Remove or Keep?

By chance this is the second post that has been sparked by a TV program. We watched the ‘Crime Watch’ special last night and it rang a few bells with me. Two of their stories were linked firstly by the fact the two men were shot by the same killer, but what sparked a conversation between Adam and I was because both didn’t died, but both lost one of their hands due to their injury’s. As you know I lost total use of my left hand a few years ago, both the guys in the program had a choice to try and save their hand or to remove it, they each chose a different solution. I was surprised that Adam agreed with me as I said that if I lost the use of a hand again and it didn’t return my choice would be to have it removed. My reasons are actually quite simple although I know some of you may find it an odd decision on the surface.

To be totally honest a dead hand is more of a danger to you than a help. The appearance, yes is better that it is there, but appearances are not everything. Without it, there is far more that you can safely do than there is with it, the program actually backed that up without saying it in so many words. If you think about it, it makes sense, a dead or useless hand firstly catches on things and with no feeling it gets injured easily. It was getting my dead hand mangled in my wheelchair that led to my becoming housebound. No feeling and no strength, no manual chair. I lost count how many times I found bruises and burns on it, with no knowledge of how they got there. It wasn’t just my wheelchair that it managed to become entangled in and I several time came to a complete stand still and my arm was once again caught. When you loose all sensation, you actually really do not know where it is or what it is doing, I’m not suggesting there were involuntary actions it was not like having something dangling beside you then catching it on doors and so on. These things though were not the worst problems, the worst was it did nothing, I couldn’t grip or pick up, yes with my brace I could put my finger and thumb in the right position but they still didn’t grip. If I was there again, with no chance that it would ever recover to at least were it is now, then I would rather they removed it and gave me a prosthesis. Without nerves I know I wouldn’t be able to move it, but this is where the program confirmed to me that life without a dead hand is better than with.

The guy who chose to keep his hand which meant he had a thumb and two fingers was even after 17 operations still unable to use it for anything and he was facing many more operations with no guarantee that it would ever work. Were as the one who chose to loose his hand had a cap over his stump with a large range of tools he could add to it and was back at work driving a taxi and fishing at the weekend, his hobby, that he never had to give up. To see the two confirmed how I had felt at the time, I was luck I have a reasonable range of use still, although no strength, but I remember often wishing it wasn’t there. I don’t know if a Doctor would even consider doing such an operation but I can honestly say no hand is better than a dead one.