A Peculiar Convergence – Channeling Eames

A couple of months ago while doing some heavy yard work I must’ve done something to my left wrist without realizing it, but the next morning when I awoke it – in the words of my sainted  foulmouthed (/s) mother – “hurt like a stinker.”  I babied it for a couple weeks with no improvement.  Since the MRI in the barn was on the fritz I had no way to know what the injury/damage was.  Cracked bone?  Muscle strain?  Bone bruise?  Ligament or tendon issue?  Pinched nerve? I had no way to determine which it was but guessed that immobilizing it was the strategy for almost all of it.

So, I ordered a semi-rigid wrist brace from the pharmacy, which helped a bit but not really enough.  I figured that to really do the trick the wrist needed to be more immobilized than the wrist brace which, even though there was a metal armature, allowed more lateral movement than I wanted.  When moving my hand in a curling motion there was no discomfort, but when there was lateral stress or strain there was considerable discomfort.  Oddly, the worst pain came from buttoning the right sleeve cuff with my left hand, then it hurt like a hot coal.

I decided to call up the ghost of Charles Eames, who got his big break in the molded/laminated furniture world with a government contract to make form-fitted splints and such for battlefield injuries.

Following his creativity, I pulled on a nitrile glove over the affected hand and wrist and laid up a fiberglass resin/linen on the bias (4 layers) sheath on the top of my wrist, essentially making half of a wrist cast like I wore when breaking my arm several years ago.  Once I had the laminate assembled I wrapped it in a release film, and then placed inside the elastic straps of the wrist brace to make sure it was a perfect fit once hardened.

BTW – fiberglass resin is VERY exothermic.  There were a couple times I thought I might have to call the whole thing off due to the heat.  Plus, it took much longer to harden than I first estimated, 2-3 hours.

After the new rigid sheath was mostly set I trimmed it with some heavy shears and faced it with some heavy felt from my scrap bin and put it on.  I wore the brace/half-cast combo for almost two weeks, and it seemed to be the solution as the wrist is now almost fully recovered.

Thanks to the inspiration of and from Charles Eames for more than just my iconic writing chair.