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Feeling depressed..
#2676785 09/21/17 01:40 PM
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Tried to break up a dog fight last monday night, and got some really bad bites on my lower left forearm near the wrist. The dog, literally broke its tooth off inside my arm near the bone. Oddly, they're not going to do surgery to remove the tooth; they're just going to leave it in. My forearm is swollen, bruised, and lacerated; and my fingers aren't working fully (they say it's just from swelling but it is freaking me out a lot). The worst part of this is that it will be weeks, or even months before I am able to play piano again. And though Ive been told that I should eventually make a full recovery, there's still that part of me that worries, what if they are wrong? what if there is nerve damage? Intellectually I know that they're probably right, but it's still scary.

It's so depressing, and none of my family seem to understand how hard this is emotionally. They love me and support me, but they just don't get demoralizing it is to be unable to play and how scary it is to have my fingers not work right. I'll have a followup apt on monday with the orthopedic doctor and start physical therapy next week when the swelling will have hopefully gone down a bit. I'll know more then (they may decide to do surgery after all). but until then Im in limbo which really sucks.

Oh well, it is what it is. I can still do stuff with my right hand, ear training, rhythm/counting exercises, etc...but there isnt a lot of joy in that sort of thing. It's been 2 days and I already miss playing so much. Anyway, I guess Im just venting here because while my family doesnt understand why losing my daily time at the piano saddens me so much I think that at least here I'll be understood. This is the 2nd time in my life that an injury has forced me to take a long break from having piano. It's just frustrating beyond measure. So over this.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my venting. Any and all kind thoughts sent my way are greatly appreciated.

Warm Regards,
Fizikisto


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Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676786 09/21/17 01:44 PM
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I am so sorry. I can't believe they won't operate on it and just want to leave the tooth in there??

I tore my right rotator cuff throwing something during a tantrum (whatever, I'm bipolar, I threw a fit) and the doctors also won't operate because I'm "not an athlete." I was working pretty hard on a Chopin waltz the other day that goes pretty high and I could definitely feel my shoulder protesting after a while. Actually, after playing the Bach just now for a while, I can feel my shoulder is a little sore.

I hope other people have good suggestions as to how to keep up the playing with your down time.

*hugs*


meta
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Yamaha Clavinova CLP-930
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Currently working on:
- J.S. Bach: Invention #8 in F major
- Chopin: Waltz, Op 70 No 1 in G-flat major
Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676788 09/21/17 01:54 PM
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Goodness! The first thing I would suggest is to get a second opinion from a good physician! And ask if you should be getting physical therapy for your left hand

In terms of the piano, I think you need to find ways of making playing satisfying. I would suggest looking on imslp for piano scores for the right hand only . Some original and some arrangements: these were designed to be complete with just the right hand playing them. I have been doing some for the left-hand alone because I'm tired of my left hand being so lazy and so far behind the right hand, and they really are satisfying to learn

Imslp right hand

Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676791 09/21/17 02:16 PM
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Oh, how scary! I understand and sympathize with your feelings of depression and frustration over not being able to play... not to mention fears for your recovery. frown Yeah, people who are not piano obsessed like us don't understand how much it hurts--emotionally, almost physically!--not to be able to play.

Many years ago I sliced off the top of my pinky finger in an unfortunate onion-chopping accident (okay, I'm a klutz), and I wasn't able to play for several weeks until it healed. I wish I had some words of wisdom garnered from that experience that could help you cope with your forced piano inactivity, but alas I was a cranky wreck the whole time. All I can tell you is that this *will* pass, and I am optimistic you will make a full recovery. Your swelling should go down in short order, and I think you'll be encouraged by the return of your normal movements. thumb

Re: Feeling depressed..
Monica K. #2676795 09/21/17 02:30 PM
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Fizikisto, you have my sympathy. As the owner of sled dogs (I once owned 35 of them) I have been caught in the middle of a few fights and have received some nasty bites. The resulting injury reduces one to the level of an infant incapable of doing very much. I lack the musical skills to advise you on keeping up your piano work but I can assure you that even after the most severe dog bites a full recovery is the norm. Lacerations rarely become infected and none of mine has resulted in nerve damage.
This may not reassure you much and nothing is more infuriating than someone telling you not to get depressed.
Michael

Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676796 09/21/17 02:35 PM
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Try not to worry - peripheral nerves (nerves that are not in the spine / brain) do regenerate so you should not have lasting nerve damage.

I know it is hard but sometimes you have to accept these things and that you won't be able to play piano for a while.

I personally would have a break from piano, I would find that trying to play one handed would just frustrate me.

Perhaps channel you interest into another hobby.

If you are really interested solely in music, maybe learn some theory.

Hope you recover well x

Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676804 09/21/17 02:52 PM
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I'm sorry to hear this and wish you the best. If I may,suggest, maybe explaining to your family just how serious this is. I'm sure they have important things in life as well. I'm glad you are gonna do what you can on piano but listen to the Drs, them poor fellers, and take time to heal. I hope none of this was out of line as certainly not intended to be. Take care and you will.be back. Mark


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Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676828 09/21/17 04:37 PM
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Best wishes for a full recovery - which I'm sure will happen.

Not that my story is any consolation to anyone who has hand/finger injuries, but if you like true horror stories, read on.... wink

I sustained frostbite to the tip of my right pinky some years ago, when climbing Everest. After the initial numbness, the pain started, and slowly a black patch developed on the bit of flesh that never recovered. Any little inadvertent knock to the blackened tip caused a sudden severe pain.

Playing - even touching - a piano with my right hand was totally out of the question. The right pinky is so often the 'melodic finger' in classical music that it was impossible to consciously avoid using it, even when I made myself a little finger 'sock' with felt padding in it. So, I just played with my LH - luckily, there are quite a number of fine pieces for LH alone (by Brahms, Scriabin, Blumenfeld, Godowsky etc).

Over the course of seven weeks, a clear demarcation developed between the viable tissue and the dead tip, which dropped off. (Yes, I kept that bit in a film canister....). I naïvely thought that was it - I'd go back to playing normally again, 'only' having lost about 4mm thickness of flesh at the end. Not so: the scarred 'healed' tip was hypersensitive to touch. I couldn't bear to let it come into contact with anything - even wearing my 'sock' felt like someone rubbing sandpaper on my fingertip.

The nerve ends had been traumatized, and a dermatologist colleague told me it could take a couple of years to recover. He was almost spot-on correct - the hypersensitivity persisted for that long, and was gradually replaced by partial numbness. I did start playing a little again with my RH after a year - mostly just finger exercises that didn't involve the pinky, or pieces that I could modify the fingering in that way.

Nowadays, I'm hardly aware of it when playing. There has been no further improvement after the first four years or so - I'll never regain the sensation I once had with my pinky's fingertip, but it's not been painful to the touch ever since, and I can use my finger normally (except that the nail - which regrew after it dropped off - now protrudes out beyond the pulp, which is sometimes annoying, but it doesn't affect my piano playing). I've gotten used to the decreased reach of my RH (I used to be able to span 10ths with RH more easily than with LH; now the LH has the bigger span and I can only play 9ths comfortably with RH), and practicing the piano two to four hours a day with no problems. And the year when I only played with my LH meant that I developed more 'strength' and agility in it, such that pieces like Chopin's 'Revolutionary' Etude felt easier when I picked it up again.

Not that there is any moral to my story - after all, the kind of injury I had is hardly unusual among high-altitude mountaineers, many of whom came off far worse than me - but it did make me appreciate my life, and what I had, and still have, especially when I recall the years when I couldn't play any of the pieces I loved, and didn't know whether I'd ever be able to again....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676833 09/21/17 04:52 PM
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I understand that worry and desperation and felt it similarly when I've had some accidents happen. The first thing that came to my mind was about if it would affect my ability to play the piano. I also did not have any support or understanding.


Czerny's Piano School Vol. 1, now at #77 and giving it a break.
Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676835 09/21/17 05:01 PM
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Doesn't sound good... I hope you can make a full recovery as soon as may be.

I for one, would insist to have the tooth removed. It doesn't seem to be something that just decays and goes away by itself. I wouldn't sleep well if that would be in there for the rest of my life.


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Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676838 09/21/17 05:08 PM
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I'm sorry to hear of your injury.

I wanted to add that it is not the end of the world if you do not play for a while. After my crash last Thanksgiving, I was physically unable to play until around February. I received a lot of support and advice here, including many recommendations for things to do with just one arm (I had a broken collarbone). Like you anticipated in your original post, I did not find one-armed activities very appealing, and, for the most part, did not play anything for quite a while.

And, I recovered from it. Once my injured arm became useful again, I came back to the piano and have been enjoying it like the hiatus had never happened. So, if you do have difficulty getting motivated to do one-arm piano activities, don't worry about it. And, don't beat yourself up over it. Find other things to enjoy, and enjoy them for a while.

One of the "other" things I enjoyed during that spell was searching through IMSLP. I also joined IMSLPL (it was only $20), and the membership included full access to the NAXOS music library. THAT WAS A REAL TREAT!!! I got to explore so much music, and, still have touched only the tip of the iceberg. I also increased my used book store adventures, and read and bought a lot of sheet music.

Do I remember correctly that you teach at a local university? Perhaps you could spend some enjoyable time exploring their music library.

In any event, enjoy whatever you care to enjoy, explore, and most of all, don't pressure yourself to insist on making piano progress right now.

I wish you a full and speedy recovery.


Ralph

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Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676845 09/21/17 05:25 PM
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Fizisko, I'm so sorry to hear this has happened to you. I can well believe that it's a scary and disturbing experience. As musicians or students of piano at some level, I think we can all relate to the feelings. I'm reading a number of people having had such injuries and saw the healing happen. I have no knowledge in this area, but I wish you a speedy healing. Some good ideas and thoughts here.

Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676851 09/21/17 05:39 PM
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Get a second opinion from a doctor who specializes in musicians' injuries, preferably keyboard oriented. Listen to that MD re. the pros and cons of removing the tooth.


-- J.S.

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Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676891 09/21/17 09:18 PM
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As an ex runner I recall I seemed to have an injury every three or so years that would sideline me for months, so I can well sympathise when your drug is taken away smirk Chin up though, there is so much you can do with your right hand and you will quickly recover from any forced rest.


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Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676892 09/21/17 09:21 PM
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Good recovery, fizikisto!


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Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676898 09/21/17 09:51 PM
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Hope you do very well, Fizikisto.

I had two operations on my hands (one on each) that sidelined me for a few months each. (Duyputin's Contracture repairs, which, if not fixed, would cause my 4th and 5th fingers to curl inward. As it was, they were already curled inward a lot. about 1/2 way.)

The nerve damage from the operations and the pain, etc, lingered sporadically for a few months, but surprisingly, playing the piano was painless and without negative impact. It was like the problem had never existed, piano-playing-wise. The therapist's regimen of movement and massage helped a lot.

However, picking things up, and holding things, etc, was sometimes painful. But playing the piano was fine.

The good news is that the body heals, albeit slowly.

The time away from the piano did not really cause backsliding. I have seen many examples where time away from a piece actually allowed a more complete "deepening" of the learning. Something about practicing all the time can put the brain on overload, so a time away from it is actually beneficial, like a vacation away from home.

I hope this is ok to say here: My wife and I prayed a lot for a complete healing, and we put my name in on our church's prayer list.


Piano teacher.
Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2676910 09/22/17 12:10 AM
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How very scary! I wish you a speedy recovery.


April
Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2677208 09/23/17 09:55 AM
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Thanks everyone for the kind words and supportive messages. It's amazing how limited one becomes with only one functioning hand. Even things like tying your shoes becomes a challenge. I started physical therapy yesterday. I was told to expect 10-12 weeks off from the piano as a likely estimate, but some reasonable functionality to return in 6-8 weeks. As depressing as that is, I know it could have been a lot worse. Typing one-handed is annoying, so I'll mostly just be lurking here for awhile. But just know that I really appreciated everyone's kindness. Thanks so much! It did help.

Fizikisto smile


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Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2677215 09/23/17 10:54 AM
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Fizikisto, I am a bit more than 3 years of a piano student I used to complain of how hard it was, until I started helping my friend's husband play the piano (about a month ago) who was born with a left hand only. He will be taking lessons from a real teacher come January, I am just getting him started. Seeing his motivation and his physical challenge stopped me from complaining of how hard something is, this experience of teaching him has truly been enlightening.

Here is a utube video of a left handed concert pianist.

left handed concert pianist


Wishing you a fast recovery!


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Feeling depressed..
fizikisto #2677295 09/23/17 06:06 PM
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Sorry to hear.

We musicians tend to be conscious of our downtime because we have a passion for music. There are times when I'm out of town on business, I'd be online watching music tutorials or listen to a few performances (amateur / professional) so that when I get back I can be up and running again.

A lot of people who may have taken music lessons before but don't play music regularly or belong to a music group like myself don't understand why someone would even spend an hour a day on the piano. Some people were brought up to think of playing music as technical exercises. Getting into music is a personal thing. The days I am away from my keyboard I'd be listening to my own recordings. A very soothing, relaxing effect and at the same time reduces stress.

Get well soon..

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