Follow by Email

Google+ Badge

Google+ Followers

Monday, June 10, 2013

How much pain would you endure for your passion?

Hi folks. Readers of this blog will know from previous posts that I've been contending with a nagging wound on my left index finger for some time now, four months or so. It just won't seem to heal.

I'm getting excellent care from a great doctor (a hand specialist/surgeon who fixed my broken left thumb some years ago). I've followed his orders and haven't smoked a cigarette since April 25. The circulation has improved but still this fingertip wound won't heal.

It's very painful and hindering the progress of one trying to master a stringed instrument like the guitar. I'm right-handed, so I form chords and finger the fretboard with my left hand. The index finger is fairly important in that effort.

Blood tests have shown it's not diabetes, so that's good news. The finger's not cold like it was, but as
you can see the tip's not normal either. And it's not like a Band-Aid will help. I think letting air get at it allows what little healing is happening to take place. Besides, any sort of bandage or wrap interferes with the normal feel of learning to play guitar.

What to do?

I'm surmising that continuous guitar practicing is hindering the healing effort. Instead of a callous forming, which is what's normally happened my whole life (after blistering at times), I believe the constant contact of exposed flesh on steel strings is prolonging the injury.

Lately I've been trying to practice without using the finger. During performances I can't help it--I need to use that finger to play well. But are my efforts to perform well and practice regularly actually hurting my chances of becoming a better musician?

I'm wondering, should I just take a break completely from performing and practicing for a while--a week or two, or maybe more--and see what that does? Maybe that will allow the wound to heal properly and a callous to form like normal.

String musicians, what do you think? Have any of you ever experienced anything like this, and would you/could you give up playing the instruments you love for a couple weeks or a month to allow healing to occur?