Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A day with a contracted finger

I am happy to say that I have managed to get my footage with the gloves edited to some extent and uploaded to YouTube. See the video here or scroll to the bottom: Sorry if you get some juddering, I had not issues at home and everything was fine but when trying to type this up in a lunch break it was not great unless I opened it in its own window, feedback on that also welcome, if lots of people have problems I will upload in a lower resolution and see if that improves things.

What did I do: 

Well with these gloves on I tried to do some everyday or at least every week task, the idea being that with the popper closed I am replicating having Dupuytren's. In order to try and make things a fair test where possible I was wearing the gloves and this proved great fun in my first task which was peeling potatoes. The gloves are quite slippery and so the potatoes went flying on several occasions but overall I think I got the message that peeling potatoes with Dupuytren's is not much fun. However I did find that there was a certain type of peeler with which it was much easier to peel, whether this is just because it is the peeler that I use all the time or whether it is because it is better I am not sure, any Dupuytren's up for trying it or that have already tried it can find the kind of peeler I was using, the better one HERE and less good one HERE and let us know whether you have had problems with it.

I then tried something that is probably more of an issue for younger patients, though feel free to correct me, that is playing on games consoles. In this case I use a PlayStation 3 controller to show that something that should be easy become very hard. This is not that surprising as the idea of the controller is that it is designed to be good for a 'normal' hand and so when one finger is contracted you can't hold it properly and I imagine if the index finger was contracted you would struggle as those fingers are used for playing. 

Using a walking stick is essential for me and many elderly patients and as Ledderhose disease levels are increased in Dupuytren's patients this is something that should not be taken lightly. I could not hold the stick properly and putting weight down onto the finger meant that I had a lot of pain in that finger and therefor would not be able to use the stick, are there any dual sufferers out there who have had to use a stick and have experience of this? 

Typing with the gloves on was really a challenge as I pointed out at the time. The finger really got in the way of my typing and whether this is more of an impact because I am a touch typist rather than a finger typist I do not know, again any comments from patients welcome. I found that I was often hitting multiple keys as that finger is bent over and therefore nearer the keyboard. Perhaps with some practice I would improve but it still seems like it was really hard and as I have to type for a living it is not something I would enjoy.

 I was a post on a site stating that playing with their kids / nephews / nieces etc was an issue. Now on the day I did not have anyone to play with so I used the cat  who was her usual playful self. I still think it made the point as holding her and moving her around were not easy and that pesky finger kept on getting in the way or bearing too much weight. This is a common problem I had and I kept on banging into doors or hitting my finger on surfaces, it was really very tricky having the loss of one finger.

I also tried to wear gloves, this was impossible. I simple could not get my hand into the glove properly with the finger contracted. Basically it was a case of being uncomfortable or being cold.

I did also try a few other tasks which I did not find problematic and this maybe because I have big pockets (putting my hands in my pockets) or because the wrong finger is contracted (doing up buttons). Overall I would say that there are several things that I tried that were impossible, several where it was annoying and would probably become extremely frustrating with time and some things that were not too bad but that I can see better now how patients struggle to do some every day tasks with just a finger contracted, it is not easy and I wish I could make a Ledderhose sock to get other people to try... maybe one day. 

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