Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Impaired & Impatient

I have a problem. Well, actually, I have many, but one of my big problems right now is that I am developing quite a little case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Nothing major for the most part - just some tingling and numbness in my hand and my palm, and the feeling that my right hand is particularly swollen and kind of useless at times.

For the most part, it isn't really "triggered" and I don't feel the symptoms when I'm typing or reading. However, my budding disease does become a problem when I have to write in-class essays or midterm "short-answers" or long-answer final exams, since these are all written by hand and during a short, allotted amount of time. If I have to write down all of my many run-on-sentence thoughts, in just a few short minutes my hand starts to cramp and then numb out. Then, my writing gets much messier and my writing speed dips significantly. Eventually, I have to stop writing altogether, and shake my hand out to try to get some blood back into it. Then I begin writing and the vicious cycle commences several more times before my essay is done. By then, my hand is pretty much done as well.

I met with the U's student disability services department. They said that I'm out of luck; until I get an official diagnosis from a specialist, they cannot help me. I called the specialist. They said the waiting list is 3 to 6 months long and then there is a 2-week scheduling period. My midterms take place in 1 month, and my finals in 3.

So, now I'm impaired, I have to beg my profs to see if they will permit special allowances for my exam-writing, and I have to wait a long time just to get diagnosed, while my poor hand (and median nerve) continue to deteriorate and my right hand grows more swollen.

I am impaired and impatient. And it's only gonna get worse, so it seems. GRRR!


Natalie said...

Wow that is really unfair. I hope that your professors are cool enough to give you a little extra time. Maybe they have an old typewriter in the back somewhere they could pull out and let you use since you said typing isn't that bad. Best of luck.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

No, they aren't technically allowed to make any concessions for students without proof of the disability (whether a learning disability or a medical one). I think the only time they make overt adaptations without documentation is when the student has a visible physical disability (like CP or blindness or they're quadraplegic).

Unfortunately for me, CTS is not visible and thus I will need to pray that the stinkin' specialist hurries me in fast!

Wynn said...

as a former carpal tunnel sufferer, I highly recommend getting wrist braces for each effected wrist, wear them ALL THE TIME especially when typing!!! you can take them off to write, but get them back on... that is all you really need to do, it will go away if you take care of it sooner! don't wait 6 months! or you may have surgery issues!