Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Shaking hands

I was very interested to hear a programme today on radio 4 devoted to a medical condition called Essential Tremor, because I am one of the "two or three per hundred" who suffer from it. In my case it affects my hands virtually all the time, and occasionally my head and legs.

I was surprised the programme did not mention the fact that sufferers can in fact have very good fine motor skills. I know this for sure because I can usually do my water colour painting with no trouble, and, especially for botanical studies, I can produce tiny details and thin lines, easily; I think it's because I'm resting my hand on the paper and that stops it. I admit that sometimes I can't paint - for example when my blood sugar level is low from not having eaten regularly enough, or when I am tired. Or very stressed. Stress makes the tremor a million times worse.

In fact, it was surprising that they did not mention the effect blood sugar level has on the tremor at all, but only mentioned the beneficial effects of alcohol (and I can vouch for them well and good).

When I did my PGCE (primary school teacher certificate) the year before last, my hands shook so badly on my first teaching experience that for the first time in my life I resorted to taking beta blockers. They did work to a certain extent but I would definitely not want to keep taking them and I think that this is probably the main reason why I've not tried to get a teaching job. (I did pass the course and I've got the certificate to prove it, in case you were wondering). I could not do the job without the Proponolol (beta blockers), as it is work that is so stressful that I would be shaking so much I couldn't do anything.

Why did I find teaching so stressful? I blame the evil psychopaths who call themselves teacher tutors. (Not all of them I hastily add). And I blame the constant fear felt by headmasters, and teachers, of Ofsted inspectors. And I blame a too-rigid National Curriculum, that is too strictly adhered too. And I blame the parents (all teachers blame the parents) for bringing their children up to be insubordinate, disruptive and with an attitude incompatible to learning. So there. Oh yes, and I blame myself for being unable to stand up to it.


  • At 12 August, 2005 21:14, Blogger Nick said…

    Irene - thanks, from a fellow-sufferer, for the info on the programme (which I missed) & the website. Casts an entirely new light upon something that made adolescence a misery & still occasionally embarrasses. I can vouch for the effects of both blood sugar level & light alcohol consumption.

  • At 13 August, 2005 22:26, Blogger Irene Adler said…

    Well, that is interesting. I've not met anyone else with this - I don't think mine is familial/inherited.

    One other thing - I've found that digital photography can be tricky (when entirely sober).

  • At 14 August, 2005 21:22, Blogger Nick said…

    I hasten to add this is entirely self-diagnosed, so it's possible there may be thyroid or adrenal problems underlying. I suppose I really ought to get my GP to sort out a proper diagnosis. Two cousins suffer from it too, I believe.

  • At 14 August, 2005 22:43, Blogger Irene Adler said…

    I only got it diagnosed because my boss, an orthopaedic surgeon, arranged an appointment for me with the consultant neurologist. He did this off his own bat, without my asking - I think he was curious what was the matter! This was when I was a medical secretary. I actually worked for the neurologist too, fifteen years later. (A few years ago). He'd forgotten I'd consulted him. He told me he lies to all his patients, to spare them bad news!!!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home