As the largest orthopedic physician group in the Midwest, and one of the largest in the country, you are sure to find a clinic that best meets your needs.
March 15, 2019
A New Year’s resolution centered on healthy habits and a new weight lifting routine came to a screeching halt 9 days into the New Year. Who knew a smoothie could send you on a three month detour and into the OR. There should be a rule that stressful situations and injuries cannot occur before 6:30am but unfortunately at 6:15am, that fateful day, the blade fell out of the blender bucket landing on my finger. Fortunately (and unfortunately) my four year old daughter was there to witness the accident so I was unable to exhibit all of the emotions I felt. She kept telling me to be brave and calm my body down, “Breathe in and out Mama. Be brave.”
Five stitches later and I was thrust into the world of Orthopedic Hand Specialists. I made an appointment with “one of the best” they told me. I was hopeful he would be able to figure out why there was no feeling in my finger. I was blown away to hear a provider not rush to surgery. Mr. Bakker wanted to attempt non-invasive therapy first and I was grateful for that step. I didn’t feel pressured into choosing surgery, as I had at one of the competitors. I know that injury is just part of a TCO employee’s work day, but many of their patients come following a traumatic or stressful event. Although their priority is to help us heal, handling the emotions that are present is a critical step. From the beginning, I felt Dr. Bakker acknowledged those feelings that came from a change to my routine and capabilities. I could no longer pick up my daughter or those heavy weights I was longing to use at the gym. Everything was put on pause and I had to be patient.
Eventually it became evident that surgery would be needed to heal the loss of feeling. The surgery center was efficient and everyone I interacted with was so kind. I even ran into someone I went to school with since Kindergarten! Although there are so many things that “could have been worse” about my injury, the delay in getting started with my intended fitness plan was defeating, to say the least. Being unable to include the weight bearing exercises my new plan included could have been an excuse. But I did my best (cast and all) to get into the gym and do what I could. I’m grateful to say I’m finally at the stage where I can grip the weights and increase them. I’m starting to see the end of the tunnel. Dr. Bakker and my care team knew it would come, but sometimes when you’re in a difficult season, it feels as if there will never be an end to it.
My TCO Champion is my hand therapist, Jodi Chaplin, OTR/L. Jodi not only worked to get my finger functioning at full capacity but provided emotional support through our months working together. She was attentive to my worries about healing and I always left feeling at ease after our appointments together. It took me 34 years to get my first stitches so seeing a scar heal was something I hadn’t experienced. I would come in worried after what I had read on the internet and what my finger looked like and she would rave, “it looks beautiful!” She even welcomed my four year old one day (who had to attend due to a winter snow closing) with open arms. She kept Genevieve entertained and attended to my questions effortlessly. My daughter got to encourage me to be brave and see an example of a “helper.” I’ve told Genevieve, when people need help, there will always be helpers. Look for them. Every day I’m headed to see Jodi, Genevieve says, “Be brave mama, your helper will help you.”
So is there a silver lining in an injury? I suppose mine would be patience and allowing others to help me. My self sufficient nature had to take a back seat and in return I was able to feel supported and encouraged by your team. Now, for the gym date I’ve been waiting for!