Updated: Aug 9
My left thumb started hurting a couple of years ago, shortly before the car wreck Zet and I experienced. Because we both had more painful and pressing injuries to deal with after the wreck, I delayed taking action on the hand, until the pain increased to the point where the thumb locked up and became immobilized. An orthopedic hand specialist diagnosed it as Trigger Finger, a common occupational hazard for long-time musicians, massage therapists and others who use their hands extensively. Repetitive use can cause the main tendon that runs through the affected finger to develop a knot, which then can't slide through the protective sheath surrounding the tendon, eventually causing the finger to lock in place.
The doctor recommended a surgical procedure which is fairly common, involving an incision at the base of the thumb, and has 96% average success rate. However, in about 3% of the cases, the surgery doesn't help; and less than 1% of the time, the situation gets worse, with some patients suffering permanent nerve damage and/or stiffness in the finger. Sounded dangerous to me.
fI'm fairly risk-aversive by nature, and generally avoid allopathic medicine by habit, so I decided against the surgery, consulted other experts, tried dietary changes and experimented with finger exercises to no avail, before finally electing to have a steroid injection. That effectively reduced the pain for several months, but eventually it returned, just as the doctor had predicted it. He recommended surgery once again, saying he'd performed this identical procedure several thousand times over the years, without failure, and that I'd almost certainly be playing guitar without pain within a couple of weeks.
CHOOSING TO FOCUS
Still, I delayed taking action, not wanting to risk being one of the rare patients whose condition worsens after surgery. But after a couple more months of pain, I finally realized how silly it was to keep worrying about the 1% chance of failure, versus the 96% chance of success. Instead, why not focus on my Soul Purpose, which is "to experience, explore and express the free flow of Spirit moving through me" and which DEFINITELY includes my love of playing guitar. Why not concentrate on trusting the Holy Mystery, rather than on my trust in a surgeon - or lack thereof.
FEELING THE DIFFERENCE
That's how I wound up at the TSAOG outpatient clinic yesterday morning, where I received excellent service and compassionate care, resulting in a relatively painless operation that literally took ten minutes from incision to finish. I went home with my hand heavily bandaged and a prescription for a narcotic painkiller which proved to be completely unnecessary. Instead I took a 1M dose of homeopathic Arnica and one Acetaminophen, applied an ice pack and some essential oils, then enjoyed a good night's sleep. I awoke feeling well-rested and pleasantly surprised by how good my hand felt, all things considered. I didn't need any additional Acetaminophen, and was even able to play a few chords on the guitar, albeit gingerly. Yes!
AFFIRMING MY FAITH
In the aftermath of all that, I feel humbled once again by how easy it was to let myself be run by my fears and resistance to change. And how simple it was to make a new choice to focus on faith instead, with a willingness to trust in the ever-evolving mystery of life unfolding within and around me. That's why I'm taking this opportunity to tell you my story, and affirm that all is well, and all shall be well - today, tomorrow and always. For this awareness -- and yet another opportunity to remember -- I give thanks.