Dead arm.

I’ve been favouring my left thumb all week.  Applying pressure to it causes a dull pain in the first joint from the hand.   I thought I’d pulled a muscle somehow, but tonight the bone in that joint feels tender and mushy.

I couldn’t tell you what I did to it, but I’ll hazard a guess: it happened in the middle of the night.  I usually sleep on my back, but sometimes I’ll roll over onto my stomach in the middle of the night, tucking my arms under the pillow.  This always results in at least one of my arms falling asleep.  It’s a rather unnerving experience and it doesn’t get less so.  An asleep arm is essentially a dead arm and I have very little control of it, if any.  On the nights when I wake up and become aware of this asleep arm I have to move very slowly and deliberately roll around in a way that will force my arm to flop over with the rest of my body.  I worry that one day I will roll over unaware of my sleeping arm and actually roll right onto it, so that it’s laying flat across and underneath my back, torn from its socket at my shoulder.

I think my tender thumb might be a foretaste of just such a thing.

6 thoughts on “Dead arm.

  1. Don Hendricks

    Yes, the old dead arm routine. I usually swing it wildly around in hopes it will return to the land of the living. So far, it always has. Your scenario perhaps may lead to bleeding to death.

    Funny, though I worry about your thumbbone.


  2. Ian H.

    Well, thanks for that disturbing mental image – that’s going to have me worried…

    I once woke up abruptly in the middle of the night thinking there was something in my room, and was hit on the head. I started to panic until I realised that what had hit me on the head was my own numb arm swinging out of control…

  3. Simon

    That could be a premise for a new M. Night Shyamalan movie, you know?

    “Signs near a Village of a Lady in the Water who has a Sixth Sense and a Dead Arm.”

  4. Marc


    No, I refuse to leave you with only a “lol” in reply. To be honest, I don’t like the LOL, nor most other internet shorthand, but it’s so blasted handy and easy to do. Plus, it was a lie. I didn’t laugh out loud (is there any other possible way to laugh?). I did chuckle audibly, but don’t let the chuckle—traditionally a less valuable response to a joke than laughter—mislead you: I thought your joke was mighty clever and well worth a laugh, but I am in the office, you see, and felt that anything beyond a chuckle would land me in the proverbial hot water.

    There. That’s better than a LOL, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?

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