Hand Therapy

The weather has been very nice. The nighttime temperatures often dropped below 20, but the daytime temps rose into the high 30s and 40s. Our snow is mostly gone, but we are supposed to get several inches soon–tonight, I think. Yuck, I like winter, but this one has been tough and I’m ready for it to end.

My appointment with my hand surgeon was this morning. The nurse used some sort of power tool to saw the cast off. I didn’t look because I imagined the tool accidentally cutting into my arm. I gave my camera to JJ and asked him to take a few photos of the saw cutting through the cast so I could gradually look later when I was ready and see what it looked like. I was disappointed–but I suppose not really surprised–that he didn’t take any closeup photos of my arm. He thought it was funnier to take photos of my stressed face. I’ve never, ever liked photos of myself and certainly not when I look distressed. Bummer. This is why I usually stay behind the camera instead of in front of it.

I took this photo of my misshapen hand

I am super empathetic, which makes medical appointments difficult because I tend to faint. But I did not faint when the cast was taken off and I did not faint this time when x-rays were taken of my hand. I managed to wash my hand at the sink after the x-ray without fainting. I didn’t faint even though I was appalled when I saw my swollen and misshapen hand. I didn’t look on the inside of my wrist because I didn’t want to see the scar. I definitely would have fainted then because I can’t help but imagine the surgeon’s knife opening up my hand. But I looked at the x-ray photos the doctor showed me without fainting. I did get faint when she asked me to move my hand and fingers this way and that. I was barely able to move them at all.

After the doctor appointment, I had to go to occupational therapy, which is located in a different section of the doctor’s office. I was afraid that it would be unpleasant and I would faint again. It is very unpleasant to faint. The therapist saw how dry my skin and she massaged lotion into it. I was surprised at how gentle and good the massage felt to my injured hand.

My newest splint

The therapist said that on this first visit she would most concentrate on getting my splint on. She put a sort of sock on my arm. Then she heated up some sort of material until it was flexible and formed it around my wrist. She cut away parts until it fit well on me and then put on velcro straps. This is a removable splint. I have to wear it all the time for two weeks–except when I do my hand exercises or shower. Then for two weeks, I need to wear it only when I go away from home or do chores. Then for two weeks I can wear it occasionally–like when I do chores.

The therapist gave me instructions on how to move my fingers and hand indifferent ways, much as the doctor had. I have very little movement. I could barely bend my fingers or wrist, I couldn’t straighten my fingers all the way, and I can’t twist my wrist. She showed me how to do various stretching exercises, each of which I have to repeat 10 times four times a day. My arm is sore and the exercises aren’t comfortable so I watch Netflix when I do them to distract my mind.

The therapist offered me the option of having the therapy done at the hospital that is closer to our home, but when I called them they said their OT only works 20 hours per week and isn’t available when JJ can take me, so I called today’s therapist back. I have another appointment with her this Thursday. She said that usually they like patients to come twice a week at first, but she knows I have to work around JJ’s schedule so she said we’d discuss how to work that out on Thursday. I feel bad that JJ has to take me so often, and he wasn’t thrilled either, but I need this therapy so my hand will work. EJ can’t get so much time off work and I can’t drive myself, so I’m hoping JJ will be patient about taking me. I told him that as soon as I am able, I will drive myself so it shouldn’t be too many weeks that he has to take me. I hope.

One Comment on “Hand Therapy

  1. That’s amazing how your hand looked after the cast was removed. I am sure it was the heavy cast causing the misshapen hand. Onward and upward til the splints and therapy are done and over with and you are back to normal again … yes, this Winter is overly long this season, even if it is not officially Spring yet … we are getting more snow tonight, just when it gets clear again. We had a wintry mix this morning, but it melted away in the afternoon but what’s coming tonight is not going anywhere soon.


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