Words, Words, Words

December 6, 1999

Today was my last physical therapy appointment. It seems like a good time for an update on my hand surgery (which took place in late August and mid-September, for those who came in late).

My index finger is back to its normal range of motion, and my middle finger is nearly there. These two fingers weren't operated on, but they were immobilized for a while after the operations.

My ring finger is far from normal, but I can touch my palm with a little effort, and I expect some more improvement. It still has a tendency to curl up unless I put a splint on it fairly often. And I can't straighten it on its own--that is, I can use my other hand to move the joint, but one of the tendons is still loose, so using that muscle is about as effective as pulling on a slack rope. That should correct itself after a while, I think.

The middle joint of my little finger is absolutely rigid, with no hope for improvement. I can move the tip a bit with my other hand, but can manage only a microscopic wiggle on its own. The muscles in that finger have already atrophied, giving it a bumpy, unhealthy appearance. However I do have good motion in the base of the finger, and it's better positioned for typing than it was before the operation.

My wrist has never recovered from being immobilized after the operations. I can bend it forward about 45 degrees, and backward not at all. I'm very unhappy about this since it is my dominant hand. I haven't given up hope that I'll regain some flexibility with use, but I admit I'm starting to become pessimistic.

The scars aren't too visible, since they're on the side of my fingers, but I notice them frequently and still regard them as an unpleasant blemish. Each is a couple inches long and I can feel the ridge when I massage them, as I occasionally do. (I'm told massage may help maintain flexibility and improve their ultimate appearance.)

Overall, this has been a lot of trouble for not much benefit. In some ways I'm actually worse off than I was before the surgery. I know a lot of you have been rooting for a happy ending, and I wish I had one to give you. Thanks for all the kind words.

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