Hand Injury Involving Middle Finger Tendon
I am from Illinois. I work as a server/waiter at a restaurant. Last year in January (2011) I was waiting tables one evening when I felt pain and swolleness in my right hand middle finger tendon at the end of my shift. It was not excruciatingly painful, but it was a noticeable feeling of discomfort. I did not think much of it and thought that I just over extended the finger while carrying a heavy tray on my palm or lifting a heavy plate with my finger tips to pass to a guest accross a table. I iced it for a little bit before depart from work with some of the ice we use to chill our wine with. The next day when I woke up, I did not notice the pain increase or decrease, it was a little stiff and sore, but nothing that worried me. For the next couple of weeks I continue to work normal hours thinking that it would go away with time. Once two weeks passed, I decided to take it easy one week and give my shifts away to coworkers, because it did not seem as though my hand was healing itself. After taking a break for a week, to my dismay, my hand did not get better. Thankfully, up until that point, it did not get any worse either. A couple of more weeks pass, and I notice my hand becoming a little bit more swollen that it initally was, this became apparent once I was through working a shift and in the morning when I would wake up. The swolleness also made it harder to close my hand and make a fist. Worried that my problem is not getting any better, I notify my manager. She begins filling a claim regarding my hand.
After tons of delays and tons of doctors appointments at the family physician, hand therapist, and orthopedic hand specialist/surgeon I go from wearing two different splints designed by the hand therapist (neither did anything to remedy my problem), to a cortisone shot from the orthopedic hand specialist (this helped alleviate the swolleness and part of the stiffness, but I still cannot make a complete fist), and end up with the orthopedic hand specialist telling me that there is nothing more that he can do for me and that he does not recommed surgery in a case like mind, because while my injury is impairing my grip, it is not rendering my hand useless. Futhermore, it is just something that I will have to bare with for as long as it lasts which may be indefinite, but that if I do hand excersises on a routine basis it should help prevent it from getting worse.
This is where I blow the whistle. Im 29 years old and for the rest of my life I am going to have my right hand only be 75% as powerful as my left hand according to the strength tests that were adminstered to me by the hand specialist? Forget the fact that this is my dominate hand, how about the fact that this is going to be something that is probably not going to change and last for the remainder of my life. I feel a little entitled to some kind of compensation here and if it returns to where is was before I got the cortisone shot, I might have to think about getting a new job even though I have adapted the way that I care my trays nowadays. Can any one give me some advice on how I should handle this situation? I feel as though I am at a dead end at moment with being told by the orthopedic surgeon that nothing more can be done for me at this point. If that truly is the case, what actions should I take?
Thanks in advance.