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Getting back on the bench after an injury


#1

It’s been over a year now since I shattered my right hand and arm. I’ve pretty much gotten most of the hands usage back, but I still can’t bend it backward. This due to all the metal plats rods, and many many screws that are still lighting up metal detectors, left in my wrist. I saw the oath doc two days ago, and he doesn’t want to take the hardware out yet. So I got a wonderful cortisone shot into the wrist. After the shot I walked into the lobby to pay and leave. 2 hours later they figured I was ready to leave. I never lost consciousness, but I was not able to even open my eyes. No problem with my mouth though. Now I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will most likely have the hardware in my hand the rest of my life.

Here is the problem. Even the slight bit I can bend it backward doing things like holding and using gravers has become something I can no longer do. The pain that shoots up my hand and arm is not worth the work. I was reading about the power engraver and got to wondering, what other types of tools are out there to help ease the pain you get in your hand/wrist from what was once normal work? I can use pliers, files, hammers, stuff like that. Some things I worked and learned to use my left hand. But gravers are evil to me. It is one of those things that only will work (in my peabrain) with my right hand. I learned to do sawing with my left hand. Until you go to use a tool you don’t realize how much you bend you hand.

Any suggestions about tricks or tools people with injuries or arthritis have adapted would be appreciated.


#2

Agnes I’m now in the very same predicament. I too have 6 screws in my
Spine. but here comes the ‘fun’ part. Somewhere in my body is the cause of
my 24/7 pain problems. (No doctor knows for sure where) walking or
sometimes standing is a thing of the past. I have Severe Arthritis, pain in
walking & standing. So what do I do?
I take nerve-blockers “Pregabalin” 75 mgs 2x a day! But things could be so
much worse, I’m accepting my 8/10 pain levels!! I’m creating a finer line
of silver jewellery, how is this done?..sitting at my bench, here is my
best part of this new predicament. I place all of my mini-tools all around
my bench, all I do is to move my chair within a small area.
I can still teach & drive a car where ever the students want me…Think
positive! We are still creative & active in our minds. BTW. Cortisone shots
don’t work for me, at all!!
At least were ‘above ground’…:>) and enjoying our great families &
grand-kids…Lighting our first of 8 Channukah candles tonight and being
with the family gang!
Please Stay Positive…let someone else do the ‘using of gravers’. In other
words, delegate your jewellery chores!
Fondest regards, I fully understand how you feel!!!..;>( Write to me
off-line if you wish!!

Gerry Lewy

www.gemsettingtutor.com http://www.gemsettingtutor.com


#3

Aggie…I can only imagine your frustration and hope that I never have to live it. Hopefully my brother, who also participates in the forum, will chime in. He helps people figure these things out for a living and is a silversmith. He has also had to deal himself with injuries similar to those that you describe. Don you out there?


#4

HI Aggie,

My deepest sympathies. I occasionally have nightmares about getting my hands smashed up. I think most crafts-beings do, if they’re honest about it.

As far as engraving goes, I’d suggest picking up some sort of powered sharpening system, like the GRS powerhone.
I switched over to a powered engraver a while back, and that DOES help, but I still do a fair bit (when I do it) with the same gravers, in an un-powered, generic holder. The thing I noticed was even then, the thing that made the most difference was how much sharper the gravers were once I’d switched over to a powered (diamond & ceramic) sharpening rig. I do know how to sharpen by hand, learned at the bench in London. But once I got a microscope, and a power graver, I quickly realized just how much sharper I could get the things by switching to a machine. Once I started doing that, even the hand graving was much easier, since the tools were so much sharper.

That’s one of the things I’ve noticed with watching other people struggle with engraving tools: the tools are dull, so you push harder, so they skip out, leave marks, and don’t go where you want, nevermind having to work so much harder. If the tools are sharp, they’re so much easier to use.

Hang in there,
Brian


#5

Hi Brian,

I agree with you…I was determined to learn how to sharpen gravers “by hand”…after a year of suffering, I broke down, defeated, and got a power hone…life changing moment…

it is amazing that with a properly sharpened (and angled/shaped) graver, the metal cuts/ shaves like butter! …if it doesn’t, then I know that it is time to sharpen it!

Julie


#6

Hi,
So my syphathies… I also have hand issues, different cause, no diagnosis after years. I live with steroids ( who’d a’ ever thought that would be a drug of choice after a misspent 60’s…).
Look into Lifewave products, patches, non transdermal, no drugs. They work for me, some Parkensons afflicted. Not for everyone but in about 10 years I’ve seen about 80 % or so success rate.
I work with a lot of disabled surfers/ athletes and am seeing success there. There are a lot of nuts, bolts & screws involved for these folks. For some a curative, others pain management ( my case).
Explore on line, there are proponents and detractors. For me, they work. I don’t get involved in sales. I can coach on placement if it’s of value.
For you, my best thoughts.
J


#7

Wow, amazing, just knowing so many suffer with same issues, makes it all seem a little better! Chronic health stuff sucks! After 30 yrs of nursing had to take early retirement d/t trashed back, did not want to stop, had no choice, I made good money so really affected our household, other than my tool buying wasn’t too hard to stop some spending, thank god we payed cash for our land and didn’t get my dream house but living in a shack is doable on an island, of course all visitors think it’s cool, if they only knew! I am not near the caliber of an artist/jeweler as u guys but I am a metalsmith and I do make some money at it, but if it was not for this craft I would have gone insane in the last 6 years since I had to stop nursing and a site like ganoksin allows me to keep learning and loving this art and actually associate with folks like all of u! Like someone said, keep positive, stay thankful for what u can do, buy good tools, pray, surf, love your kids/grandkids, and have fun! Yeah pain sucks, I am still trying ways that r easier for my back, the hardest has been how meds can mess with your head, be careful, aloha nui loa to all, angi in Hana


#8

Mahalo…
J


#9

Jerry,

Have you been tested for Lyme disease?

Regards,

Todd Hawkinson


#10

Hi Agnes,.

First of all where do you live? The land of physical therapy or physiotherapy? Not that there is a large difference but I just like to know where people are from.

Secondly are you a year out from the injury or a year out from reconstruction? The reason I ask is each incident should really be considered an injury. And a year out from surgery is not all that long. I am 28 years out from having my left hand heavily lacerated and two fingers being reattached. And I am still getting evidence of nerve growth.

It sounds to me like your problem is more one of faulty mechanics, joints not doing what joints did. Maybe the plates and screws that hold your bones together while they knit are getting in the way of what you want to do.

I am a working musician. At the time of my injury I was rapidly becoming a pretty adequate fiddler. I can’t fiddle any more. But I can play guitar and banjo and I can perform which is what I wanted to do in the first place. I just perform differently.

In the shop I have to rely on jigs for some work as well as learning to use my right hand for the finger work my left hand use to do.

Now I am learning to cope with the aftermath of a car accident almost a year ago. I can’t sit at the bench for more that thirty minutes without standing. I can’t stand at the bench for more than 40 minutes at a stretch. The days of marathon polishing and finishing are done for the now. But I have a talented Occupational Therapist who I am working with you see what is possible. Meanwhile I am doing PT three times a week. And these to clinicians are telling me not to be in a hurry.

Feel free to contact me privately or on this forum. I am happy to tell my story and share my experience with anyone.

Don Meixner.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROIDOn Dec 24, 2016 11:14 AM, Agnes Weessies <orchid@ganoksin.com> wrote:

aggie.p

December 24

It's been over a year now since I shattered my right hand and arm. I've pretty much gotten most of the hands usage back, but I still can't bend it backward. This due to all the metal plats rods, and many many screws that are still lighting up metal detectors, left in my wrist. I saw the oath doc two days ago, and he doesn't want to take the hardware out yet. So I got a wonderful cortisone shot into the wrist. After the shot I walked into the lobby to pay and leave. 2 hours later they figured I was ready to leave. I never lost consciousness, but I was not able to even open my eyes. No problem with my mouth though. Now I've resigned myself to the fact that I will most likely have the hardware in my hand the rest of my life.

Here is the problem. Even the slight bit I can bend it backward doing things like holding and using gravers has become something I can no longer do. The pain that shoots up my hand and arm is not worth the work. I was reading about the power engraver and got to wondering, what other types of tools are out there to help ease the pain you get in your hand/wrist from what was once normal work? I can use pliers, files, hammers, stuff like that. Some things I worked and learned to use my left hand. But gravers are evil to me. It is one of those things that only will work (in my peabrain) with my right hand. I learned to do sawing with my left hand. Until you go to use a tool you don't realize how much you bend you hand.

Any suggestions about tricks or tools people with injuries or arthritis have adapted would be appreciated.


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#11

I spend much of my teaching time explaining all of the finer nuances in graver usage. Just how important is this? Without any form of training, Diamond Setting cannot be accomplished!!!
The training starts with the proper polishing paper, to the actual hand holding techniques and angles. Everything I teach, is without any machine to grind the graver. But if the hand, wrist and arms are badly damaged …then machines are then essential in continuing this art!
I’ve spent over 54 years “Bright-Cutting”, hopefully another 54 more years to come!!
Have a joyful holiday season to all of my friends!

Gerry Lewy! Just sent from my busy iPhone


#12

I had the same eye reaction to a cortisone shot. Within an hour, I had to pull over and have my husband come and drive me home. Didn’t relate it to the cortisone at the time.

My vision was a bit fuzzy the rest of the day, and within 2 weeks it was very fuzzy and even slightly double. A quick visit to my eye doctor, and he said that I was one of the small percentage of people who are reactive to cortisone. I had rapidly developed cataracts! He had just seen me 3 months earlier, and no sign of them.

You might be able to tolerate the surgery to remove the pins. I hope so.

The pneumatic engraver might work for you. All your hand has to do is guide the graver up/down, left/right. No real pushing.


#13

I was wondering the same thing about Lyme, Todd Hawkinson. I’ve had it 3 times. Causes roving joint pain. In fact, I had foot surgery for what I was told was arthritis pain. Turns out, it was probably my Lyme Disease. Grrrr! The surgeon screwed up and trapped a never. Now I have more severe pain, all day, every day. Grrrr!

Lyme is tough to beat, Gerry, but it can be done. Look for a Lyme Disease trained M.D. If you’ve had this a long while, antibiotics won’t do anything for you except drive the spirochete deeper into your tissues.

Good luck, Gerry. I admire your work and I’ll continue to look for an opportunity to take your class.


#14

I agree with Don. Get a good therapist. It’s OK to shop around for one that works for you. This is not usually a rapid process, so celebrate every small, incremental improvement.

I broke my spine almost exactly 3 years ago, while lifting a heavy bench in my brand new jewelry studio. I couldn’t even be in the new studio for 2.5 years. I still have things in boxes on the floor that are in the same spot where I put them the day I injured myself!

But now, thanks to vertebroplasty (you know how jewelers hate the GLUE word, vertebroplasty is 2-part bone cement) and weekly PT, I’m now up to 6 hrs a day in the studio. I started back in April with as little as 1 hour at a time.

I switch positions often. Stand some. Sit some. Go back in the house and recline to take weight off my spine for a bit. Repeat.

For pain, I meditate and use a TENS unit.

Good luck and wishing all of you some serious progress with your health issues in 2017!


#15

Contrary to what you might be told, there is a cure for Lyme disease.

It’s just that the USA has banned the antibiotic that works.

It is available in CANADA.

It seem there is more money on managing the disease than there is in curing it.

Regards,

Todd


#16

Hi Aggie - you might want to look at mass finishing techniques to help with poliishing. And the KnewConcepts electric saw to expand your sawing. Pancake dies are a blessing for repetitive shapes. Hydraulic press for shaping… Tools beyond traditional ones can make this work possible as we get older or more beat up.


#17

I went through 4 months of physical and occupational therapy. Yes it helped immensely. I now enjoy washing dishes with really hot water. Reason for that is the heat helps to limber up the muscles and while you do the dishes you are moving your hands in all sorts of directions and grasping and opening your hand. seems strange but I’ve found it the best therapy. When my hand cramps up, I will rewash some pots just to have something to do other than sit with my hand in a bowl of hot water or do the rice thing with the microwave. I have the different hardnesses of putty to play with. I have the door pull system to help my jammed up shoulder that happened in the same accident. PT is not the problem.

The injury happened in so. Utah. But within a month I was back here at home in Orlando Florida area. The doctor in Utah told me the hardware should come out about 6 months. The orthopedic doc here says no. I have one spot on the outside of the wrist that you can feel the head of one of the pins. It wiggles back and forth. that is why I was back at the Ortho doc’s office and he gave me a shot instead of addressing the problem.

Others have had injuries. We all have it happen sooner or later. We adapt or we ask others how do they over come the problems. It was most helpful to know a power graver you just guide rather than push.

Aggie


#18

Aggie - I wish you the best for recovery. Another good thing to search out
are the swiveling arm rests that attach to your bench or table. It takes a
bit of getting used to - they move in all sorts of directions but a couple
of hours later, you will manage them. They take the drag off the shoulders
or shoulder that happens after a few hours of being at the bench or the
computer. I believe I purchased mine online and can help with searching if
you need to. The injury that prompted them was being run down by a hefty 8
year old girl - future Green Bay Packer she was.
Barbara where spring has poked her head out the door.


#19

That’s good to know! I’ll research how to get this for myself.