As of today, I have five dives left. My progress has been striking. I am touch-typing this post with five fingers between my two hands. Grafts on my right pinky and left middle finger have fully healed, as has the flap on my right middle finger. My left index graft is close to healed, though it’s taking longer because of a probable infection that is now under control. My right thumb is closing up, even as a second ulcer with calcium deposits opened in the tip last week.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy notwithstanding, calcinosis remains one of my biggest challenges. My fingers are loaded with the little gray pits, and one is rising to the surface of my right index finger at just the wrong pressure point. But there is no cure for this, only patience and constant tending. Meanwhile, the worst of this marathon is behind me, thank goodness.
A friend asked me what I would do with all the time freed up in the morning, after the HBO ends next Thursday. Well, for one thing, I hope to get a little more sleep! It will be a pleasure not to have to head out to the hospital on a cold wintry morning at 7 o’clock. My goal is to use the regained three hours for my fiction writing. I’ve had to put this aside for the duration—filling the gap by listening to fine fiction via audio books while lying in the HBO chamber. Good to get back to my own creative writing, especially now that I can type again.
It will take some time to fully adjust to my “revised” hands. I’m still figuring out how much pressure I can exert on the two fingers that now have fused bones where knuckles used to be. I have next to no feeling in the grafts, so I have to learn how to interpret sensations deeper in these fingers—and avoid damaging what I don’t immediately notice.
The finger with the flap presents its own unique challenge: since the skin that was once the side of the finger is now wrapped over the top of the amputated tip, the nerves send confusing signals to my brain. The finger is also notably shorter and stubbier, which requires some readjustment to reach. I’m not quite sure what/where I’m feeling. So, practice, practice, practice, and my brain, I trust, will rewire.
But I remain amazed to have come through this eight month ordeal with functioning hands and ten fingers. This evening is the eighth night of Hanukkah. For me and my family, it is a most fitting way to mark my miraculous recovery.
I will be traveling over the weekend and taking a break next week from blogging. To you, Dear Reader, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season filled with joy, love, health and healing.
Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.
Image Credit: Element5 Digital