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Old 10-29-2005, 11:48 AM   #1
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brownowl HB User
lymphedema of hand

In July I was in a car accident and almost lost my arm. As of Monday, my physical therapy is done and the doctors say that about 30% use of my hand is all that I will have left. The fingers are tremendously swollen and stiff. The biggest problem is the hand is really swollen. I have tried and am wearing a compression glove to try and relieve the fluid/swelling; however, this is not helping. I have a hematoma above my elbow from the accident -- the doctors will be removing it next week. Will this help?? Both doctors don't think it will help the hand. I've got to do something. I'm a computer programmer and my hands are my life.

 
Old 10-29-2005, 01:09 PM   #2
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Re: lymphedema of hand

Did the physical therapy focus on trying to relieve some of that swelling, or were they working on other stuff? Maybe an occupational therapist? I wouldn't settle for just stopping there, though. Get a second opinion, or more therapy, or something! Don't let your doctor just say that that's it, if you feel like it could be better. You know your body. If you feel like you have room for improvement, make sure your doctor facilitates that improvement for you. But also be patient. Recovery from catastrophic accidents can take a long time. Best of luck to you.

 
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Old 10-30-2005, 07:48 AM   #3
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Re: lymphedema of hand

Thanks for the reply. It always seemed that the therapists were just happy I could move the fingers at all. The wound care people kept saying they were amazed because they said it looked so much like ground hamburger that all were just happy I had the arm and hand. I have no feeling in the upper third of my 3 fingers (small, ring, and middle). The therapists focused on splinting it to keep it straight, not becoming a claw, and not movement and definitely not quality of movement. I could not accept just keeping it straight -- I worked to move it as much as possible. No matter what I have tried -- I can hold something, I know I have it, but I can't feel it and ultimately I either shake it to death or drop it. My doctors felt it would either be totally stiff or in the shape of a claw and its prospects were almost 0. And luckily, it is not a claw. From the moment the accident happened I have fought to keep my arm and hand moving. They move but ever so slowly. I can't accept this. I want it the way it used to be. I have to be real to myself and accept that everything changed that day. The therapists say its nerve damage and the swelling, but they only use the glove to reduce the swelling. I work with a lady who advises that maybe massage therapy can help this. I don't know. The therapists turn me loose from treatment tomorrow, so I have to look for other solutions. I can't give up on this. It saddens me ever single minute of the day when I look or try to use my hand. It burns constantly and pain is always there. My job has always been to fix things and make things better, but it seems like when it is really important that I fix this, I can't.

 
Old 10-30-2005, 11:11 AM   #4
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Re: lymphedema of hand

I would look into the massage therapy. I have heard it is really effective for lymphedema ... like for example, when people develop lymphedema of the arm after mastectomy.

 
Old 10-30-2005, 02:17 PM   #5
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Re: lymphedema of hand

Yeah... You're going to have to realize that it will probably never be the same as before the accident, but that doesn't mean that there's no room for progress. After I had ankle surgery, I had PT, but they mostly did a lot of massage to get rid of swelling, so massage may be the way to go, either through a massage therapist or a PT or OT.

 
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