PHOTO DIARY OF A DUPUYTREN'S CONTRACTURE SUFFERER


Hello There, Stalkbookers!

I trust you are keeping well and not feeling too squeamish because this wee story is not for the faint of heart.
As some of you already know, two and a half weeks ago, I had corrective surgery on my left hand. This was to fix an issue that I have been living with since around the age of twenty and it is known as Dupuytren’s Contracture. (Named after the doctor who first did some research into it)

More about the ailment can be seen here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dupuytren's_contracture

It is a condition that mainly affects white, Northern Europeans and because of this it is sometimes referred to as “The Vikings Disease”, which I must admit sounds pretty cool, even if the ailment itself was not.
In fact, a few years ago, I went for a medical as part of a job application here in Oz and the doctor told me that the “disease” had been traced back to 3 villages in Norway. I have never heard this or read this anywhere, so I can’t verify this to be the case. And shortly afterwards he got me to strip to my undies and do squat thrusts whilst he stood behind me (seriously), so I’m certainly not certain of the legitimacy of this.

Basically, it is where the fingers gradually bend towards the palm and cannot be fully extended (straightened.) It never caused me too much pain but with time, it got gradually worse. It normally only occurs in the latter stages of life in your 60’s and 70’s but thanks to the fact that I had two separate instances where I broke the finger in one hand and badly dislocated a finger in my right hand* and, coupled with the fact that I have a particularly extreme case of it, accelerated the onset of the problem.

* - More of this incident I recalled with great gusto in an article on my blog. Believe me; the sheer stupidity of this incident has to be read to be believed. http://belgiumisboring.blogspot.com.au/2005/06/insomiac-writes.html

Anyway, as I say, I've lived with it for 20 years and about 10 years ago in Belgium I got my right hand operated on. 10 years later and it was the turn of my left hand to get seen to.

And seen to it surely was.

This is what it looked like, a few minutes before surgery. (Apologies for the blurriness of the picture but I was a little stressed at the time!)



Not a pretty sight!

I was in the operating theatre for over 5 hours and, after two skin grafts and approximately 85 stitches later; I was set free in the world, or at least to my hospital bed, where this photo was taken whilst under the influence of some great drugs.



The past 2 weeks have been all about ensuring that the grafts take well. Then, on Monday I went for my post-op consultation and the results were promising. At least according to my surgeon, they were – from where I was looking, I reckoned my hand was something more suited to Frankenstein’s monster.
So, on Monday about half of the stiches were taken out and I was given a much more mobile (and rather sexy) splint:



Yesterday, the other half of the stitches were removed.

StalkBookers, I am here to tell you all right now, that I was not a brave soldier when it came to this process. 85 stiches being removed from ones hand and fingers was an exhausting and excruciating experience. And that was just for the physio that removed them.

So now – here I am at my keyboard “kind of” typing with two hands. I now have a process of 3-4 months rehabilitation but I am happy to report that the journey has begun and I am well on my way to recovery.
Oh – and before I go – this is what my hand looks like now:



Not perfectly straight, granted but it was never going to be, thanks to the years of stretching that the tendons were subjected to but at least now I can get dressed in the morning without poking my own eye out.
Thanks for listening.

NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH ALERT!!! Do not read on if you’re of a squeamish disposition. 

Ladies and Gentlemen – I give you my Frankenstein hand uncovered in all its naked glory:





Comments

Darren Black said…
Hope you're doing ok bro.
Darren Black said…
Hope you're ok bro!