Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Dominate Hand

Hello Readers,

As some of you may or may not know, for the last three years I have had issues with my right hand. I have had to fight LNI for three years trying to get my hand back to normal and finally be without pain. For three years I lived at a six on the pain scale, no doctors wanted to give me pain meds because they thought I was a junkie. The truth of the matter is I hurt that bad and all I could take was over the counter pills that did nothing for pain. 

After fighting two years to get my claim reopened, the LNI company that protects my employer has fought me every step of the way. I've been to a number of doctors over the years and been to several appointments just trying to figure out what I did.

4000+ miles of driving to and from appoints led to finally getting answers. They noticed that the tendons on my pinky and ring finger were not staying on the knuckles which was why my fingers drooped down and I couldn't bring them up unless I taped them to my middle finger. 

This whole process has been a nightmare, but once we actually knew what was happening (or so we thought) I was told I needed surgery. I didn't need a  doctor to tell me that, because my fingers didn't function. They said the two years of no treatment broke down the muscle in my hand, because my hand wasn't functioning correctly. Needless to say this led the LNI company to sending me to not one but four independent medical doctors who all said that this was all in my head. It took me going off on my rep from the private LNI insurance company to finally get them to take action. Simply threatening to get an attorney was all it took to get them to start signing off on things.

In November of 2012 my doctor was all set and ready to reattach the tendons but the LNI company kept rejecting for one reason or another but finally in mid December they agreed to pay for the surgery. 

January 17th came pretty quickly after that, and my tendons were reattached to my fingers and I started physical therapy rather quickly. Then came the second problem of me not being able to close my hand, which granted was better then not being able to open it. 

From January until June of this year I went the PT twice a week and was always doing my therapy at home as well, but I was still in pain. I kept wanting to cry every time someone touches my pinky cause to put it lightly it hurt like hell. Actually, my pinky hurt worse then the recovery from surgery. 

This left the physical therapist and my doctor a bit baffled and they didn't know what to really do other then continue PT and see if it improved. Well it didn't improve, the pain not only got worse, but the more we worked my pinky, it started to curve. They referred to it as my finger scissoring, and let me tell you it hurts. On a good day my pinky will sit on top on my ring finger and stay there which causes the least amount of pain. On a bad day it will rest under my ring finger giving me the most pain.

Well finally on June 4th I got to see the Dr again and he was still baffled by this curve in my pinky. So much so that it didn't even matter to him that after months of having hardly any movement of my hand, I could make a fist. To me that was exciting but being a doctor he was more worried about the pinky. 

After he took some X-rays he came back and showed them to me and the bones in my pinky were clearly not sitting right which explain all the pain. He believes that when I injured my wrist I either, broke, fractured, or dislocated the bones in my pinky, but he can't tell which happened because there is not previous X-rays of my pinky because no one listened when I said the pain shot up into my fingers.

So now that we know what was causing me so much pain, which is the fact that my pinky has to use the muscles in my arm to function, causing pain and tension in my wrist, we have to fix it. Now, you are probably thinking this is going to be an easy fix.... nope!

Not only will he have to find a way to recenter my bones after three years of healing and scar tissue, he also has to rotate the bones so my pinky will be straight again. He also told me that I have likely been dislocating my finger throughout the years, doing average everyday things and hurting it more because we didn't know about that particular injury to begone with.

So here we are, passed the three year mark of my injury and I find out I am having another surgery. Now, some of you may be thinking this is a good thing, that my hand will be fixed and life will be normal again. This could potentially lock my pinky up completely, leaving me with what I like to call... A British pinky. I would rather have my pinky always sticking out them scissoring my ring finger. 

Here is the kicker though, in order to fix the bones in my pinky, they have to break my hand, not the finger but they are literally going to cut open my hand and break the bone to rotate and recenter my finger. Then they are going to undo three years worth of scar tissue. Thing that gets me the most... I will get no cast!

I will be walking around with my hand broken and no cast for me because I will have to keep using my hand to avoid the scar tissue from forming again. Oh, and depending on what time I have surgery I could go right from the recovery room into physical therapy... Aren't I just the lucky one. 

With that being said, it took this LNI company over a month to approve my last surgery so I thought I had some time... Boy was I wrong. I got the phone call yesterday saying my surgery was approved. I was floored because I figured it would be August before we got any answers but nope, one phone call to my claims manager was all it took to get my second surgery approved. 

This caused a mad scramble in the home front because now we have a month to get things ready for me. My partner has to take time off of work because I won't be allowed to be alone for the first five-seven days. She has to give a months notice so she was on the phone right away with her work.

Then came telling everyone the surgery is just around the corner. Naturally people have a lot of questions about it and all I can do is shrug and say I don't know because a lot of the questions being asked, I honestly don't have the answers too. I won't know how long I will be in surgery. I don't know how they are going to secure the bone in my hand after they break it. I don't know how often I will need physical therapy. What I do know is they are breaking the bone, rotating my pinky till it sits right, breaking up scar tissue and releasing the capsule in my pinky because scar tissue formed over it and now it's stuck. Everything else will be a mystery until I wake up. 

I am not really looking forward to this surgery because of how much I don't know but the doctor said he won't even know until he gets into my hand and sees what three years of scar tissue looks like. 

I won't know how long I will be down, but what I do know is that I am so ready for this to be over. Thanks to my hand I lost my job, I have to drop my master's program, and I very well may lose my car because I'm not sure how much longer LNI will be sending me money. I do however know they want me off the books ASAP because I've already cost them over $100,000.00 in medical costs.

I am hoping when all of this is said and done I will be given some form of a settlement because the LNI place was such a pain and it took them so long to do anything I am not having a second surgery. To add insult to injury, I am right handed so for the last three years I have had to learned to adapt and accept there are things I simply couldn't do. There is also a bit of irony in this as well, because the Friday before my follow up with my doctor, I was releases by my PT to start doing normal house hold chores like washing dishes. I now have a 1lbs weight limit on my hand so I am back to not being able to do much of anything at all. 

I am so ready to be done with all of this, to have my hand back and be able to function on my own. To not have to worry about what I do with my hand. I'm ready to have a job again and finish up school. I'm just ready to be a fully functioning person again. Hopefully that will happen in the next three to six months, but only time will tell. 

So there you have it, the seemingly never ending tale of my battle to get my dominate hand back. 


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