Thursday, January 12, 2017

HELP! I can't move my hand.


Eating thai food after my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon
     The last thing I wrote about was breaking my finger by falling off my bike. I got a call mid-week from the local surgeon's office saying that I needed to be seen by a hand specialist out of town. This kind of freaked me out. How bad-off was my hand? At the appointment with the specialist I was told I needed surgery which was to take place the following afternoon.

Craig at Gonzaga!
 
      We had plenty of time to kill in town between my appointment and surgery the next day, so we went out to lunch, and I gave Craig a tour of my alma mater Gonzaga University. That night, the friends we stayed with treated us to a dinner and a movie, which was a great distraction. 

     I woke up  the next morning, and could not eat or drink water until that afternoon, which was dreadful because I had a terrible sore throat. 
     
   

Overall though, the surgery went well. They basically stuck a metal pin in my hand to help the finger heal straight. 


     The entire week after surgery, I was super sick. This was a major bummer because we went on vacation to see my boyfriend's family. I basically spent the entire trip in bed, with a sore throat, migraine headache and of course hand-surgery-related-pain. 

     After two weeks, the surgeon took out the pin, and I no longer had to wear a giant arm cast. They put me in a smaller pink hand cast. 

Modeling my super stylish hand brace at the office where they mold casts

     I was able to take the smaller cast off whenever I was at home; I was supposed to be trying to gain motion in my hand. During this time, I began to notice that I couldn't move my finger at all! It was so odd. I would think about moving my finger, commanding it with all my willpower to move, and nothing would happen. After a couple of weeks had passed, I called the surgeon, who told me to see a hand therapist. I worked with the therapist for about a month, with zero results. After meeting with the surgeon again, it was decided my hand needed a second surgery. 

     Because I was young and healthy (their words, not mine), my hand healed too quickly, so that scar tissue built up in-between ligaments during the first few weeks, basically locking my hand from movement. This was type of occurrence was supposedly super rare. 
     
     The surgeon was booked until late November, but I asked if we could have the surgery sooner rather than later. I couldn't imagine going much longer with an unmovable pinky! He said he could squeeze us in the next day, October 30, so day before Halloween I went under the knife a second time. The surgeon removed the scar tissue, and sewed my hand back up. I called my finger "Franken-pinky" for awhile as the zig-zag scar healed. 

Me at a local race- wearing my pink hand cast
Enjoying my run, despite my broken finger
 
     Somehow, through all of this, I kept running. I wasn't able to run the first week after surgery, but after they took my arm cast off, I went straight back to it. I started off slowly; at first I was in terrible shape.
   
     At the end of September, I ran a half marathon. I am being liberal with the term "run" however,  as I ran it at about the slowest pace imaginable (12:00 min/ mile). I was proud, though, to finish.
   
     I finished with hand therapy at the end of November, with full hand function, thoroughly surprising my hand therapist. It was a huge relief to be able to use my hand again. Who knew how necessary a pinky finger was for tasks such as dishes and laundry, not to mention lab work (aka my current profession).

     I finished off 2016 with another half marathon. This time I was able to push myself and not feel pain. It was a very enjoyable run, and now I am excited to continue more running adventures.

I finished my final half marathon of the year feeling much stronger!
     I haven't written much in 2016. Now that I can more easliy type and whatnot I plan to keep my blog much more current. Stay tuned!