Hand Job




I went to physiotherapy before Christmas to see if they could do anything with my left hand that is starting to curl up on me. It wasn’t bothering me and it didn’t seem to affect my work but cosmetically it felt weird.  It appears to have gotten worse in the last 7 months.
I always ask people at a workshop if they all know how to roll a coil. Their eyes roll and then I show them you roll from a dry surface to a damp surface so the coil doesn’t dry out and that you roll from the tips of your fingers to the palm of your hand using as much surface area as you can.
Well I can no longer roll a coil with my left hand. I can’t lay it flat on the table. My friend Shirley’s husband Dr. John said I could have it operated on but I’d be out of commission for 6 weeks.  The first problem with that is that I would go nuts not making pots for 6 weeks and the second problem is that my hands are my pension. I need them to live in the life style I am accustomed to. I also hate hospitals.
I open clay mostly with my left hand and I think it is the repetition of opening mountains of clay over the years that has had it’s final say.  A while ago I was a mudslinger for hire. They ain’t making us repetition throwers anymore and I would hire myself out to potters that had more demand than supply. I charged 25% of retail – thrown, trimmed and handled. I always tried to make $500 a day so that meant throw $4000 worth of pots Day 1 and trim and handle them the next day.  So my 25% of $4000 or $1000 yielded me $500 a day. I could really make money on bowls, wine coolers, open casseroles and stuff with no additions.
That kind of repetition has taken it’s toll. I have some arthritic pain which I take Curcumin and garlic pills to help. It has worked for the most part.

Age doesn’t always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone.

Comments

bonnie said…
NOt sure if it would help, but have you tried glucosamine sulfate (not hcl), chondroitin and msm? - you can find all 3 in one pill. They are all natural compounds that exist in your bod already. I had severe arthritis for over 20 years (finally had an operation - hip) and this mix definitely helped me. Can't hurt to try! Slows deterioration of cartilage, relieves osteoarthritis pain and improves joint mobility. I know the docs arent' sure if it works, but I am! I doubled the recommended dosage for the first 3 weeks and felt relief right away. Can't hurt to try! Hope you find some relief...
Patty Kaliher said…
Tony, I think you have a syndrome that occurs in my family. It starts with a french name and I am contacting cousins who have it for the correct name. They have had it corrected surgically and lately there is treatment involving using needles in the hand. My sister was thrilled when she could put her hands in a Namaste position again. I'll do some more research and get back to you.

Patty Kaliher
Patty Kaliher said…
Got It Dupuytrens Contracture is the name of this Syndrome. Look it up and see if it fits.
Aloha,

Patty
Gillian said…
I have that syndrome in my right hand and saw an expert in the odd symptom. It isn't very pronounced but he injected it with cortisone and that seems to have stopped it from progressing. Check it out. It may be that there's treatment other than surgery that would help you.
Unknown said…
Tony! This popped up on my Facebook feed. I was your student a bunch of years ago at OCAD. The cup you gave me is my favourite. I can't help but comment on his post because I think what you have is Dupuytrens. I'm not a doctor and feel weird about giving you medical advice but I know someone who has it and he gets injections followed by a massage to break up the tissue. His hands look just like yours. I think it makes a difference if you get it done sooner than later because the tissue gets harder to break up after a while (I think) His results we're really good with the injections and massage. Hope this helps in some way! x Marlissa
Joan Shulman said…
This is depuytrens contracture. I have it in my right hand. My Doctor said that when you can't lay your hand flat anymore, then there are injections you can get to help. It seems like you are up to that point in the contracture. Being a potter, I was freaked out to see this happening. So far, I can lay my hand flat, so I don't need the shots yet. My mother had this too, but we didn't know what it was then, just thought it was old age/arthritis setting in, but it isn't...
Marlissa Flint said…
Here's the contact for a specialist in toronto. His name is Dr. Steven McCabe that you could get referred to (416) 603-5455

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