Friday, January 14, 2011

Scar Tissue

I had minor hand surgery on November 4, a procedure called a trigger finger release. I had a follow-up appointment on December 14, with a final one scheduled for January 25. Over the last couple of weeks, principally while in Florida for the celebration of my dad's life (a happier term than "memorial service"), some swelling appeared in my palm centered around where the incision had been made. The swelling was fairly obvious; showing someone my open would elicit a comment of the "what's that?" variety. Fearing it might be infection of some sort, I e-mailed the surgeon asking if I should come in earlier than the already-scheduled appointment. The fact that she asked if I could come in on her next clinic day didn't really help keep that "this is really nothing" feeling alive. Still, it seemed better to get it over with.

It turns out that there's no infection. What there is is a lot of scar tissue forming, more scar tissue than the surgeon says she's ever seen with this sort of surgery. It may not help that I several times a week grip a sword hilt tightly for upwards of two or more hours. I didn't ask her that, though, because I didn't want to hear that perhaps I shouldn't be doing that. I got some massage and stretching exercises from the physical therapist and some gel pads to wear over the scar at night, and I'll go back for another follow-up on the 25th. The aim is to break the scar tissue up to get the flexibility and range of motion back in my finger and hand.

Thinking about my distinction of producing more scar tissue than the average patient on the street led to thinking about emotional as opposed to physical scar tissue. Grudges over past slights, regret over things done or undone, the emotional luggage we all carry. I like to claim that mine is a matched set, but that's probably not the case. I have occasionally said, not entirely jokingly, that I am probably more normal than I should be given various things in my past that other people cite as dysfunctional in their own and as causes for their problems in the present. I wonder if I've done a reasonable job of massaging and stretching out my emotional scar tissue, though it could well be that it's just deeply enough embedded that I no longer feel it or recognize it for what it is.

It's a rhetorical question, really, but one to think about over the next while as I massage and stretch and try to break down the physical scar tissue in my hand. Better to think about it then than when I'm holding a sword in the same hand.

1 comment:

Caroline M said...

I didn't want to confess to my hours of knitting in the evenings when I was having my hand investigated. I knew they'd tell me to stop it but I did come clean. In my case the advice was "use it or lose it" and my hand issues were nothing at all to do with my knitting.

Your medical practitioners will be all in favour of you keeping up with the things that make you healthy and make you "you".