Quilts for Sale

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Very Encouraging Words

Dr. Heather Havlik, Sports Medicine Specialist
Charlotte Medical Clinic

Everything I love doing involves using my hands. I've been a quiltmaker for nearly 30 years. Before that, I enjoyed other needle arts - embroidering pillowcases for my hope chest, knitting, cross stitch, needlepoint. Add piano playing and endless computer time and the result is not pretty. I've abused my hands terribly, refusing to stop a painful activity until they went numb. Not good.

I've had carpal tunnel syndrome for a long time. Having heard horror stories about the long recovery period, I'd convinced myself I couldn't be "laid up" for eight to 12 weeks. So the problem became more serious and I developed trigger thumbs - a very bad thing. I could no longer grasp, could not turn a doorknob, could barely squeeze a tube of toothpaste. It was painful to drive, as my hands quickly became numb.

In the past I'd been told my CPS was severe, that the nerve damage was permanent. But I learned after an EMG (electromyogram) yesterday that my condition is moderate. I had a cortisone shot in the base of my right thumb which will relieve some of the pain, and was fitted with splints to wear at night. Rest the carpal.

I sought help from Dr. Heather Havlik, a sports medicine specialist who'd been highly recommended by my brother-in-law, a master woodworker. I may still need to have surgery, but Dr. Havlik's approach is to employ more conservative measures first. After six weeks of wearing the splints and trying to rest my hands more, we'll take another look. I am very encouraged!

To assess nerve damage, the TECA Synergy machine records voltage levels in muscle tissue.

Oh my - are these for me?

I'll admit I was anxious about the EMG, having been told by a friend, "I cried through the whole thing." My experience was very tolerable, and quick. Even the cortisone shot was OK. I'm following Dr. Havlik's orders and look forward to regaining full use of my hands.

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