It’s been just about 2 months since The Incident, or as I like to call it, the “I Really Want to Install A Vibrating Titanium Hook” Event, and it’s been about 6 weeks since my surgery. Things are moving along, slowly, but positively. Since one of my resolutions is to post more, and since I’m also lazy as hell, I’m going to do a pictorial update of my wound.
WARNING: Some of the pictures are a bit rough. If pictures of scars/wounds/stitches/other freaky things upset you, then don’t watch Discovery Health Channel. And don’t look at the pics I’m about to post. You have been warned.
Here’s where Ol’ Lefty was after the incident, but before the surgery.
The initial injury is a horizontal gash starting above the thumb and moving toward the palm. Lucky for you, it was covered in steri-strips so that you can’t witness the carnage beneath. The other areas are additional bites, scrapes, cuts, and whatnot.
My right arm had some punctures, scratches, and abrasions too, so I threw that pic up to show the whole story. Did I mention it all hurt like hell? No? Well, it did.
After the surgery, I was rockin’ the lovely and stylish and completely comfortable half-cast, half-Ace bandage look. This is what I wore in multiple airports as I made my way through multiple airports on my way to Fargo, ND and back again, one week after surgery.
Airports are funny. In the Dallas airport, they swabbed the cast/bandage (which I will hereafter refer to as my “castage”), ran the little swab through the Mystical Terrorist Bomb and Really Bad Chemical Detector Gadget, and waved me on through. In Minneapolis, they did nothing. In Fargo, they pulled me aside and did the swab thing (though to be fair, they may have pulled me aside because I was black in North Dakota), and waved me on through. Then there was Denver.
Apparently the guys in Denver’s lovely airport of the endless concourses and giant blue balled horse statues were bored when I passed through. They noticed my situation, and reacted as though they finally found an opportunity to use that 1 day training they got 6 months prior. They made me identify my belongings (without touching them), then they ushered me into a small, separate room where some sort of contraption lived. All this was done in a very pleasant environment – the TSA guys were friendly and talkative, asking me about the injury and telling me their own harrowing tales of canine terror, all while scanning me and all my crap with some radio wave thing that’s supposed to find bombs and dirty magazines and tooth decay. It was bizarre and annoying, because my gate was B61. Anyone who has ever flown to and from Denver can tell you why that’s bad.
So wasting time with the Call Of Duty: Black Ops wannabes wasn’t at the top of my To Do list. Moving on…
After my post-op doctor’s visit, he thankfully removed the castage so that I could be fitted with something sexier to begin occupational therapy (not to be confused with physical therapy, which apparently is unemployed). In my short few moments of castless bliss, I snapped this lovely photo.
This is just after the very cute but very sadistic nurse removed my stitches, minus the topical anesthesia. “It won’t hurt,” she said. She lied. Hard. It looks like I’m carrying a caterpillar to a picnic or something. But as you can see, the plastic surgeon saw my wound and raised it by two other incisions going toward the index finger and thumb. This he did to locate and reconnect the severed nerve endings, and to try to clean up the tendon damage. And apparently to practice his backward Zorro signature.
After my first visit to occupational therapy, I got to wear this hot little number for a few weeks.
I wore this bad boy day and night, taking it off only to shower or to do therapy. And let me tell you, folks…therapy is hard. I have a good bit of scar tissue in my finger and palm, and the tendon thinks that it’s Kwanzaa and refuses to work full-time, preventing me from moving my finger correctly. 3 days per week I go through torture, flexing and stretching and bending and grabbing and generally doing any and everything to make the fingers move correctly, and to rebuild strength and nerve sensitivity. I would call it fun and relaxing, but if I did, I’m afraid my left hand would punch me dead in the mouth for lying to you. But it’s paying off. When I started therapy, I could barely move my index finger half an inch in any direction. After a month of intense therapy, I’m out of the splint 80% of the time, and I can now do this:
HELL YES. Obviously I still have a ways to go, but this is progress. Happiness is doled out by the teaspoon, not by the pound.
Here’s what the hand looks like today.
Seriously, it’s amazing what doctors can do now. When I finally cleaned it up and removed all the gross dead skin, I was genuinely shocked at what I saw. After seeing the Caterpillar Hand, I figured I’d have to wear a glove like Luke Skywalker for a while just to avoid grossing people out. But this? This is downright pretty by comparison. A hideous deformation has diminished to an interesting conversation piece. Now, pictures are deceiving – I still can’t play the bass yet, and though it looks like it’s better, I would scream like a howler monkey if anything hit that palm area with any force. Yesterday morning, the doctor was checking it out and tapping it with his fingers as he was making a point. It took a lot of effort not to throw his monitor at him, ’cause that just plain hurts. But, all in all, I can’t complain.
After all, I’m typing this post with two hands. That’s progress.