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Finger Splints – How I Became Crafty, Trendy, and Got Street Cred All In One Day

Posted Aug 22 2010 12:54pm

Illness and Crafts. That is the ChronicBabe.com topic of the blog carnival this week and so it motivated me to write about my finger splint. After all, to the critics in Hollywood I am now officially trendy and have some street cred. No, that’s not a typo. It’s “street cred” not “street creed.” But I regress.

I had joint replacement surgery on four fingers in November 2009 and was feeling a bit bummed out that after months of therapy, I was leaving the office with something on my hand now called a “finger splint” that never should have been there.

My therapist was trying to downplay it but it felt like someone had wrapped a big piece of duct tape around my fingers.

finger splint 250 Finger Splints   How I Became Crafty, Trendy, and Got Street Cred All In One Day

What I currently wear every day

The surgery had not been as successful as surgeon, rheumatologist, or hand therapist had hoped. My range of movement was much less than they had anticipated, despite my wearing the large outrigger splint 12 weeks instead of 6 and doing all of my exercises.

In the end one finger, my “ring finger,” was crooked. It sticks up too far. It pops in and out of place. It is a silicone joint that is permanently in the wrong location. It won’t “slip back into place.” And yes, it drives me nutty.

To most people, my finger just appears slightly curved–no big deal, right? But I can’t really bend it down, which means I don’t really have a grasp with my hand. My other fingers get lost when the ring finger muscle it constantly determined to ride an invisible wave. I can’t grasp the steering wheel of the car or pick up something.

And it’s as though my hand gets tired, the ring finger always wanting all the attention. It sends little signals to my brain like a hyper poodle in her puppy years: “It’s me, pick me up, look at me, can we play? Come on, please, please?”

All through months of therapy I had jokingly said, “I just need a bigger diamond for my wedding band, right? Can you write a prescription for my husband for that?” I didn’t even care if it was a real stone. I just wanted weight.

So, this is how I ended up with what they call a “finger splint,” a long piece of medical material (that my husband would love to get his hands on to use for models). They heat it and then wrap it around your fingers to form a splint.

“Just think of it like a girdle” the therapist smiled. “This is a FOREVER kind of thing.”

“There is a REASON I don’t wear girdles!” I insisted (also with a smile.)

So, that’s where my head was as I left. Annoyed at the botched surgery.

The week previously I had seen the surgeon’s x-rays. In the surgery room the x-ray looked fine. A week later, it was crooked. It was why I had signed on the dotted line before surgery I understood there was no guarantee. It is what it is.

So I drove over to Michael’s craft store and found a sticky strip of fake tiny rhinestones. I trimmed it down and put it on the splint. Much improved. And since the medical material tends to turn an ugly dark ivory, toasted marshmallow color, it would help people see the glitz and not the “dirt.”

A few hours later I went to Walmart and as I walked by a girl about twelve she exclaimed, “Oh! I love your ring!” I paused and looked down and then did a quick explanation that was totally confusing and unnecessary. But in the end I told her, “Thank you. I needed to hear that.”

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The Outrigger Splint - worn 12 weeks 24/7

I updated the photo of my outrigger splint on Facebook to my finger splint and people said I had “pimped” my assistive device. I had never thought anything I did would be described as “pimping” but there ya go. Life is odd.

I’m still wearing it. I’m on my second one now. I have ordered a sterling silver finger ring splint that didn’t fit, got re-measured by my therapist, and have sent it back now to be melted down and get a different kind of ring and size. To the right you can see what my first one looked like. The black and white photos down below shoes what the next one will look like that I will try.

The other option is to go see a different surgeon and see what is involved in re-doing surgery on this finger. That is my plan (after dental work and cataract surgery).

One day my husband said, “Did you see People magazine? There is a ring in there like yours!” Yep, leave it to Rihanna to make a 2-finger ring popular. I was hip, right? Wrong. The article stated:

“. . . two years ago, you couldn’t watch an episode of The Hills without catching a glimpse of Lauren Conrad’s knuckle-duster name ring. Well, now TV stars and singers alike just can’t get enough of the two-finger accessory. Thin and feminine designs work bestand keep it to just two fingers. A row full of knuckles guarantees you a Fashion DUI.”

Fashion DUI. Now I was pimping and had a fashion DUI. I wonder what the people on “What Not To Wear” would think of my black, bulky, diabetic Mary Jane shoes?

And some of you may even agree. Hating my puffy prednisone face, I had temporarily made my Facebook profile photo a picture of this amazing crafty finger splint. When I changed it back to a photo of my face you said, “Oh good, I was so tired of looking at your fingers and that painful splint!”

multi finger ring Finger Splints   How I Became Crafty, Trendy, and Got Street Cred All In One Day

It's trendy! 1 star for each joint replaced, maybe?

Little did you know you were seeing art in action, though, huh? Because as I was writing this article, I found a new Hollywood attitude. Here is the article with some photos if you are interested in joining my fad, Multi Finger Rings That Pack A Punch !

Fashion Allure says:

“Flaunt your street cred with an extravagant hip hop style. With celebrity clientele including Rihanna, Megan Fox, Alicia Keys and Fergie, a two-finger, three-finger and four-finger ring is all the craze right now! Meant to be worn simultaneously on multiple fingers, the multi-finger ring is providing for a flashy and a truly dramatic look.”

So, now, with just a click of a mouse, I can define myself as flashy and dramatic. But what on earth is my street cred? What actually is a street cred? I had to look that up. Urban dictionary says, “Commanding a level of respect in an urban environment due to experience in or knowledge of issues affecting those environments; imaginary ‘points’ you get when you do something cool.”

Hmmm. . . don’t know if I qualify in the sense they mean. I suppose in the patient community, however, I’ve got me some “street cred”–if you can get “points” for joint replacement surgery. Can I have one for each finger I had replaced?

The article also says, “This playful and trendy ring type will get you maximum of desired attention. Hurry up and get one before it’s gone!”

silver ring splint 3 Finger Splints   How I Became Crafty, Trendy, and Got Street Cred All In One Day Well, who knew? Do I really want that kind of attention? I’m asking myself, do I really want to look like the kind of person who wears brass knuckles? And do they mean, “hurry” because the rings will be gone? Or the trend? Probably the trend.

And I will once again be committing a fashion faux pa.

The bummer part is all these fashionistas get to take it the rings off when they start to feel uncomfortable. I imagine I feel a bit like how people with migraines don’t want to hear about how someone’s head band or pony tail is giving them a headache.

Overall, am looking forward to receiving my next ring in the mail and seeing what it feels like. With rheumatoid arthritis, any ring is hard to fit, when your hands swell and knuckles flare. But I am getting weary of having to clean my little medical ring with toothpaste to get rid of the stink. . . I mean scent.

Sterling silver will be a huge improvement and who knows? Maybe I will just look like a 40-something mom who is hip enough to wear what somebody from some show called “The Mountains” is wearing–I mean “The Hills.”

Whatever!

___________________________________

Looking for a splint for some kind of deformation of your hands? The story behind Silver Ring Splint company is interesting! The web site states:

In 1974, occupational therapist Cynthia Garris was forced to take a new look at splint therapy – in that year, she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She had long believed in the value of splinting, but soon realized that none of the existing technologies addressed the long-term use of splints. While plastic splints were fine for treating short-term trauma, no one would willingly use this cumbersome and embarrassing solution for the remainder of their lifetime. In 1985, she set out to design and manufacture a new series of splints that were both more effective and far more attractive than the splints then in use. In the process, she revolutionized every aspect of splint therapy.

facebook profile 80x80 Finger Splints   How I Became Crafty, Trendy, and Got Street Cred All In One Day

is the founder of Rest Ministries and is in the process of getting ready for National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week!

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