Dr. Daniel Roger, MD; Gamekeeper’s thumb harks back to the 50’s. The article, published on the eMedicine web site states the following: “ as the gamekeepers sacrificed the rabbits by breaking their necks between the ground and their thumbs and index fingers. The thumb would be injured as a result of the valgus force on an abducted metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint. The ulnar collateral injury would result in instability accompanied by pain and weakness of the pinch grasp.”

Amazing. Wondering if I too, was a sufferer of Gamekeeper’s Thumb, I mulled over my activity of the last few months. First, I started with the way I killed rabbits. Had I been following in the tradition of those great Scotsmen of yore?, or did I just slit their little throats with those newfangled knife thingies. AH HA! Caught you! Trick question! I never killed a rabbit in my life! Ever! How could I look into those sweet little eyes and cap them? I don’t kill much of anything, not counting a few brain cells now and then. Yes, I’ve killed my share of bugs, usually out of the sight of my youngest son, who takes the stance that, “we’ve got to help him find his family”.

So, as I come back to reality, I do wonder how my wrist came to be so tender and sore. I’ve been told that sleeping the wrong way can produce tendonitis type issues. OK there’s the connection. We all count sheep, right? I bet, as I fall asleep, I’m counting sheep, goats, llamas, and… wabbits. Pesky one’s at that. AND, I bet I’m using my THUMB to count. I’m sure if I set up a video cam at night, it’ll film me jabbing the air with my left thumb, as I count. Mystery solved.

I guess I should mention that the article continues on to say that skiers sometimes suffer from the same injury. So - there I was in Valdez, Alaska, at the World Extreme Skiing Championship, waiting my turn …well, that’s a story for another day.