My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
If you’ve never seen the movie, then you won’t get the reference, but my life feels like a version of the repetition that plays out in it, minus the guns. Every day I wake up and my hand is throbbing. The splint has been adjusted twice to give me more flexion in my first joints, and it’s a very painful position to hold for eight hours. So I take the splint off and the release hurts more. I shower in hot water in the hopes of helping the pain, but that idea is just a figment of my imagination. I eagerly await the point at which I can heat my hot sock in the microwave and really get some heat onto my hand. I sit like that reading the news, but then it’s time to engage in passive motion exercises and it never feels like I’ve done enough of them nor for long enough. I always feel inadequate, which can get tedious.
I get to work and I put it back into the splint to take a break, drink my coffee, and get some work done. It’s not long before I am unleashing it again, this time to get a massage to help with scar tissue, coconut oil being the lubricant of choice. I can sometimes get a colleague to help me with the massage and the second set of passive movements. One colleague in particular is a saint, having helped me with this several times in the past two weeks, massaging me and then bending them to the point of decent pain. A two-handed person is far more capable of bending them to the necessary point than I am using only one hand.
I typically do another massage and passive motion set in the early afternoon, usually as part of a walk to the staff room. I wrap it all up in the splint again for the drive home and then exercise it again either before, during, or after dinner. It needs to be all sealed up again for the walk to PT. I also tend to exercise it once more after I get home from PT while watching an evening show, then I go to sleep with it in the splint, and the entire scenario plays out again the next day and the next day and the next day. What was novel and empowering at first is now tiresome. When am I ever going to feel better? I heard my physiotherapist tell another client that I would need a minimum of 50 sessions.
In any case, it is moving more than it did before the second surgery, and it has made gains in the ranges of motion at many joints. It certainly looks better, but last time it looked great and didn’t work, so if there is an inverse relationship between appearance and function I would prefer it to stay hideous.