Thumbpocalypse update

It’s time for a long-overdue thumb update. To catch you up to speed (or for first-time readers), here’s a brief recap: I fractured my drawing thumb in mid-November and had surgery on November 27. My hand migrated from cast to cast for about a month, after which I started two months of physical therapy.

My top priority is getting my thumb back to normal. If you’ve ever had a sprain, strain, fracture or other debilitating injury, you know that physical therapy is vital to the recovery process. But even after two months of semi-weekly and weekly sessions, I’m still at about 90% of full mobility. I’m told by my surgeon (Dr. Bryan Leek) and my physical therapist (Angela Witucki) that this will likely take a year before all the excess internal scar tissue is reabsorbed, collagen returns (I think) and the tendons (or ligaments — I always confuse them) stretch back to previous limits.

Note the asymmetry

So for now, I have new limitations on my right hand — I can’t open my grip as far as my left hand and I can’t ball up a fist quite as tight as my left hand (see above). The biggest limitation is the tendon (ligament?) at my thumb’s first knuckle, the one just past the thumbnail. That’s been tightened to the point where it takes A LOT of warming up to get a decent bend out of it. This makes it somewhat difficult to write, draw and use an ink brush the way I used to, especially inking smooth arcs or writing the letter U (which ends up looking like a V).

But that’s all inside stuff. From the outside, my right hand looks pretty normal. There’s an inch-long scar that runs alongside a slightly swollen knuckle, both of which should fade over time.

Is there a doctor in the house? (Yes— that's our dog, The Doctor)

I’ve been putting up new strips on an irregular basis. Once the cartooning gears of industry are grinding at full strength, you’ll see Cool Jerk back to a weekly schedule. Thanks for hanging in there!

  1. Lee Cooper says:

    I had something like this, too (It was my right wrist.) X-rays taken five days after my fall showed the bones were moving. I was recommended surgery for my “fracture of the distal radius” to ensure the bones healed in the proper position. His plan was to put in an external fixator, basically an adjustable bar held in place by two pins in the forearm and two pins in the hand, to keep the bone long and in-line while it healed. Then he took it out and after some physical therapy it all went back to normal.

  2. Awwww…the Doctor is photobombing your hands!


  3. fernandoXXXIV says:

    Glad to hear (read) and see your mighty drawing hand is on the mend!

  4. Phoenix Ice says:

    Aww cute puppy! Not Puppy (capitalized, proper noun, though she is always cute).

  5. Our Man Horn says:

    @caninecolgne & Phoenix Ice: He’s pretty good at photobombing. Fetch? Not so much.

    @fernandoXXXIV: It’ll be a long road, but at least I can draw again!

  6. Kim the Cat Girl says:

    Take it easy, Paul! Don’t rush yourself on our account and focus on fully recuperating!

  7. LHKnight says:

    Hope you’re doing your physical therapy exercises.

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