Big Hand HugJune 29, 2022
Acromegaly is a serious growth disorder that results in continuous growth of the body as a result of a benign tumor of the gland that produces growth hormone. Before medication made it possible to suppress this unnatural growth patients would simply grow to their untimely death. Perhaps this is also why there is something poetic/tragic about the “hug” that people suffering from acromegaly give themselves to show medical photographers the extreme growth and deformation of their hands. It is as if they’re comforting themselves while at the same time trying to constrain their undesired physical change.
Our hands, big and small, function as lenses, as measuring devices, as tactile instruments to size up our world. We pick up things. We weigh them in our hands. We touch and seek sensible information through them. Paradoxically people with acromegaly often experience some form of numbness in their extremities simply because their limbs grow too large and too far away from their nerve center. While they desperately try to hold on to life, their growing hands simply lose touch with reality. A similar thing killed the tallest person that ever lived Robert Wadlow when because of the numbness in his feet he didn’t notice a small blister on his foot which became infected. When Robert did notice it was too late.