Reflections from rehab

 

I took a picture of my hand but it was blurry (and ugly) so here is an alternative. Courtesy of clipartpanda

I took a picture of my hand but it was blurry (and ugly) so here is an alternative. Courtesy of clipartpanda

My thumb took a nosedive. I don’t know how a 15 minute procedure on a small digit can cause so much trouble.

The doc thought the scar tissue was strangling a nerve (my term, not his). I wanted to strangle the thumb.

In any case, it was sent to rehab. Ok, it’s really called occupational therapy but I call it rehab. I want to get off of the pain juice. It’s over the counter stuff but still….

Did you know there are people who specialize in hand therapy? I didn’t. There are a lot of hands in need of rehab. The place is overflowing with people with all sorts of maladies affecting hands.

They assured me it wouldn’t hurt. So far that’s true although they work to reach the limit and I did yell once. Loudly.

They have all the patients sit out in the open during the treatments. That technique squelches the weenie in me (sort of) and prevents me from yelling (too much), doing facial contortions (mostly), swearing and other unladylike behavior.

(Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that I am so easily embarrassed! I blame that on my mother.)

I have been twice so far and I have seen some sights. My thumb is the least serious. Some people have huge scars and limb distortions.

Right before Easter, a delightful older woman (very attractive) came in dressed like an Easter bunny. She wore a pink sweat suit with a puff attached for a tail. Her face was painted with whiskers and she wore bunny ears. I loved her immediately.

She sat down next to me. (She was a patient!) They put her hand in a heat treatment and that’s when I saw it. She was missing the top section of her last three fingers on her right hand.

The wounds were recent. (I put my head between my knees so I wouldn’t pass out. Yes, I am a weenie.)

The therapist commented on how well she was doing (a good sized barf was burbling in my throat) and the woman agreed.

I admired that woman. Despite a fairly severe wound, she was upbeat, smiling and dressed like a rabbit. I want to be like that (without the wound of course).

There was another woman, much younger, with a long scar (also fresh) that ran from just above her elbow down to almost her wrist. (I could manage that one without any physical reactions.) It looked like an angry red slash. She was working on elbow and hand mobility.

The therapists are upbeat and encouraging. I have great respect for their work and how they treat their patients.

Let’s see how they react when I wasn’t able to follow their directions exactly. Actually, not even close. It was a busy weekend and my thumb wasn’t on top of the list. However, I have had improvement. The pain has subsided considerably although it did look like a plum by Sunday night.

It still won’t bend but it’s swollen. They said it would take close to three months for all the swelling to go away so I am not as concerned about the bending.

Healing takes a patience I don’t have. Seeing others has helped with the patience and made me grateful. Maybe that’s part of the rehab too. One day at a time.

I bet you all are grateful that I don’t work in the medical field…..

 

 

 

 

 

55 thoughts on “Reflections from rehab

  1. Kate … I hope the occupational therapy brings speedy results. I went thru that when I had repetitive stress syndrome. The exercises and learning how to adjust the computer typing station helped tremendously. Whenever I have a re-occurrence, I haul out my exercise books and am soon feeling tip top again. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s getting better….finally but I may never get the ability to bend my thumb as I did. I have found that I can function perfectly well without it. (Yes, I can open cat food cans and that’s all THEY care about!)

      Like

  2. I’m quite squeamish at wounds and disfigurement, too, Kate. My daughter is a nurse and her dad has had some skin cancers removed and the dressings need to be changed. The open wound is quite small, but I can’t stand to change the dressings and apply antibiotic. I get her to do it and I admire the way she can be so compassionate in the doing! I think you’re so right that being placed in therapy (rehab) with others so badly injured is probably a good way to moderate one’s complaints! But it’s still hard to wait on the full return of your own abilities–and without pain meds. I hope everything normalizes very soon!

    Like

    • Some of us don’t belong in the medical field at least in contact with wounds and booboos. When I was very young, my much older brother was severely burned in an industrial accident. It was on the right side of his face, his neck and down his arm. (They would let us kids see him for a while.) I was under 10 but I remember his wife couldn’t change his dressings. My mother did it. Back in those days there wasn’t a burn center to go to. He recovered and there is only a pinkish tint to his skin where the burns were. I did not inherit my mother’s “Florence Nightingale” gene.

      Like

  3. I’m not one for the medical profession, either. Just reading these descriptions of wounds makes me queasy. You are a strong woman to live through such an ordeal. And soon your thumb will be all better, yes?

    Like

  4. Kate I hope the warmer spring weather comes and you heal that much quicker. Im a wimp when it comes to wounds, especially other people’s. There is always someone worse of than us. But it must be frustrating for you. Happy healing.

    Like

    • It’s coming along. I have my 4th treatment today and it has improved greatly. Can’t bend the thumb but I don’t have the pain. Because I am not patient, it’s frustrating. Seeing what others cope with is a very good lesson for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would have been all over the bunny woman! People like that really amaze me. How do they forge on with those bright attitudes?
    Hand specialist really do know their deal, so I hope they are able to get your thumb back to normal soon. Patience is a virtue ….

    Like

  6. I don’t know Kate. I think if you worked in the medical field, I believe you’d have sympathy for wimps like me when it comes to going through what you are having to go through. But it does sound like they do a wonderful job there.

    Like

  7. I’m also grateful I’ve never had to work in the medical field. I can’t stand to look at the insides of people. (I can’t bear to watch CSI.)

    We hope the important parts of our body will be healthy–our hearts and lungs and brains. Then we find out that we need even the small things and that they’re tricky too. I broke a small toe once. The doctor just taped it to the neighboring toe. (This was in the Philippines.) It kept me pretty inactive for a month. Afterwards, I was surprised at the amount of muscle loss from inactivity.

    Like

  8. Too bad you have had such an odeal with your thumb. I hate surgery. Had too much in the past few years, and now pray I can keep the other joints. My husband suffers terribly with his remaining original knee joint, but at age almost 86, the doc told him there was nothing more he could do for him. Becoming older is not easy.

    Like

  9. So sorry to hear of your relapse! My sister recently went through a total knee replacement – at 79 – and quite some experiences to tell while in rehab. Some yelled and some even refused to do the PT. There is nothing like going to a rehab/pt center or cancer treatment facility to see that so many are worse off than you are. May you progress quickly! You will come out it stronger for it. Cheers! P.S. Sister has progressed from walker to cane.

    Like

    • Knee replacements can be tricky. I have a friend who was back to work (part-time) after 2 weeks and another who has had quite a time of it. May your sister progress to walking without aids.

      Like

  10. So sorry that you’ve had a set-back, but it sounds like you are in good… um… hands. I had a friend who was in PT for awhile for his knee. He swore that PT stood for Physical Terrorists and that his screams of pain only encouraged them.

    Get better soon!

    Like

    • I refused it after surgery. I was good and healing ok until about 3 weeks out and the pain got worse. Without that, I doubt that I would have gone. When I made my first appointment, I asked about THAT and the receptionist said that this was a hand clinic and they don’t work through pain. It’s not comfortable but not exactly painful. I don’t like people touching my booboo’s. (That’s a technical term.)

      Like

  11. So that’s how they muzzle the clients’ noise – others in the room. Diabolical. You deserve the right to express agony….well, some do. Guess a audience teaches self control.
    When you’ve been healthy and luckily in good shape most of your life, any little injury seems like a tragedy – until you are faced with what others deal with. Husband seriously damaged his rotator cup ( in the gym trying to stay healthy…I warned him…) He expected to bounce back immediately (after all the nail gun shot through the hand wasn’t so bad years ago) But he’s having to face there’s going to be limitations now and things must be done with more thought. (Good news, is we probably have done it ourselves remodeling for the last time. Whew).
    Thumbs are important – maybe the cats can give massages…if they feel it will hurry dinners along, they might agree? Hope the healing continues!

    Like

  12. Did you ask the “Easter Bunny” how she misplaced the tips of 3 of her fingers? I’d be “all ears.” :mrgreen:

    Good luck with the rehab and regaining the full use of your thumb, Kate. I’ve had surgery a few times ~ in each instance, it took longer for the incisions to settle down than I anticipated.

    Like

    • I was so curious but thought it would be rude to ask (and of course there is the barf factor). Accident, diabetes, not sure. Other than that her hand wasn’t distorted or misshapen. They explained to me (for the umpteenth time but I refuse to accept it) that the incision went down to the bone. That requires a longer recovery time. It was this little bump on my thumb. Who knew?

      Like

      • When I’m curious, I ask . . . but try to offer an “easy out.” E.g., “This is none of my business and feel free to ignore me, but I can’t help wondering how you hurt your hand.” Some jump at the chance to talk about accidents and ailments.

        (But if I was on the verge of barfing, I wouldn’t barge in).

        Hope you’re noticing gain without pain.

        Like

  13. I never knew there was a “hand specialty” in the medical field. Makes sense since they say the thumb is what differentiates us from the creatures of the wild. Here’s to your plumb thumb healing rapidly now and more bunny ladies at the rehab center. You are a very brave lady and I am truly impressed that you are able to grin and bear it between animal cries of pain and fear. 🙂

    Like

    • Our local ortho group has a Hand Institute with 5 docs dedicated to just hands and they are busy. It took 6 weeks to be able to get on the schedule for surgery. I hear my cats are working on growing thumbs so they can open their own cans.

      Like

  14. I’m really sorry to hear this, Kate. Good luck with the rehab. I hope you have good and speedy results. I would have reacted the same way to the woman missing the tops of her fingers…I fainted when I got my ears pierced. 😦

    Like

    • I have a story about my mother getting her ears pierced. She was a strong and amazing woman but she got pretty woozy. Worst of all a small child had her ears pierced before my mother and did say a peep. There is a good reason why we are not in the medical field.

      Like

  15. I know it’s said “no pain, no gain” but if you like, I’ll write a letter “to whom it may concern” stating that you’ve “done your time”. Wishing you a super SUPER speedy recovery and that your plum-thumb is back to normal sooner rather than later! 🙂

    Like

  16. When I’ve been in physical therapy, I would happily lift any weights, stretch any bands, walk backwards on treadmills, balance on boards, etc. The one thing I hated? MASSAGE! Other patients loved it, and they couldn’t understand why I’d be (barely) turning screams into grunts.

    Of course, the therapist would be telling me useful things like, “relax.” They are so helpful. 😉

    If you haven’t screamed, you’re doing well. Or maybe you have nicer physical therapists than I did!

    Like

  17. Your posts have gotten progressively longer, so I had hoped your were mending well. Keep the faith, and know that you and Phil Collins have a lot in common: he struggle to hold the drum sticks now, but he’s still a great drummer. You are still a great writer!

    Like

  18. You’re a trooper and a funny one at that. The rabbit lady story made me laugh out loud. I discovered not too long ago that my Pilates instructor who is also a board certified OT, specialized in hand therapy and did that for 7 years. She’s been helping me with some wrist issues that have. Small world, eh?

    Like

  19. I’ve been in physical therapy for more than 3 months for my rotator cuff…patience is definitely required, but it is worth the effort. I could barely lift my arm above shoulder height 3 months ago, and getting much closer to full range of motion thanks to the tortures inflicted by the PT folks!

    Like

    • Oh my, not a good injury to a pet sitter. It is amazing. I have never had any kind of physical therapy before so it’s all new. Today we did ultrasound, followed by a marbles game. All good. The only thing I really don’t like is the scar massage. That hurts. Of course I’m still tender.

      Like

    • Prior to this experience at the hand center, I would have thought leg issues were the worst because of mobility. My thumb is really nothing compared to what some folks are going through. Today they released a woman because there wasn’t anything else they could do for her. She has exercises to do but something is wrong with her small finger and it affects her whole hand. So glad they were able to help your Mom.

      Liked by 1 person

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s