July 24, 2007

Irish, Scots and Vikings... Oh My!

TGOO had surgery today on his right hand for something called Dupuytren’s Contracture, also known as The Curse of the MacCrimmons, as the MacCrimmons were the pipers for Clan McLeod and pipers were second only to clan chieftans.

And… being TGOO is a piper, this particular ailment has been quite troublesome. He had surgery on his left hand four years ago. He has put off the surgery on his right as long as possible, his fear being, if it didn’t work, he’d not be able to play again. Plus, he is right handed.

But he had gotten to the point, where it really wasn’t an option. He had to get it fixed.

This particular ‘disease’ is a gradual and progressive thickening of the connective tissue just under the skin, in the palm. It is hard to describe… except it begins to look like the tendons in one’s hand are sticking out (although it is not the tendons)… thick, pulling the skin and eventually pulling the fingers towards the palms. Here’s a link of images so you can get a better idea.

TGOO and I were discussing this the other day in my 9 hour drive from Atlanta to West Palm Beach. We were kind of laughing as they say that heavy drinking and smoking can cause this as well. TGOO does not smoke, gave it up Valentine’s Day 1979 as a gift for us kids, and doesn’t drink heavily, a single glass of single malt scotch a night or perhaps a glass of wine is about him it for him.

But this disease is a Celtic disease and there is no denying his Celt, in particular should you meet him. It tends to run through people of Northern European descent, Celts, Northern Scandinavians, white people. Think… the Irish and the Scots... and throw in some Vikings. And that is what got us to laughing.

How in the world do you determine that a disease is caused by smoking and drinking when the lot it effects is known for their ‘having a good time’, most notably the smoking and drinking? How does one separate one from the other?


Anyway, when it came time for his surgery four years ago, his ring finger had bent so low, when he held up his hand, he looked as if he only had three fingers. And being the good kids we were, we were not going to let that slide.

We were in the airport, picking up TN, he was coming in on Gate 4. TGOO looked up his flight on the monitors as Mo and I continued making our way down towards the gates (back when one could) and we looked over to him and said, “What gate?”

He held up his four fingers, and we said, “Three?!” and he said, ‘NO! FOUR!’, to which we replied, “Are you sure? Maybe it’s THREE?! You’re holding THREE FINGERS!” to which he smirked and yelled, “NO! FOUR” and then tried to bend his finger up to show us four.

An impossibility with the Curse of MacCrimmon.

And so the time came for surgery. And how did my Celtic father pick his hand surgeon? He decided there was no other way, than to make sure a Celt did the surgery, figuring they would be the leading experts on this Curse, and he flipped through the phone book, through the yellow pages, looking up hand surgeons, finding one with a nice Celtic last name.

No kidding.

And of course his choice was solidified when during his visit he found that said surgeon had studied hand surgery in Edinburgh.

‘Nuff said.

So today he sits with his right mit all bandaged up in a cast. Last I spoke he still had no feeling from the elbow down… just having received it back from shoulder to elbow. They do some sort of block which means they insert a needle into your armpit…. Gah! I didn’t need to hear the rest.

Lest anyone feel bad for him… do not. Feel more for my sainted Mom, who is having to deal with the loveable scoundrel with the bum right hand. He swears there are too many things he cannot do and only she can help him.

Gah! I told them Too Much Information!

Posted by Boudicca at July 24, 2007 07:09 PM | TrackBack

Yeah, my Mom has the same basic problem, but then she is wee b1t older than TGOO.

This does explain why my right hand looks like 1ts holding a gun most of the time.

We're from the third group on your list. Not that we don't think that Irish and Scots are cute. After all I married one.

(Dang, I have to fight your blasted content filter.)

Posted by: The Thomas at July 24, 2007 09:29 PM

Okay let me try again. The blacklist had "it" added, just to make life interesting.

I think your mom deserves a special treat once your dad is all better.

Start thinking now Hubba... it should be goooood. ;-)

Posted by: Teresa at July 24, 2007 11:32 PM

I hope he mends very soon. Becoming an involuntary leftie is a royal pain.

A piper? Lassie, the town where I grew up boasts two pipe bands, genuine fish & chips stores, a Scottish bakery and a Scottish butcher (where vile things like haggis are sold).

Posted by: Jimbo - PRS at July 25, 2007 02:10 AM

Give the ol' man good wishes from me. And you really didn't need to share the 'TMI' here. ;-) ewwwwwwwwwww

Posted by: vw bug at July 25, 2007 06:51 AM

Please give him my best wishes for a speedy recovery...!

Your poor Mom! I can't imagine. Oh, yes, I can. :(

Posted by: pam at July 25, 2007 07:04 AM

... I hope that he gets well soon.... having only one hand working has got to be a trial...

Posted by: Eric at July 25, 2007 07:09 AM

Thomas- The content filter is killing me today. That and the fact some cannot comment. Irritating. GRRR But yes, it is hereditary and would explain then. I suspect the Vikings gave it to us through all the damn raping and pillaging of the Scots. ;-) Heh.

Teresa- You are right! I think she should get a massage or something out of this... for sure.

Jimbo- Yes he is. We had pipers galore at Mo's wedding.

VW- Oh it was all in good fun. We were laughing. :) I was more like, "Wait. I can imagine. And you are my parents. Gah!"

Pam- it is the men folk! They are all loveable scoundrels at heart. So we women folk can ALL imagine!

Eric- Yes. So no woodworking, piping, and one handed typing. No fiddle, no serious yardwork... this should make for an interesting 10 days! I suspect after the next two or three he'll figure out how to get that riding lawn mower going... one handed.

Posted by: Bou at July 25, 2007 07:39 AM

My grandma has that on both hands. She had surgery when she was in her 60's on one hand but it returned and now both hands are that way. I didn't know it had a name. Course, she is 83 so she doesn't care any more. Oh, and she is polish. Hmmm.

Posted by: oddybobo at July 25, 2007 07:53 AM

AH that explains it, I never knew it was hereditary, I always assumed I was spending too much time with my hand wrapped around my....


Posted by: P'Cola Titan at July 26, 2007 04:33 PM

OK, so I can't compete with all the humor floating around and your filter doesn't like me half the time so I'll just wish him well with his piper's hands and not comment on the pipe of preference.

Posted by: Jody at July 27, 2007 08:02 AM