My husband has an excellent sense of humor. Which has been handy in this situation, particularly in the ambulance apparently, ha! He came up with the title of this post- so don’t blame me.
We are exactly 7 weeks out from the day when he decided to play patty-cake with a miter saw instead of making quail cages. He had a follow up with the hand surgeon today, and we have new xrays and an update to share.
The actual wound and skin is healing incredibly well. The hand surgeon (who has done LOTS of hand reconstructions) has been very, very impressed with the healing of his wound, the swelling reduction, and the hand color. Let’s just say that the little roller of comfrey oil and essential oils has been used frequently. Oils for the win.
The bones are a bit more complicated.
First up, the potential issues: the xray confirmed that some pieces of the bones escaped the “cage” of wire around the bones and are loose inside his hand. There is a possibility that they will cause no issues, or they could move into the joints and cause issues. It’s a waiting game.
There is also a bone spur forming on the index joint which could potentially cause issues depending on how things go. There is a chance for a follow-up surgery to clear these items, but that will be seen.
The decision was made not to fuse any joints at the time of surgery. According to the hand surgeon, the thumb joint that was damaged is showing signs that indicate it will fuse on it’s own if it is left alone. He suggested that it might actually be a good option to allow it to fuse on it’s own. This will most likely depend on how physical therapy goes, the pain level in the joint, and the ability to waiver a fused joint with flying status. It’s something that will be discussed more later on.
The most recent xrays also show that there is fiberous scar tissue moving into both the first finger and thumb joints. This is to be expected, but also means it is time to get moving on the more intensive physical therapy- I’ll discuss this below.
The GOOD news is that both bones and joints show signs of healing! The xrays show new bone growth, although they are a ways from being completely healed. If you look closely, the “feathery, spotty” areas are new bone growth. The hand surgeon does consider them strong enough to begin intensive PT starting next week.
This is HUGE news, and pretty much what we have been waiting for. Up until now, PT has been primarily skin massage to prevent scar adhesion’s, and movement of the other joints in his hand to keep them as limber as possible. (The rest of his hand has lost a lot of motion during this healing process.).
He now has the go-ahead to “get rolling” on more intensive physical therapy starting next week. Jace faces this with both excitement and trepidation, as it means more pain, but actual progress! He has moved to a smaller splint (at least when he isn’t home with our crazy children) in order to allow more movement of his entire wrist and hand.
Today, in considering his progress, the hand surgeon did increase his “overall” healing timeline from a year to a year and a half. This is a bit disappointing, but it was a major injury to a very delicate and vital part of the body. He still has a long way to walk in physical therapy.
As far as work goes, he is back full time at a desk job during this process. It is a very important job and should be good for his career overall, which is blessing. Although “flying a desk” isn’t exactly an awesome match for his personality, we are very thankful to have a steady, paying, forgiving job during this process. We don’t know a ton more about him flying again. Basically, it will depend on how his recovery goes. The two potential issues will be grip strength and impairment of normal functions required for flying (according to the Extremity Disqualifying Conditions discussed with the Flight Doc today). Whhhhiiiich doesn’t really tell us much, ha! Plus, just about anything is waiver-able based on specific situations and air frames. So really, we just need to wait and see. We should have a much better idea in another 6 months.
The biggest blessing has been the overall lack of pain. Unless he accidentally tenses his hand, he has not been in any pain since about 3 weeks after the injury. This is really such a blessing for him.
Thanks for your support and prayers! We have no doubt, as we have witnessed firsthand during our nearly 14 years together, that God can work His wonderful ways in ANY situation. He has done it before, and we are waiting on Him to show us the way through this time.