The day after getting in our first cutting hay I noticed that three fingers on my left hand
had gone numb. I figured I had just lifted one bale too many. We had worked hard in
getting all the hay baled and in the barn before the next thunderstorm. Lee had me tell my
doctor when a month later it was no better and now all the fingers were numb off and on
throughout the day.
The doctor set me up with an appointment for "tests" to see if I had carpal tunnel
syndrome or a pinched nerve. The "tests" were another month away so I continued
working in hay and taking care of the goats. Also found it quite handy to swat wasps with
Now to me the "tests" were probably just squeezing a rubber ball and telling the doctor if
I felt strong about it or not. It never occurred to me to ask in detail what the "tests" would
"Test" day arrived and Lee was off and drove me to the doctorís. While sitting there
happily reading fairly up to date magazines, a nurse came out helping a little old guy walk
to his waiting wife. She informed the wife that the tests really hurt and he was still
unsteady on his feet.
My ears stood up to points and my feet were already aimed towards the door when the
nurse told me it was my turn. I looked at Lee.
"Youíre coming with me," I said.
He jumped up to go in with me and the nurse stopped him and said he couldnít come
with me because, after all, these were "tests". I informed her he could come with me. She
said he couldnít. I said he could, but Lee clenched it and went and sat down. She herded
me up the hallway seeing as how I was ready to bolt. I continued arguing that Lee really
could come with me. I didnít mind. Plus, I was thinking, if anyone hurt me heíd knock
their block off. She must have read my mind.
She put me in a room with a stiff, hard, one fourth of a table with a sheet of paper on it
and told me to take off my top and to put on this piece of paper and lie down. I
questioned about taking off my top since the "tests" were only suppose to be from the
elbow down to my hand. She gave me the "look" and I did as she said. I believe they
make you undress this way to make you more submissive. Well, they had another
thought coming if they thought Iíd be submissive.
I stared hard at all the gadgets near my hard little table they were calling a bed. She sat
down and started attaching electrodes to my hand after she had made me wash it to get it
"warm." I asked her what she was doing.
"You will receive some shocks from each of these electrodes to see if your nerves are
working properly. It will sting a little," she informed me.
HA! I thought. My electric fencer is bigger then your contraption and Iíve been zapped
by the best fencer on the whole East Coast. Our main fences for the goats are electric.
This puny little gadget wouldnít tickle a bug.
"Are you ready?" she asked.
A tiny tingle went up my index finger.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
HA! I laugh in your face, I thought. "Fine, fine," I said.
The tingling continued. I almost laughed out loud. If they thought this was a shock they
needed to come to my farm. Iíd show them a shock. Try standing in wet grass and
accidentally bending over and touching your head to the electric fence. Now, thatís a
She went to the center of my hand and flicked the switch. I was caught like a fish on a
line and bounced up and down on the hard table for a few seconds.
"OH, OH, OH!!" I shouted, mildly complaining. "That hurt!"
"Well, itís your own fault. You tensed up," she said.
I could see our dialog wasnít going to improve, so I shut up.
She turned her switches off and sat looking disapproving at me. "The doctor will be in to
test your muscles. He uses needles," she said with satisfaction.
An eternity later the doctor appeared. He was very young, over weight, and hands so soft
I pretended I didnít notice so as not to embarrass him. My own hands had so many
calluses on them that they had started to move from the palms to the back of my hands to
make room for all the new calluses. Calluses always meant to me a hard worker and a
strong back, and this poor young doctor had not even one callus, except possibly one for
reaching into his wallet to put more money in.
He started taking out what looked to be 18 gauge needles with 2-inch lengths, splashing
them with alcohol and splashing my arm and hand with alcohol.
"Hi," I said weakly, glad I hadnít mentioned about his lack of calluses.
"We will check your muscles to see if there is damage," he proclaimed to the room, and
plunged a needle in my arm, attached an electrode and zapped me.
"Now, push against my hand with your arm," he announced to the room.
Still being zapped, I thought, "Two can play this game, bud," and tried to knock him off
his stool with my arm muscle.
Iíve lifted too many hay bales to be weak. A surprised look came over his face.
"Uh, good, good." He quickly stabbed me in the lower arm and zapped. "Try to lift
against my hand."
I did my best to toss him to the other side of his console. He quickly removed his hand
and stabbed me in the hand in three places, and started zapping.
"Push your thumb against my hand," and he braced himself against the table. It almost
killed me but I tried to force him to his knees.
He turned loose fast and started taking out the needles. My hand and arm was one big
"No muscle or nerve damage, yet. But, you are starting to get carpal tunnel syndrome.
Continue wearing your brace at night and when the pain gets too bad, we will operate."
I thought, when goats fly.
Now Iím wondering, my feet have been feeling almost the same as my hand. Do people
get carpal tunnel feet? Ankle? And, if the brace helps, Iíve got ideas of using PVC pipe
and duct tape that just might work. But, Iíd better get a patent on it. Someone else might
see how useful this might be and copy.
And, I certainly hope these goats appreciate the effort I go through to keep them in hay.
Connie Reynolds - Autumn Farm