Is this a Paul Simon song, or is it a Los Lobos song? Who can say?
Of all the symptoms I’ve experienced over the past six years, fingerprint destruction has to be the weirdest.
I first heard it mentioned as something that happens in ME/CFS within the first couple years I was ill. I remember looking at my fingertips, which looked fine to me, and thinking to myself that this must belong with the WAKE UP SHEEPLE people.
When I went to see Cheney last year, during the physical exam he did, he said to his assistant, “One to two plus fingerprint changes.” So I asked him what he was seeing, because I still didn’t know what he was looking at. He told me the horizontal lines across my fingerprints were what he was noting, and that the degree to which I had them wasn’t normal. At the time, I still didn’t really see what he was seeing. I did know that since I’ve been ill, I’ve developed a permanent case of “prune hands.” My fingers have vertical creases that make them always look like I’ve just gotten out of the bathtub.
At right is a slide from a talk given by Dr. Cheney at the 2010 Invest in ME conference, in which he theorizes that the loss of fingerprints is caused by a high degree of oxidative stress and/or immune activation, both of which occur in ME/CFS. Apparently, immune activation can produce elastase and MMP-9, the former of which breaks down elastin (which is what gives skin its elastic quality) and the latter of which breaks down collagen.
Now I see it. My fingertips look exactly like that.
It’s actually a bit uncomfortable to use the trackpad on my laptop. I don’t know if it’s because my fingertips are so smooth or because of changes in the elastin and collagen, but it doesn’t feel good to slide my fingers along the surface of the trackpad, and that didn’t use to be the case.
Additionally: I bought this laptop in 2007. It has a fingerprint scanner you can use to log in. I set it up when I first got the machine, and I never use it, because I have an admin account that you log into with a password rather than a fingerprint scan. But the other day, I couldn’t get into my usual admin account, so I went to log in using the fingerprint scanner.
No matter how many times I tried to scan my finger, I couldn’t get it to work.