Yesterday, I went to the NorthShore Health System Ambulatory Care Center on Day 57 of the Character Building Trial (which was Day 72 overall of the Injury Ordeal). This was for a four-week post-cast follow-up. He looked at my hand, tried moving it and realized that it was still quite stiff, and the appointment included another X-ray.
He came back about three minutes after the test to give me good news: the wrist has fully healed. Any residual pain is only due to stiffness, which will be correctable if I continue to comply with the occupational therapy exercises.
Last week, when I was at my occupational therapy appointment, the therapist elucidated a significant difference between two four-letter words. One is “harm” and the other is “hurt.”
What is the difference? The therapy exercises may end up hurting, i.e. causing pain, since a stiff hand will have a tendency to want to just stay put. Therefore, the main idea of the word “hurt” is the idea of pain. It is partially physical, but also partially mental.
She, however, also mentioned that despite the pain that I may experience through these stretches, that I will be doing no harm. Harm, in this sense, is (fully physical) damage. That is, I will not re-aggravate my injury (e.g. re-fracture) by doing these exercises.
This is good to know, and in some sense, I feel that some of the pain that I was feeling in the first week of the exercises was mentally exacerbated, fearing that the stretches would cause harm, perhaps aggravating the wrist and forcing me to start over. This fear was amplified at the football game on August 31, when I was tripped on the stands and fell onto my brace.
Yesterday, the doctor also said that I should fully transition out of the brace. I tested it out by riding to the office from Skokie (about a 5-mile stint) and felt little pain in my hand. As previously mentioned, the mind is the source of pain. Knowing that I am going to be okay is oftentimes one of the best ways that any pain that I feel will diminish.
The last question: even though I am done with the corrections of braces and casts, should I continue to count the days of the Trial until my last OT appointment? I think so.
Today is the two-hundred and fifty-third day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes thirty-six weeks and one day.
Today is the fifty-eighth day of the Character Building Trial. That makes eight weeks and two days.