Since my injury, the extensors have been paralyzed, which has let the flexors (the muscles in charge of bending the fingers, in other words, of closing the hand) take over. As a result, the flexors have been dominating my hand’s movements. Yet, thanks to the action of a splinter that we’ve been placing on and off, my fingers have gone from totally to partially closed. So, this exercise is a dynamic between pulling to the outside to open the fingers, and pulling to the inside to close them.
I think of it as a battle between the right and left fingers; the right fingers want to pull the left to the outside, but the left resist. Both enemies are determined to win – it’s a battle to the death. To teach my fingers to open and thus be able to grab things (which would make it possible to do almost anything, from cooking to reaching a bottle of shampoo), I have to strengthen the extensors gradually. That way, they will take over my fingers’ movements and the victory of the right fingers will be assured.
Kelly, my former occupational therapist, came over to assess my (limited) progress and device new exercises that would help my arm movements improve. When she came, she referred me to Sabashni, one of her colleagues from the time she used to work in New York, whom she recommended warmly. Eric and I called Sabashni, and she agreed to help me. I went to her office on Saturday, and she was pleased with what she saw. So now she will teach me and Tammy, my nurse aid, new exercises to improve the movements of my left arm and hand. Then, I will do endless repetitions of these exercises, and the right fingers will triumph.