Photo of a woman with fist raised.

Making Fists

Today I made my therapist’s day, but only after she made mine. You see, I fell at the beginning of June. I have fallen in the past, but apparently I don’t bounce back any more like when I was younger. I made the mistake of catching myself on two hands and one knee.

What a disaster.

After going to 5 different appointments, a fracture was identified in Fargo in my right hand. but the full arm casting was unbearable due to my elbow being out of place in three places (unbeknownst to any of us). I went to the Park Rapids clinic, where they re-casted me properly, and splinted my left hand. Both hands had tears. When I got the cast and splint removed, they referred me to therapy with their Occupational Therapist, Denise Ristinen.

I was such a challenge since both of my hands were injured. Both were incredibly swollen everyday, and so very painful. I was not only unable to do much, if any, self care, I also was unable to do many of the usual therapy exercises since I could not help the other hand to do them. She continued to work with me to find ways to perform them in non-conventional ways in order to benefit from them.

Before I went to her, my normally positive nature slipped into becoming a weeper. She turned things around for me. Particularly when she tried Astym Therapy. I had not responded as she had hoped, although I was improving. I know that the intense swelling impeded my progress. Once I began to recover from that, she considered using Astym Therapy although my condition was different than they usually use it for.

Well, it is doing the trick. On Thursday 10/14/17 she gave me my first treatment. The next day, I suddenly became conscious of the fact that my right hand was clenched in a fist. It made me cry, but tears of joy this time. I had not been able to grasp much of anything for four months. Friday the 13th was very lucky for me. I was able to stop wearing the compression glove on the right hand during the day. The next Thursday she did a 2nd treatment. During the rest of that week, my left hand (the worst of the two) began to show signs of the inflamation ceasing. By the time I had my appointment today, I have been able to quit wearing my compression glove during the day on the left hand and it has almost no swelling. The right hand no longer swells at all. I only wear the glove on the left hand at night now,

When I saw her today, she dropped her jaw when I was able to make a fist with the left hand too. It isn’t as tight as the right, but now that I can close those pinkies, I can hold things in them again. the difference is night and day, and I finally have hope that I may be able to recover function again.

I was beginning to wonder, but Denise always assured me that I was improving, and her encouragement has been so critical in my healing process. She didn’t have much to work with, but when I brought her lemons she made lemonade and I love it. She turned me around. She said I will probably only need a short time more and I know she is right. What a blessing God gave me in her.

Dolores Boyce
Essentia Health Park Rapids Clinic                                                                    705 Pleasant Avenue
Park Rapids, Minnesota, 56470

Website: www.essentiahealth.org

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