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Sufferer New and need help. How can I make these flashbacks and nightmares go away? Will I ever regain function in my fingers? Will the scar tissue go away?

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Hi everyone,

My name is Randi Brown and I’m a 48 year old, married woman living in Maryland.

A month ago, I was trimming some bushes after a recent storm and got the hedge trimmer stuck in my hand. I couldn’t get it to turn off; it just kept cutting. The rest is a bit fuzzy because I blacked out, but I was taken to a hand trauma center where I received over 100 stitches. My finger tips had to be sewn back on and I have severe nerve damage in two fingers.

I know I am very fortunate that I didn’t lose any fingers, but I have horrible scar tissue and hard bubbles all over my fingers and it hurts so much to even use them. I don’t know if this will improve over time and surgery is not an option.

I am having continuous flashbacks of seeing the hedge trimmer stuck in my hand, cutting through my fingers. I’ve also been having nightmares, reliving the whole incident. This is leading me to feel depressed and disfigured.

How can I make these flashbacks and nightmares go away? Will I ever regain function in my fingers? Will the scar tissue go away?

Thanks so much for reading!
Oh no! What a horrifying experience! The thought of it makes me feel a bit nauseous!

Welcome to the site! The sooner you reach out, the sooner healing can begin.

Thought-stopping is what I use to deal with flashbacks. It works unless I am overly upset or too much is going on. Google it and you will find an abundance of info about it.

I hope you feel better soon! I think we are all disfigured in some way. ( our perception of ourselves is) Some people can't see the good inside themselves, a struggle I have always had. It's the inside that counts the most.

Please be kind to yourself and remember that time really will help you distance yourself from what happened.

Blessings of peace and healing sent to you☮️💟🎶

If you're a tactile person, it can help to have a grounding object with you when flashbacks are bad. Anything from a stone to a scented object to a fidget spinner. Something you can pull out of your pocket and focus your attention on briefly to interrupt the cycle of thoughts in your head:)
How can I make these flashbacks and nightmares go away? Will I ever regain function in my fingers? Will the scar tissue go away?
The medical side I can’t even begin to answer… as no one could possibly know, except maaaaaybe your docs. And even then? They might not know. As some patients regain full use even after profound loss, whilst others with relatively minor injuries suffer pain and limited function forever. Even though the person with full use “shouldn’t” recover, whilst a person with minor damage really “should”.

But as to PTSD? Cha. The overwhelming majority of people (well over 90%) with treatment become asymptomatic lickety split. The majority within 6mo no treatment, the rest within a few years of treatment.
That sounds horrible! I can offer a bit of encouragement on the hand injury. I month is nothing. About 20 years ago, I got my hand stepped on by a horse. (Long story! Not the horse's fault) It cut a finger to the bone then cracked the bone. My hand was so swollen it was 3 weeks before I could really use it again. (Not something I expected.) After the wound healed, I had no feeling past the injury. By a year, I had feeling, but it was kind of like the feeling you get when a foot has "gone to sleep" and is "waking up". ("No feeling" was actually better than that.) My ortho guy told me "what you've got at a year is what you're going to have." It's actually improved since then and is a lot better. The best thing is, my hand works. (I've seen that ortho guy for some other stuff. He says the post 1 year improvement means I was lucky.) My stepson had a similar experience, although he was hurt way worse. Fell about 18 feet to a blacktop road..... Broke a bunch of stuff. They told him the same thing about "what you've got at a year". He's worked really had and improved beyond that 1 year mark. He's not 100% but I doubt anyone who doesn't know him well has any idea it ever happened.

There may be some help for the scar tissue. Here's one article. link This is an area that's getting more attention than it used to. I think it's sometimes helpful to bug your doctors about "what else can I do?" They're busy and a lot of people aren't super motivated so sometimes they don't say much unless they're asked. I Don't be afraid to ask questions. It's your body and your recovery.

So, there's hope , for sure and you should have WAY more improvement than what you're seeing at 1 month. If you're in physical therapy, work hard. If you're not, ask if you can be. Those people typically love a client who's motivated and the ones I've dealt with have normally been good at their job. (Had one situation where the PT people didn't seem motivated and the doc was ok with me switching to someone else.) It can be hard work and uncomfortable but I think it's worth it because it can make a huge difference. With PT I think you can experience 2 kinds of pain. One is just pain, or it's a sign that something's damaged. The other is a good kind of pain that indicates you're pushing things to a new level. I find it helps a lot to work with professionals who can help you do enough but not too much.

On the other symptoms, they might improve with time too. If you can, though, it might be helpful to work with a therapist who's familiar with trauma. This comes down to how your brain deals with stuff and, from what I understand, it can help, early on, if you get some expert help to help your brain deal with stuff too. Good luck!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful, insightful reply! I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you and your step-son, but am thrilled to hear you are both continuing to improve. The link was also very helpful! I bought an electric heated, hand massager from Amazon and I’m hoping it works.

I think more than anything I am embarrassed of how my hand looks. Everyone says it’s not that bad, but to me, I look like a monster! I don’t want anyone to see it or touch it. I’ve been avoiding physical contact and intimacy with my husband. No one understands how I feel and just tell me how lucky I am that it wasn’t worse. While I know this is true, it doesn’t help me feel any less disgusting. I find myself wanting to lay in bed and not get up.

I met with a therapist about PTSD, but she wasn’t helpful at all. I’ve tried to find a support group to no avail. The hand doctor told me I wouldn’t need PT because I’m able to move my fingers. I feel like I can’t get the help I need. It’s so frustrating!

Thank you all so much for listening!
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