IMAGINE doing something routine…opening a jar of jam perhaps, but as you’re doing it you hear a crack.
There is immense pain and you realise you have broken your finger.
This is what happened to Carolina Baos, for whom things got much worse.
Doctors discovered she had a tumour in the finger and that it had grown so fast the bone had disappeared.
The finger, which was on her dominant right hand, was amputated.
After the surgery, Ms Baos had phantom pains in her hand and so needed therapy to learn how to use her dominant hand again normally.
She was sent to the Hand and Upper Limb Centre in South Perth where she saw senior occupational therapist specialising in hand and upper limbs Kris Beacham.
“I get phantom pains – the brain still thinks there is a finger. I have to touch it while looking at it to get the pain to stop,” Ms Baos said.
“If I don’t touch it the pain really hurts and doesn’t go away.
“I have to let my brain know that I’m OK and there are things I still can’t do such as brushing my teeth or using a knife.
“The centre helps me re-learn those skills again.”
Having a small clinic on Elanora Drive, Cooloongup, for the past six months, the HULC needed bigger premises.
On Monday a new clinic was opened at 18 Council Avenue, Rockingham to which Ms Beacham, a senior therapist, has re-located.
As Ms Baos had been having sessions with Ms Beacham for two months and was progressing well, she was one of its first patients.
Ms Beacham said the clinic provided vital care for those who have lost digits or limbs.
“One of the most common injuries is to the hand as we use them for everything,” she said.
“What we do is reduce the time lost to these injuries by getting people back to function.
“Along with worker’s compensation or private health we have an extended care program for those from low socio-economic backgrounds who are entitled to five sessions through their GP.”
Another patient who has been attended the former clinic is Aaron Springett, a rigger from Atwell.
Mr Springett fell at work, fracturing a bone in his wrist and rupturing ligaments.
He required surgery with hand surgeon Jeff Ecker, who founded and is the director of HULC, to repair the ligament.
He is currently on a 12-week treatment program, which included a custom-made splint to support his wrist and a series of strengthening exercises.
Rockingham clinic manager Melita Ryan said Ms Beacham had helped Ms Baos greatly.
“Carolina is pregnant and due in July. To help her with the things she will need to use, Kris has been bringing in nappies and bottles to add to her regular exercises to help her use her hand again,” she said.