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Clinched Fists and Jazz Hands

Posted Dec 12 2008 3:42pm

I am preoccupied with hands.

When I look at the long fingers and relaxed hands of others in my Rockyettes dance ensemble, I am jealous. In contrast, my fingers are short, and my hands are often clenched and achy. 

clenched fist

As a child, I was ashamed by my nail-bitten hands. Embarrassment led to clenching.

As an adult when diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a number of neurological tests were administered that involved my hands such as:

  • Waving to the queen
  • Imitating chicken dance hands
  • Tapping my thumb and index finger as quickly and big as possible
  • Fanning out my hands with space between each finger (like the jazz hand), while the neurologist tries to compress the fingers back together
  • Gripping two fingers of my neurologist as tightly as possible

Shaky hands have caused me to hide my hands in my pocket or behind my back. While my hands are less shaky since deep brain stimulation, my clenched fists remain.

I am determined to combat my clenched hand problem. I suspect that it’s something similar to speaking loudly and remembering to cue myself by “Think Loud.”

I’m cuing myself all the time with these self-commands:

  • Think loud when I speak.
  • Think swing your arm when you walk.
  • Think drive between the lines.
  • Think relax (I haven’t come even close to mastering this command).
  • Think stand up straight.
  • Think smile to cover up that Parkinson’s mask.
  • Think chew my food slowly.

And the latest, think jazz hands!                 jazz hand

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