Trigger finger is something that is common with diabetics. Trigger finger affects the tendons in your hand and can cause pain and the joints in your finger to pop. Sometimes when you bend your finger and try to bend it back, it won’t unbend and you have to unbend it manually with your other hand.
I had my first trigger finger in 2003. By coincidence, it happened after a fall and I thought I did something to my hand. When I mentioned it to my doctor, he moved my finger and it did not pop. It had been popping for two weeks and did not pop then but then he did something different in moving it that made it pop – that was the first time I ever heard the word trigger finger.
My doctor referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon. The orthopaedic surgeon first injected me with cortisone. He wanted to try that before doing surgery. Unfortunately, the only thing the cortisone did was raise my blood sugar. About that same time, I ended up with another trigger finger in my other hand. The surgeon did not want to bother with the cortisone, but I wanted to at least try it.
That doctor was crazy so I ended up switching to another doctor in the same group. He wanted to do surgery on both of my hands at the same time. I now know that it is an easy surgery, but there is no way that I could function with stitches in both hands. I tried to explain to him that I lived alone and needed to be able to take insulin shots but he insisted it was not a problem. He had an opening in his schedule for something like 2 days later and wanted me to do it then. I did not want to because although I knew I would be able to get someone to take me, I needed a little more time to get a ride to the hospital. He then told me that I would be able to drive myself home after having both hands operated on. Needless to say, I did not go thru with him doing the surgery!
I saw one of the other doctors in the group and he told me that he would not do both hands at the same time – I guess he saw it in my chart that I was scheduled to have both done. I did not want both done at the same time, so that was fine for me.
Surgery itself was very easy. For that first one, I was totally asleep. For some reason, when they woke me up after the surgery, I started to scream. My doctor told me that I looked right at him and screamed. He gave me pain pills but I did not need them. When he called me that evening to check on me, I told him I did not need the pain pills and he said my hand was probably still numb and I would need them. I didn’t need them and told him that when I went to get the stitches out. He told me to remind him when he did the other hand. I did learn after that surgery that there are a bunch of things that I do with both hands – drying my hair and getting dog food out of a can to name a couple. Even though it is your knuckle that pops, when they do the surgery, they make the incision at the base of your fingers. Although I did not have any problems, there is no way I could have handled surgery on both hands at the same time.
The second surgery was also very easy. The first one was at a surgery center and the second was at the hospital When the doctor came into the room, he bent over and whispered in my ear and told me not to scream this time. For the second surgery, I was awake enough to hear them talking in the room.
In 2006 when I was doing HBO, I started having problems with my thumb. I knew that it was trigger finger from the popping but because of the situation with my foot, I was not in a position to get it taken care of. I did discover if you wait long enough, the pain goes away. I do have some problems with it popping, but because it is my thumb, it doesn’t get stuck in a bent shape like my other fingers did so I never bothered getting that one fixed.
In 2008, I ended up with two more trigger fingers – they apparently like to come in pairs! Because I had moved, I had to find a different orthopaedic surgeon. I was worried that he would want to try cortisone first and I really did not want to bother since it did not work in the past. Fortunately, this surgeon did not want to try that because he said it was dangerous for diabetics. I wasn’t going to argue with him on that one.
Those two trigger fingers were even easier surgery because they just did a local and I was able to stay awake. He gave me some pain pills for the first one, but I did not need to use those either. When he did the second surgery, he was in the room doing the paperwork and asked me about pain pills and I said that I did not need them. The nurses laughed and then they must have thought I was tough because they asked if I wanted to watch the surgery on the monitor they had. I said yes. Let’s just say, I wish I had not said yes but was also too embarrassed to tell them to turn it away. I will never make that mistake again!
The crazy doctor that told me that I could drive myself home after having surgery on both hands also told me that I would eventually get trigger finger in all 10 fingers because of my light complexion. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I was surprised to get 5. I am hoping that those were the only 5 I get!
We are coming down the home stretch on the Big Blue Test video so even if you have already watched it several times, please take a couple minutes to watch it again – every click helps!