Friday, February 08, 2008



After six sessions of physical therapy, I am humbled by my hands. I took them for granted for way too long. Oh, I've had my odd finger and thumb injuries that have forced me to think about them or the lack of them for a while. But with two hands, it's easy to let the other hand take up the slack during a minor or soft tissue injury and forget about it.

Since breaking my wrist, I've thought about nothing else but my wrist. The damage, the pain, the surgery, the pins were all centered around my wrist. What I didn't think about was my hand and my fingers and the intricate dance they perform on a daily basis. Now I think about them 2-3 times a day as I exercise them one joint at a time, slowly.

A few fun facts about the hand. The hand is the most complex bone structure in your entire body with an amazing 27 bones in that one small area. The wrist has 8 bones in two rows. The hand has 5 bones and the fingers 14 smaller bones with each finger having 3 bones and 2 in the thumb.

But what's even more amazing is what you can do with all those bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Think of it. Gripping a gallon of milk or a delicate earring. The intricate coordination needed to type these words with each finger moving independently and swiftly over the tiny keys. The beautiful, delicate dance between wrist and fingers that is an artform in itself. Think ballet or belly dancers, skilled surgeons, artists sculpting, and musicians playing piano, violin or guitar.

Last weekend I was watching Alfred Hitchcock's 'North by Northwest' and the scene that amazed me like never before was the one with Eva Maria Saint and Cary Grant nuzzling in the train compartment. There's a whole sequence of shots of the back of Grant's head and Saint's hands. As I watched Eva's hands, I was amazed by the beauty, delicacy and acrobatics involved in a lover's caress. I think Hitchcock must have seen their beauty, too. I thank him for opening my eyes to the beauty of my hands, something I mostly thought of as a tool and lately, a broken tool at that.

Now, I see and appreciate my hands as a whole...wrist, hand and fingers...and marvel at the beauty, power and delicate gymnastic moves that they perform everyday.


Lois J. de Vries said...

Susan, I'm sure the broken wrist hasn't been any fun for you, but I'm enthralled by the story of your evolution back to "normal," especially your QUIT list. What a great idea!


Susan GT said...

Thanks,'s been hard to be one handed but it's also been a great learning experience.

Janet Grace Riehl said...

Lovely post, Susan....may your hands heal rapidly.

Janet Riehl

Susan GT said...

Thank you, Janet.
This week it's been a pleasant surprise to see how much stronger they're getting.

The Cafe Gal said...

Susan, I love your writing and your web site. I'm so sorry about the damage to your wrist and hope it is healing day by day. Keep exercising or whatever the physio folks ask of you, it will make all the difference. I'm sending good energy :)
Thanks for you kindly words on my blog site.
I *love* your sculptures!
Pamela & creative circle cafe blog