Subject: Burn Update #2
From: David Rush <>
Date: 09 Jun 2002 02:32:24 +0100
Message-ID: <>

Hi y'all

Well life and healing have been moving on. At the moment I am deep
into the second stage of outpatient treatment - appliance
management. No, really. At this stage the bandages are all off (as of
May 14), except that they're back on in a different way. Now I am
wearing a custom-made glove on my right hand and silicone patches
under a stocking on my left leg as close to 24 hours each day as I can
manage. There's a fair bit of cleaning and other fooling around that
goes with these devices: Patricia and I have been joking that I spend
my days handwashing all of my medical stuff. It's a bit of an
exaggeration, but it does feel that way sometimes. The morning ritual
takes a good two hours now, from stretching through shower, dressing,
creams, cleaning, applying silicone. I'm really glad that my employer
has helped me to set up a home office space - adding a commute into
this picture would make me really ineffectual.

But I'm not yet back at work anyway. AOL won't let me back. The
company doctor is (rightly) concerned that I don't cause any further
damage to my hand from the repetetive motion of typing. Given my
history with RSI, I have to agree with her, although I find the
inactivity frustrating. It took a fairly good scare and some lecturing
from the various medical people who are working with me to get me to
slow down enough to actually heal.

It all happened shortly after I sent the last update. I'd been feeling
good; my physical therapist had done her magic to my wrist and, with
stretching, I'd actually managed to get most of the motion back. I
knew that I needed to reorganize my home office space in order to get
it certified as safe by the company medical personell, so I spent most
of the day cleaning the office and moving the furniture. And I still
felt fine at the end of the day. The next morning I woke up and I'd
lost about half of the motion in my hand. This worried me a bit, so I
put a bit of extra effort into my stretching exercises. By the end of
the day my wrist hurt all the way up to my elbow, and it was sending
little pain telegrams up to my shoulder just for grins.

The following day things weren't really much better and I was having
problems with the skin on the *back* of my hand (the upper layers were
tearing off). This scared me a fair bit so I called my PT to ask what
was going on. Her response was simple: I overused my hand, and had
additionally been neglecting the moisturizing cream/massage
regimen. This message was repeated to me by the nurse who was coming
out to change the bandages, and the company doctor several time over
the next two days: "You're broken. Stop fooling yourself. Settle down
and heal".

Well anyway, that was over a month ago, and I have healed a fair
bit. There are still good days and bad days, but I seem to have moved
past the stage of sowing activity and reaping pain. It's far better to
have things hurt right away. Then the only problem is figuring out
whether or not you're supposed to work through the pain. It's turning
out that the answer for me, from my PT anyway, is almost always "not".

About two weeks ago, I was back in to the hospital for my periodic
therapist visits, and my PT sent me over to the Occupational
Therapists to have a brace made for my wrist at night. It takes a
while to make a brace, so I spent the time asking questions, trying to
get the answers to the questions that the AOL doctor was going to ask
me at an upcoming appointment. During this discussion, the OT
mentioned that I was suposed to be massaging the sking graft on my
wrist for 15 minutes, four times each day. No one had ever quantified
the practice for me, so I was quite shocked: I was doing maybe *one*
minute, three times a day.

Wanting to do all that I could to ensure the maximal recovery of
dexterity in my hand I settled down to the task over the next few
days. And it started to hurt. A lot, and not in the scar tissue, but
down in the tendons. Since I knew that I was going to be back to the
PT in just a few more days, I figured to push on through. When I
finally got a chance to ask the PT about it, she told me that she
hadn't given me a fixed prescription of massage because my burns were
electrical: they didn't really know what sort of damage had occurred
inside my wrist. She made it clear that I was to stay "within limits
of comfort." So I quit. It took the best part of the *next* week for
my hand to get back to what I now call normal.

So "within limits of comfort" has become my mantra of healing, but it
is a difficult one. I mean you can only find that limit when it starts
to hurt, and something hurts on a low-level pretty much all the
time. Even so, God has been doing some interesting things in the midst
of this. I've been finding that when I get the saints to pray
concerning these healing-process injuries that they get healed (as in
the pain is gone and doesn't come back) immediately! It's been really
surprising to me and doesn't fit in with my theology of healing very
well at all. It seems that either you're well or not. Having God
partially intervene in the natural process just doesn't seem
right. Well obviously, He can do whatever He wants, but it still
surprises me.

So that's what's been going on. Thanks to all of you for your prayers
and support. My hand still is a bit fragile, and the leg grafts
don't like it if I walk too much, but I am definitely doing
better. God's blessing on you all.

david rush

Thtrap it to the bench and put a good thick bolt of lightning through
it, that'th our motto.
	-- Igor (in _Thief of Time_)