Week Five: May 1 - May 8, 2013
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” - A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Everything was better this week, I’m definitely moving in the right direction. However, I still wish my improvement was more rapid. Waiting has always been hard for me. I like to be in perpetual motion, like the ever-flowing stream in our backyard.
Some cool things that I was able to do this week:
1) I realized, while lying down on the carpet, that my incision site was actually touching the carpet and that was ok! I didn’t feel the need to jerk my hand away from the contact. Interesting, I guess the friction massage does work to desensitize the area. I didn’t actively doubt my hand therapists, but it’s always nice to discover that what they said is in fact true.
2) I noticed, while chasing the soccer ball around the yard with my daughter, that I was running and my hand wasn’t hurting! Fantastic discovery. I went to my regular park the next day and ran my 3.2 mile usual path. I refused to keep track of the time, I was just happy to be able to do it. I was also able to walk the next day, which was a bonus!
3) While waiting for my acupuncturist to come remove my needles, I realized that my fingers were thinking dominant seventh patterns. I say “my fingers” because I wasn’t consciously trying to do this. My index finger was moving right on time and in the right direction. The last time I did this was in the hallway from the surgical staging area to the actual OR and it was octatonic scales. Sometimes, I just visualize the finger movement and other times my fingers actually move.
Some uncool things I discovered this week:
1) I happened to look at myself in the mirror and noticed the atrophy in my left upper arm. I’ve lifted weights fairly regularly since high school and have wide shoulders for a little girl. It’s often a problem because my arms are too big to fit in the regular size armholes on women’s shirts. This makes total sense, another example of the effect of separate parts on the overall functioning of the whole. It’s ok... I know how to fix this once I can grip the bar and am cleared for this by the therapist.
2) I was given permission to try the vertical headjoint flute. The only problem is that I can’t put it together. I’m not able to close the little clamp-like thing that attaches onto the flute tube. My husband did it for me, but I thought “if you can’t put the damn thing together, then you’ve got no business trying to do this yet.” Disappointing, but not unexpected. The physical pull of my entire being towards the flute is so strong. The want to pick it up and play like I know I can just hits me in the gut when I look at the case. Patience, my friend, it’ll be your turn soon.
May 8, 2013 - OT#6 Everything was good and the therapist was pleased with my progress. I got 2 new exercises to do, both of which are variations on previous exercises. Now I’m supposed to roll the dexterity balls around my hand with my whole arm extended, both palm up and palm down. Palm down is tricky because gravity is no longer working for you. The second variation is to use a skinny marker in addition to the dowel for rolling down my palm. The smaller diameter makes it a lot harder to do and demands more flexion in all the finger joints. Buddy wraps need to stay on for a while yet. I was also cleared to do 30 reps of bicep curls and tricep extensions, with a one pound weight. I don’t even have a 1 pound weight, but I do have a can of beans which weighs 1 pound, 2 ounces. Close enough.
Key things I learned during this stage of my journey:
1) Patience, patience, patience, patience. Repeat. Don’t push the river!
2) Any improvement is improvement.
3) This whole process is so insignificant in comparison to what other people are dealing with. I’ve been following the story of Adrianne Haslet-Davis, the professional ballroom dancer who lost her foot in the Boston Marathon bombing. She was interviewed on Dancing with the Stars and she said that this is the longest time she’s gone without dancing since she was 2. She said that she’s going to dance again. Of course she is, it’s who she is and every fiber of her being demands this! Her life will never be the same. In comparison, this stupid little hand surgery is going to be one of those things looked back on as a “pain-in-the-ass”, a stumbling block, and a temporary time-out, rather than a defining moment in my life. I look forward to seeing Adrianne dance with Derek Hough some day on DWTS! You go, girl!