Upcoming Partial Shutdown

As some of you know, I’ve developed carpometacarpal osteoarthritis in my left thumb joint. It became a problem after the Asheville Percussion Festival last summer. When I saw the hand surgeon right after Christmas, we decided to treat it conservatively with rest, a supportive splint, some physical therapy, and a steroid injection to calm the inflammation around the joint. The conservative treatment helped until right before this year’s Percussion Festival, but when I went back to Dr. Cross things were definitely worse. It doesn’t give you a good feeling when your doctor numbs your hand for more steroid injections, plays around with your thumb a bit, and says, “wow, that IS crunchy.” She put two steroid injections into the offending joint, but they didn’t work. So it’s time for a more permanent fix. I’ll be having an arthroplasty & reconstruction on that joint on September 17.

Thumb anatomy
That’s the joint causing all my problems with my hand!

What does this mean for Noctua Designs? Any shows that I’m already scheduled for will still most likely happen, assuming I feel okay otherwise. I won’t close down the online shop, though shipping may be delayed during that first post-op week or two. if it’s already made, or gets made within the next two weeks, you can buy it! I already can’t do any more lampworking until after surgery, since I use my left hand to hold & rotate rods/mandrels and that functionality is shot. I can do chainmaille until surgery, though not any of the big honkin’ stuff (no new turbine pendants for a while, alas).

I won’t be able to do any custom or made-to-order projects for an as-yet-undetermined amount of time. At a guess, I’m thinking around Thanksgiving before I will be able to do much of anything. Afterwards, I will be in a heavy-duty splint the first two weeks, a cast for the next three to four weeks, and then it will take some time & PT to regain strength & functionality.

Part of this surgery happens to involve removing one of the bones in the joint. Dr. Cross says that sometimes she can remove it in one piece, but other times it crumbles when she grabs it with the forceps. IF she can remove it in one piece, she promised she’ll save it for me! You bet if she can, it’ll find its way into a necklace — as much grief as that suckah has caused me, I’m going to wear it as a trophy!

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