Monday, July 14, 2008

more surgery

Sam had his post-operative visit with his surgeon today. All of the bandages came off and we saw his hand for the first time since surgery. We actually took pictures with our cell phones, but I am not going to ruin your day by showing them here! It was pretty gross. But all fingers are there. He can wiggle them all. He can bend all fingers except his middle finger. They took fresh x-rays. That middle finger was really blasted - lots of bone fragments. Dr. Champagne (a wonderful hand surgeon) decided he wants to do a second surgery to install a plate in the middle finger so the finger will be more stable.

After the surgeon's visit we went to a Physical Therapist who specializes in making custom splints that exactly fit the patient's hand. I watched him while he created the one-of-a-kind splint for Sam's hand. Sam jokingly refers to it as his "Darth Vadar glove", because it is made out of a dark black material. It looks more like one of those carpal tunnel support braces except it extends over the two fingers to protect him from accidental bumps, which would be excrutiating.

This whole experience has been eye-opening. I talked to so many other patients. One woman sliced the tip of her finger off when she was cutting fabric with one of those rotary cutters. She sure was mad at herself. Another young man had flown over the handlebars of his four-wheeler and braced his arms out in front of him, breaking both hands. A young father had sliced the end of a finger off at work. A very young girl had put her hand through a plate glass window. The list goes on. The hand is quite vulnerable! Sam's injury was atypical. They do see accidental gunshot wounds to the hand, but they are usually not the fault of someone other than the victim! Had Sam not also had the bullet wounds (entry and exit) on his right thigh where his hand was resting, it might not have been so obvious that he was not at fault in this accident.

Again, Sam was lucky to escape with the injuries he has. It could have been so much worse!

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