Surgery Proposal #3

For people that don’t know me (i.e. those on Planet NZTech), I am the incredibly lucky owner of a broken left arm, in the sense that a nerve was compressed up in my elbow region for a number of years in my mid to late teens. This means that all my fingers and thumb can’t be extended – they tend to droop almost completely. I have a few tricks up my sleeves, such as using a flat laptop keyboard to have some typing ability in the left hand. I try to use my left hand as normally as possible, but it is an annoying thing.

I have already had two surgeries on it attempting to alleviate some of the pressure on the nerve, and for all intents and purposes, this was successful. The downside was that the hoped-for improvements to my hand never eventuated. This led to me going to my second Wellington hand-clinic yesterday (the first was a year ago leading up to my second surgery). Seeing these 5 specialists, they all recommended a surgery known as a tendon transfer, whereby tendons usually mapped to control the ‘closing’ of my fingers would be instead mapped to lift my fingers. The problem is that one tendon will be used for my thumb, and another four all four fingers. My understanding of this would mean that I would have to lift all four fingers at the same time, and possibly also lower them at the same time.

This would not be ideal for typing (my special use case), but in general would be an improvement I feel.

I don’t know if I want this surgery or not. My research online only yields far too technical discussions on the matter, and my surgeon lives 2 and a half hours away in Wellington (and charges too much). I really dont know if it’ll be the right thing to do or not – I may live to regret it, or alternatively wonder why I ever put it on hold (as I have been for the last year already).

So that’s my story as of right now. I am needing to make a choice, but don’t quite know the way I should decide. I have resolved to stop being so lazy with my arm and to try and work it out daily (by playing with kids toys no less – I’m heading down to the warehouse today to buy some building blocks 🙂 ). Any thoughts, either on here or privately via email, would be much appreciated.

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