Support for Kamil's recovery

$10,727 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 138 people in 7 months
Created August 25, 2018
This is an urgent call to help our friend Kamil (A Death Cinematic / Simple Box Construction), who, in a terrible accident on August 24, had the four fingers of his guitar fretting hand completely severed.

The saw cut his fingers off at the knuckles. Fortunately, a coworker had the presence of mind to dig them out of the dust and send them to the hospital with Kamil. After a nine-hour surgery, his fingers have been reattached, but as you can imagine the physical and psychological trauma is almost indescribable. 

His doctors say the fingers look as good as can be expected, given the severity of the accident. Obviously our best hope is for a full recovery, but it's going to be a long and difficult road for our friend and his family. While he has medical insurance and workers' compensation, neither will provide full coverage for the accident and lost wages.

I have known Kamil for over 15 years now, and I can honestly say that he has given me so much during that time. If you're reading this, I'm sure you've had a similar experience. Kamil is one of the most generous, hard working, and passionate artists I know. He needs us now. 

Anything you can give to help Kamil and his family through this extremely difficult time will be greatly appreciated. My sincerest hope is to see him back on stage, making his beautiful, fucked-up sounds again soon.

Please give whatever you can, and share this with friends.
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It is about time for an update. For the past four months, since the last visit with my hand surgeon, I have been going occupational therapy 3 times a week for 2 1/2 hour sessions, aggressively trying to regain my fine motor skills and break up the scar tissue that is currently encasing whatever is left of the tendons in my left hand.

For the past four months, I have picked up countless buttons of various sizes, picked up small fuzzy spheres with and without tweezers, and attempted to squeeze all types of plastic objects. I have suspended weights from my left hand, pulled bands of various tension, dragged my fingers through resistant putty, and mashed my hand into buckets of uncooked rice. I have urged my therapist to squeeze harder and pull further on my fingers even when the pain took my breath away, bowed my head, swelled my eyes with tears, and often stopped me mid-word. I attempted to breathe and laugh through that pain while trying to maintain the hope and faith that this will bring back my hand. I pushed my doubts and fears aside as best I could.

All this effort has and still does progress my recovery. I have gained more mobility in some of the joints. Feeling and sensation have been coming back in crazy patterns of pain, numbness, and temperature. This is all positive and I'm thankful for getting this far. But talking with my surgeon today has illuminated an uneasy reality. The scar tissue around my tendons and where the hand was severed was referred to as cement. The accuracy of that description struck a particular chord; my hand is in a constant form of restraint and every attempt to move, spread, or squeeze my fingers feels very much like trying to move it in cured concrete. Occupational therapy most likely will not be enough to break through it. Even using ultrasound to break up the scarred tissue will probably not yield the desired result, my apparent option is surgery.

This was what I wanted to hear until I heard the risks. The biggest one is that I might lose my fingers during the surgery. One or two or all of them. It's a gamble, a big one. Besides that grim possibility, I have to consider the burden this will put on everyone around me. Even though the surgery is an outpatient procedure I would have to take significant time off work. They require occupational therapy to start 24 hours post-op, every day for at least two weeks. That means daily 115 mile trips to the clinic. I would have to switch therapists once again. Just thinking of the logistics required to do this brings on waves of anxiety.

They would open my hand up completely and scrape all the scar tissue away from my tendons and bones in an effort to help them glide. The idea is that this would allow me to straighten and bend my fingers more and improve my functionality bringing it closer to that of a normal hand. Although it will never be like it used to, that ship sailed as soon as the carbide left my hand eight months ago. There is also the possibility that the procedure doesn't do what it’s supposed to. That even though I keep my fingers I don't gain a lot and all that risk would be for minimal results. Not to mention the pain meds, wound care, and everyday tasks becoming unmanageable for several weeks.

However, the prospect of my hand remaining a limited claw-like gripper is very unappealing. I'd like to be able to use my left hand. I'd like to build things and play guitar and all that stuff once again as much possible. I'd like to be able to point and maybe even flip someone the bird with that hand.

So now I have to decide whether to roll the dice. I don't want to lose any more time, I feel I lost enough already but I don’t want to lose my fingers either.

Thank you.
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Six months ago, a Thursday in late August, a seemingly routine and benign day became one of the most important days in my life defined by personal catastrophe. On that day the trajectory of my life took an abrupt turn setting me on a course of fear and uncertainty. Part of my identity was literally cut away from me; seemingly forever. The danger of my vocation, which I was always aware of and did as much as possible to never have to encounter, stepped out of the realm of abstraction and got right in my face. I have been gifted with one of the worst things imaginable to me, that of losing my hand becoming my new and unmistakable reality.

I have learned many things since then. Many things about myself and my loved ones, things I was completely ignorant of. Things that were beyond my scope of awareness. I have learned many things I had never had an interest in learning, ever. I have learned about boundless panic and terror; about its swift all-encompassing, merciless chokehold. About how it imposes itself unannounced and uninvited. I have learned about the trickery of my own mind. About complete and utter vulnerability. I have learned a lot about the anatomy of the human hand. I have learned what a human body can do to heal itself. I have learned about the kindness of strangers, about my new found ability to accept and cherish that kindness. I have learned that the healing light of my own mind and soul will ignite in utter and complete darkness if I only let it, rendering it only a temporary and not a so overpowering thing. I have learned a new perspective from a novel vantage point and that my worst reality is not the worst reality that has ever happened in this world. And I have learned about my own fallibility and courage.
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Day? Home day?

I'm going to put this up here. I have been meaning to and writing a more detailed update of the specific improvements of my hand and the experiences of being back at work, etc. etc. That is still in the works and if it hasn't lost its relevance will hopefully be up soon. I am exhausted by perpetually being out of time.

I suppose it's not uncommon to feel a shortness of breath and the coppery tinge of panic when your brain slows down the replay of your trauma and terror. Even though the event itself was mere seconds, it becomes elongated in memory, dragged out abnormally. All the details become vivid and vibrant. Agonizing and unrelenting. You see yourself trapped and flailing, not unlike an animal, pulling and bucking against the unyielding indifference of pneumatic pressure. Knowing full well what's coming, a terrifying inevitability. It will not let you go, not until you endure its passing in and all the way through, physically separating that part of you from you. The only way out is through that specific violence of severance.

Now, I know there was security camera footage of the accident. I have not seen it but it was described to me. I can only imagine what it looked like and its images replaying in my mind are unbelievably convincing even though rationally I know it's a complete fabrication. It's a curious amalgam of memory, pain, trauma, and imagined images transcribed into a whole new viewpoint, almost like an out of body experience. I see myself, I ’remember’ it, from an impossible vantage. It fucks with my mind, it does it intermittently but often. Just enough so I can't get quite used to it.

It's been six months since the accident and I suppose it's within the realm of normal to meander through these memories. To try and make sense of it. To accept and try to adapt to the changes and uncertainties of how far I have to go in the recovery. The progress is there, glacial and minutely incremental but undeniable.

There are many things I have meant to write and still believe that I will. I wish I had more time to do it and to finish all my pressing and promised projects. For now, I do as much as I can, scraping as many minutes as I can from each late night and early dawn. I put on my bravest faces. I straighten my spine and pretend to walk upright because there are days when that seems beyond the realm of possibility.

Thank you.
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Day 132. Home day 123.

I've been struggling with the writing of this and other updates. I can't seem to organize my time or my thoughts. I'm having a rough time with the fact that this flu I just had destroyed my creative momentum and stripped me of time. A bout of the flu and things got real shaky. All of a sudden I'm back to the beginning. That seems to be happening a lot recently.

This is the first time I had the flu this bad in a long time and it's the first time I've been sick since the accident. The had injuries become way more uncomfortable and the fever seemed to focus right in that very spot where the saw carved its path. In that delirium, an anger started to spawn and I got real sick of all this bullshit. I got fed up with this useless hand and I got tired of constantly being reminded of all the things I can’t do anymore. It got really ugly and I got worried that I'm undoing all that I've done since the accident; that somehow I lost the ground I've covered.

A few days in the black pit and it’s more than enough. It’s hard to climb out of it, it’s hard to write about, it’s hard to wanna recalibrate my course. I have overlooked how fragile my positive momentum really was. Being taken unawares, especially by something as miserable as the flu is quite unnerving.

Now, I'm trying to pull out of all this. I'm trying to not get discouraged by the constant restarts and setbacks. Or get stopped in my tracks by memories of a fingerless hand; bone and tissue exposed, veins frayed. It is doubtless what that jagged pink scar represents glowing across the back of the hand in the late evening hour. and when that Sisyphean boulder starts to roll back there is not much that it will spare.

I had a guitar modified and restrung for left-handed dexterity. As exciting as this prospect seems I am really back to square one. The fingers of my right hand are clumsy on the strings and the notes won't ring true. I know it will take time and I'm trying to be patient but I get overwhelmed seeing how far back I've been set. For years I've felt that I've been short on time and now I feel I have even less as I have to relearn and catch up.

I'm going back to my job on Monday. This is a big change as I'll be doing something completely different than what I was before I got hurt. It feels like another restart; a return to square one. I assume these restarts are normal in the course of recovery; that I'm having such a hard time with it is the surprising part. I'm trying to keep all that I've learned and gained after the accident from getting smudged into abstraction. This is an unexpected challenge as time and the healed appearance of my hand make my limitations illusive. I find that I forget how little I can do with my hand. Most of the time I think about how far I've come, how much I've healed, and all the improvements I've made but this also has a tendency to get disjointed from reality. I start to feel I can do way more than I actually can and it's that return to reality that is overwhelmingly disappointing.

Maintaining a realistic perspective is now my main focus as I go head first into the new year. I thought I laid to rest some of my bad habits but I see that that is also a constant maintenance issue. The exertion of a constant and unyielding pressure forward. I hope I don't tire out. With this, I take a moment or two to re-inventory myself and get behind that boulder again and start the slow push up that hill once more.

Thank you.
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$10,727 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 138 people in 7 months
Created August 25, 2018
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