A “New” Cast

person putting white bandage on left hand
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One night, my hand was swelling and getting numb/tingling. I called my ortho’s office and they told me to go back to the ER the next day.  I was given a “clamshell” cast. Basically, the cast is cut, front and back of the arm, and wrapped with a bandage. The two halves are strapped together but can be separated and adjusted to make room for the swelling. This was a great improvement. It was much better. It still swelled so I applied lots of ice as often as directed.

Pressure points were still a problem. The cast pushed on a spot at the base of my thumb making it very sore. And hard to get at. Why!? And I have incredibly dry skin on Both hands. Lotion, lotion, lotion!!

Note: I got the cast off after five weeks. I had nasty looking dry skin and no flexibility in my wrist. I was told I must do physical therapy exercises or my hand would end up being just a fly swatter. Certainly a gruesome image. And an incentive to get moving, literally.

This is all new and a bit scary, not knowing what the end result will be, how long it will take to get there.

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Therapy begins…

person two hand leaning on wall
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My right hand was a LARGE shadow of its former self. It was VERY swollen! It still is swollen but I am starting to see veins and tendons which I think is a good sign. Ice and elevation are the name of the game. My left hand is getting a workout but getting increasing assistance from my right. Remedial everything – getting dressed, eating, opening things, hair care, etc. I sometimes forget that I shouldn’t use my right hand too much, then “ouch” – I remember.

Before now, for arm exercise, I was just raising and lowering my arm with some occasional bicep curls. Oh, and wiggling my fingers. Therapy means, among other things, bending the wrist, forwards and backwards and from side to side. It also involves squeezing the fingers into a fist. One word describes all of this – Ouch!

Ice and elevation are still in play. I wrap my hand at least twice a day and sleep with it at an angle, propped by pillows. I am typing with one hand, slowly adding the other one. I am starting to feed myself with my right hand again. It sounds strange and looks stranger, but I am not quite ready for the “real thing” yet. Mostly I am trying not to get too impatient with the process. Recovery is a slow, steady journey and it has to be. Otherwise, it doesn’t have the desired result, full function and use.