Last week, I started to get some numbness in my right hand. It got worse and I did a telehealth consultation via Oscar. I was hoping she would say it was a physical injury and that I could go to my primary care doctor the next day for a check-in. Instead she said, "I can't rule out that this could be something neurological and I suggest you go to Urgent care or the ER...right now."
So instead of taking it seriously, I did what a lot of men do, which is start making excuses. I pushed back because I have one toddler and a newborn - didn't want to potentially expose myself to Covid unnecessarily. I made some more excuses, but she pressed and I conceded. I went to urgent care and they turned me away and suggested I go to the ER right away because they thought it could be serious and had no way of dealing with a potential stroke. This made me a tad bit worried...
Upon arriving at St. Joseph Hospital, I struggled to write my info down because the numbness was strong. I told them what was going on and they got me in quickly. I saw a nurse within 30 minutes and a doctor within an hour or so. The doctor ran a series of tests on me and ruled out a stroke. Phew!
However, after 5-6 hours and x-rays, he could not confirm the diagnosis either. Likely an entrapped ulner nerve. At one point, he recommended a neurologist, but then ultimately just suggested to see my primary care doctor as a follow-up. All of this hit me both physically and mentally. A stroke scare and now an injury that would sideline me from work, tennis and most importantly, my kids / house work. I felt a range of emotions: anger, guilt, and so much more.
It's been five (5) days now and my hand is still numb and now a little painful. I have my follow-up appointment today and hoping this is a speedy recovery. But at the end of the day, it wasn't a stroke. And I'm fortunate. I'm grateful. I won't be able to take copious notes during my meetings or do as much work as I'd like to around the house or work out, but that's okay. This is a wake-up call!
It's Men's Health Month and this could not be more relevant. It's okay if you're physical health struggles from time to time. It's okay if you need to take a mental health day too. Especially as men, the stigma and internal pressure we put on ourselves is too much. I encourage men to take time off as needed, go see a doctor if you need to and I always tell my team to take time off if they need it as well. I'm not so good at that, but I'm trying. If we are building a culture around physical and mental health at my company, I need to lead by example. I'm not perfect and I'm human and as a man, I need to do my part. This month I'm committing to keep persisting to be better to my own health and leading by example.
Happy Men's Health month to all the men out there.
PS If anyone has any tips on how to take care of an entrapped ulner nerve, I'm ALL EARS! Wish me luck. 😅