May · 20 · 2017

I have been so very blessed to live most of my life without any terrible physical injuries.  Oh there have been plenty of illness, allergies, a bout with fibromyalgia which seemed to be more un-diagnosed stress than anything, and that brain tumor.  That has changed.

On or about March 24 I injured my left wrist at work.  At the time it seemed like no big deal so of course I continued working, and of course playing guitar.  By April 12 the pain and swelling had reached a point where I couldn’t do anything and was able to see a doc at the IU Health and Occupational Services.  An x-ray indicated no broken bones which at the time seemed a relief.  Looking back, that probably would have been a better thing.  They put me in a hard brace that also keeps my thumb from moving, and recommended an MRI to look at soft tissue.

After a week or so in the brace virtually all of the swelling in my hand and wrist was gone, and a lot of the pain, but certain movements felt like a knife stabbing my wrist.  At least the brace is clearly helping.

Have you ever had a workman’s comp claim?  There are all sorts of stories these days how the medical system is a wreck and moves slower than molasses on a cold winter day.  Well multiply that by a factor of 4 or 5 and you have workman’s comp.  Approvals for ‘the next step’ always take around 2 weeks, and forget ever being able to speak to your claim manager in person.

Eventually the MRI took place and revealed the tendons on the top of my wrist aren’t torn but rather frayed like an old rope.  Hmmmm….  So I need to see a surgeon.  10 days later that was approved and scheduled for the end of May.  Yes that’s right.

Meanwhile not only am I not able to work much, but I can’t play on the worship team.  Being the leader I must still oversee it but just can’t play.  The brace that was helping so much in the beginning is now making things worse.  I am approaching extreme muscle atrophy in about 1/2 of my hand, my thumb and wrist, my forearm, and also shoulder, from all the restrictions I’m under to basically not use my arm.  Of course the surgeon doesn’t know this yet and won’t for another week and a half.  I’ve begun the past few days to spend time out of the brace doing mild tasks like computer stuff, or holding a glass of water, things like that.  This is an attempt to try and slow down the atrophy without causing any further damage to my wrist.  Docs were shocked at the atrophy during my last visit and said I needed to be out of the brace 4x a day doing some light motion and exercise.

And so I must wait.

We had plans to build a fence, and maybe a shed this year.  The worship team had been growing and getting better.  And I had just discovered a style of writing worship music that is a little King’s X in it’s approach and we had played one song, which I was looking forward to doing more of that in the coming months.  Of course none of that happens now.

Assuming the surgeon will want to do what can be done to repair things, I’m expecting the approval for that will no doubt take another 10-14 days, after which there’s the time you need to wait to get it scheduled.  Of course there will no doubt be 4-6 weeks in a brace for healing after surgery.  After all that I will have no muscle tone left at all so probably 2-3 months of intense physical therapy.  My best hope is to be able to play again for Christmas.

Waiting is excruciating.

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