Intentionally getting one's hand cut open (surgery, and the results)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Explorer, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Okay, so I've had some hand problems over the years, but recently they kicked into overdrive. I could barely type at work, and that night I couldn't play.

    So, I made an appointment, had a consultation, and then went under the knife (not all the same day).

    I've been typing with one hand, and last night tried something simple on guitar. Ouch! No go!

    The operation on my left hand was on Wednesday. I hate painkillers, since I can't think as clearly, so I'm currently off them (maybe a mistake).

    I know that however long it takes for my left hand to be workable, it will take just as long for the right hand (to be operated on once the left is strong enough for, say, wiping my ass, cooking and eating).

    I think I have to buy a harmonica....
     
    Double A, synrgy and Alberto7 like this.
  2. pawel

    pawel SS.org Regular

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    <lurk mode = off>

    It's not quite the same, but I fractured both joints of my left hand pinky and index finger in May, had surgery, metal wires inserted in my fingers for 6 weeks, 6 weeks of splint, and physio since then. I still can't fully make a fist with the left hand, but started playing again and would say I managed to get back to around 75%-80% of my (limited) ability, and see improvement almost daily now.

    So, all this is a roundabout way of saying that you'll get playing again - you may need to adjust your style/position/setup etc. but you'll get back to it. In the meantime there is also slide guitar/lap steel ;)

    <lurk mode=on>
     
  3. Insightibanez

    Insightibanez Red Five Standing By Contributor

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    I can understand where your coming from. I recently cracked some bones in my right hand and bent my knuckle 45 degrees down. Its not as bad as it sounds. The doctors wanted to drill into my hand and skewer my bones togeather but I made the choice on letting it heal on its own and see what happens.
    For the first week I took some painkillers (which I don't like to do) but the pain was too much plus I had to work.
    Its been about 4 weeks now and its as good as new. Yeah, my knuckle looks funny when I make a fist but I did save myself a few thousand dollars in medical bills, and some time recovering.

    I wish you a safe and fast recovery.
     
  4. skeels

    skeels ..to pay the beels

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    Dude, that sucks big time. I totally sympathize with you. Last year, I had some nerve damage in my right arm and was afraid I wasn't going to be able play anymore. Hang in there. Stay optimistic and not negative. Nothing will jack your own ability to heal yourself like being down in the dumps. I sincerely hope everything goes good with your hands. Take care of yourself and if you find yourself bummin' reach out and somebody will be there to help you get your head together.
     
  5. Alberto7

    Alberto7 Sillygoose Engineering

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    Ouch... That's literally one of the things I fear the most; my hands not being fully functional.
    The only time that one of my hands became useless, was when I fractured my forearm's bone right behind the wrist. The bones, very fortunately, stayed in place, and the recovery was relatively fast and without a lot of pain. But the 3 weeks I did spend with a cast on my right arm were pretty terrible.
    It might be nothing compared to other people's experiences (and yours), but it had a big enough impact on me that it made me realize how much worse it could have been.

    Here's hoping the best for your health and for you to be able to work/play/use your hands again!
     
  6. The Reverend

    The Reverend GHETTO KING OF SWAG

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    Oh wow, I had no idea all this stuff was going on with you, brother. If you don't mind, what exactly was the problem that needed fixing? Hands are in many ways the most important part of our bodies, it sucks that yours will be sorta shitty for a while.

    I'm sure you'll heal up just fine, though. You're one of the healthiest people I've ever talked to! :yesway:
     
  7. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Ouch man. Carpal Tunnel, Cubital Tunnel or something else?

    Ray
     
  8. GalacticDeath

    GalacticDeath SS.org Regular

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    I hope your hand heals up soon dude. I'm sure you'll be able to do all the things you used to. You'll probably be shreddin in no time, just gotta give yourself time to heal. Let us know how your progress is going
     
  9. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Thanks, folks!

    As to the cause... it's one of those mixed blessings. I put away calcium like nobody's business, so breaks and such are never a problem, and normally just a matter of 2 or 3 weeks.

    However... the downside is that I get calcium deposits and nodules, and thickening of tendons and other skeletal/joint tissues.

    So, the tendons of my fingers thickened. Each one slides through a sheath at the base of that finger where it joins the palm. They had thickened to where it hurt to close my hands, and then if I went too far, the thickened part was through the sheath and unable to slide back up, locking the fingers in. I'd have to release it with either the other hand or with a convenient edge (table top, doorway, etc.). Sucks when you're in the gym and you can't release a free weight, or when you're carrying groceries or a guitar case and a bag and can't let go. *laugh*

    So I spent some years trying to get by without taking in more than a certain amount of calcium, but it made me deficient in other ways. After I had other problems, I said, fuck this, and went back to the diet I had had for years. The calcium levels built up again, but at least I wasn't having iron problems or other issues.

    (Warning: graphic content from here)

    Recently, though, one of my fingers suddenly hurt much more. I scheduled a consultation, and surgery. The surgeon suspected that she'd find something different, and she did, as the tendon of that finger had a new nodule which was ripping the sheath up from the inside, in addition to locking.

    I did a lot of research before I went to the consultation, and the main surgical procedure is to release the tendon... by cutting the sheath open. That means I don't have that sheath guiding each individual tendon. I couldn't find much on the long term effects of this, but since I couldn't use my hands in a normal way, I imagine that I'll burn that bridge when I come to it (if there are problems to come, which I don't know).

    I just took off the dressings today, and although I'll not be posting a picture (I think the rules here forbid graphic content), it's not as bad as it could be. The incisions for each finger look clean, and the area is just itchy without being painful.

    (End graphic content)

    On the plus side, I have great health insurance. I work at a place where, although it's budgeting time, our CFO told me that in a year's time, I'll probably feel glad that I took it easy, and that would be preferable to them than my getting in my budget on time.

    Also, my resistance/quick metabolizing of painkillers and anaesthesia is still there. I thought it might slow down as I got older, but I could feel the stitches going in and the thread pulling through, so it took me roughly 17 minutes to burn through the stuff they put in to keep you numb for a few hours. The oxycodone was pretty much useless too except for making me slightly less alert, so the doctor allowed me to discontinue it after one day.

    I had them fax in a note to my workplace, so that I have many sets of eyes on me to prevent me from lifting more than 5 pounds with the bandaged hand. (Sometimes it's hard to follow limits.)

    And, the best part? I'm hoping to get the other hand done in a few weeks, so I will be babying this one so as not to f' it up, and to thereby get the surgeon's trust so that we can get the other hand out of the way.

    So, another few weeks, some more surgery, and then I can pick up some basic books of guitar exercises and learn some skills from the ground up while using them as my form of hand therapy and rehabilitation. Now is the time and the opportunity to really work some core skills, and to work on truly perfect form. It will be like learning Tai Chi Chuan, slow movement and perfection of technique built up before moving onto doing those movements and techniques at speed.

    Wow, this took some time to do with one hand. I need to take a break.

    Anyway, thanks for all the good wishes.
     
  10. Ancestor

    Ancestor Contributor

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    ha, i forgot you were typing with one hand until you reminded me at the end!

    i hope you feel better soon, man. i know that's a huge annoyance. :(
     
  11. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    Get well dude.

    Interesting tidbit I got is your resistance to pain meds, like you Oxys don't do much for me, just take the edge off, and make me smile (I would say a little more, but smile at all is more realistic), otherwise I am fully functioning, even on other opiates/morphine. It sucks in the sense that you are stuck with whatever you got either way, consequently I haven't taken a real pain med in years for any issues, as it doesn't do much more anyway. It has slowed a tiny bit in that I can get a touch more out on the really rough days, but I am unstoppable regardless.
     
  12. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Take it easy. I know how tough it can be to baby an injury.

    Ray
     
  13. poopyalligator

    poopyalligator Dr.Poopyalligator

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    I am sorry man I hope you get better soon. I am in the same boat as you in some ways. I broke my humerus about 2 months ago, and I have been typing with one hand for a while now. Like you the pain meds were giving me really messed up dreams and I decided not to take them anymore. I would get up very abruptly at 3am only to realize that my arm was still very broken. I took them for the first three days, and then for 1 day after they re-broke my arm. You will become a pro at using only one hand to type. I have been using my non dominant hand for everything now, and it has become crazy steady. Hope you heal up quickly.
     
  14. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Only because I know what you mean , but... hahahahaha!

    This morning a committee/coalition of my coworkers, led by my HR director and my boss, walked over to my desk and tossed me out of the office. They were very nice about it, but had already seen me push things a bit more than I should have in the 45 minutes I was there and didn't want me to hurt myself. I can't play music, have watched more movies than I had in the six months leading up to this, and am dying for intellectual stimulation.

    Maybe I'll put on some music and do the lyrical equivalent to writing a contrafact....
     
  15. Duelbart

    Duelbart SS.org Regular

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    I can't say I know what you're going through, but after having suffered(and still slightly suffering) from tendonitis, I very much feel for you for having "broken" hands. I can't imagine what life would look like without being able to use my hands properly...
     
  16. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Get a book on "free righthand", aka fingerpicking playing, tune a guitar to an open chord/scale and work-on that right-hand technique.

    Then, when you get the next surgery, start re-introducing your left hand the the guitar by playing it like a touchstyle.

    :lol:

    Ray
     
  17. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    I wound up watching a movie, listening to the music, and then pulling out certain sections of the music which I thought would lead to a coherent song. I sang lyrics into the little recorder I normally use at work for capturing music, then edited lyrics on paper alongside a rhyming dictionary (my favorite method of writing lyrics, although I sometimes use WikiRhymer as it's more versatile than my paper rhyming dictionaries).

    I now have the nucleus of a few songs, which is pretty neat considering I got to watch a movie at the same time.

    So... do I now watch "Hobo with a Shotgun" to cleanse the palate? *laugh*
     
  18. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    So, I'm obviously up late (my sleep schedule is going to suck big time when I try to get back in synch for work). But, for those who have asked, here's where things are:

    Had a follow-up with the surgeon today:

    "Wow, things look good! Stitches out? Ummmmmm... yeah, not just yet. Let's take a loot at it next week. Yeah, that's still really swollen. No, I suspect that pushing strings down to the fretboard is probably not a good idea yet. No, even if you're running extremely light string tension, it's probably a good idea to hold off. (I'm not kidding about her saying that one.) Yeah, why don't you take it easy this weekend? Okay, I'll see you next week!"

    I know it's only been a week and a day, but I was hoping it would take absolutely no time to not only be where I was, but even better. Maybe I was being unrealistic. *laugh*

    Anyway, no infection, no nerve damage from having things pulled/pushed/moved out of the way to get to what needed to be done, balanced out by the fact that I can't even generate a quarter pound of force with the fingers which were affected....
     
  19. synrgy

    synrgy Ya ya ya I am Lorde

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    Thanks for sharing your experience(s). I have a major issue in my left hand that I've been putting off for years. Gonna go see somebody about it soon, but I'm terrified about what they may end up telling me/having to do to fix it.. :ugh:

    Definitely keep us posted on your recovery. Here's hoping it's a speedy one! :yesway:

    *edit* Also, definitely post vids of the harmonica. ;)
     
  20. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Two weeks and a day after getting cut open:

    I still can't completely straighten the middle two fingers of my left hand.

    My physical therapist emphasized that this is the time I have to work on regaining that flexibility, as well as making sure the scar tissue doesn't harden. So, I've been working on these tiny exercises which don't take much force, but which wind up hurting anyway. I've been hyperextending my middle fingers back as well as a passive stretch.

    My PT and surgeon have both pointed out that one can always build more strength, but flexibility is the place to focus.

    And, with that in mind... they've forbidden me to play guitar for at least a month.

    A full month.

    Starting that count this past Wednesday.

    A month without guitar.

    ----

    And, due to a few things brewing at work, I'm going to have to push back the right hand surgery until the beginning of December. Which means... I'll probably not be able to play guitar until some time in February.

    Ah, well. On the plus side, I'm *definitely* going to be getting some guitar books and working them from beginning to end. I figure now is as good a time as any, and probably better than most, to really develop nothing but good habits as I climb that mountain to get my hand strength up to where it should be. The idea that I'll be working the exercises due to not being physically able to do them, but can bring the perspective of over 30 years of playing to bear on learning even more efficient technique, fills me with excitement and anticipation.

    Which will hopefully continue for at least three months, in order to sustain me. *laugh*
     
    brutalwizard likes this.

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