It’s been gloriously sunny and this evening Will and I soaked it up as we went from work to a pub in Brixton, with him pushing his bike and me pushing myself in my wheelchair. We were off to meet our friends Bunny and Fran for a drink.
Half way through the twenty-minute journey I took my gloves off so I could get a better grip on the wheels. As I took the left glove off I noticed an unfamiliar movement. My little finger moved clumsily but quickly to one side when asked to. This may not sound extraordinary but it made me beam because this finger hasn’t shown such ease of movement for well over a year. I proudly showed Will my regained dexterity, he grinned and pointed out that I could once again make the sign for ‘naughty’ in Makaton (a simple form of sign language) if I wanted to.
On Boxing Day 2013 the muscles in my hands suddenly started to spasm, making them very hard to move. I’d developed a type of dystonia, and this was incredibly upsetting for me. Thankfully some botox injections a few weeks later made a big difference.
But although my hands were much better, some movements still took a lot of effort to make, with the three smallest fingers on my left hand being the least responsive. Even so I was really happy with the improvement the Botox made and I got on with using my hands as normally as I could.
A few months later I noticed the Botox wearing off – the muscles in my hands were getting tighter again, but they weren’t anywhere near as bad as they had been, so I carried on as usual.
More recently I talked about having more Botox with my consultant, and earlier this week I had the injections. They take a little while to work so I didn’t notice any improvement straightaway, but the stirring of my little finger this evening showed that it was starting to kick in.
By dinnertime my ring finger was coming back to life as well. And a few moments ago as I sat down to write this I noticed I could stretch my middle finger without it shaking with the effort. It’s been emotional testing out my newly-liberated digits.
The movement in both my hands is still quite uncoordinated and, strangely, being able to move my fingers more freely has made me more aware of how tight some other parts of my hands still feel. But overall, it’s great news – and if my hands get tighter again in a few months, more Botox is definitely an option.
A few moments ago I celebrated this new freedom of movement by straightening both my middle fingers and then sticking them up, tall and proud, at the lamp-post.
The lamp-post stood still, unfazed by my rude salute, even when it was accompanied by these menacing words from my tics:
“Imagine if we gave the lamp-post Botox.”