life as a wirebending zebra

A few people have asked about my ring splints lately, so I thought I'd do a quick post about them - why I wear them, what they do, how I made them, and why I'm very unlikely to ever make them commercially.

First of all: yes, I'm a zebra. We don't know exactly what kind of zebra, because my doctor and I have talked it over and concluded that there's really no point in arguing with my insurance company about genetic testing since the treatment options are basically just "don't do that" and "take a lot of pain meds" and, well, I'm already doing those things. 

EDS tends to be somewhat progressive, and this past year I went from being bendier than the average person to having to actively rearrange my skeleton multiple times a day. (If you spend any amount of time with me in person, you'll probably see me casually whacking my kneecaps back into place or trying to get my right shoulderblade back where it belongs.) This summer I spent a lot of time playing guitar while leading services at my synagogue, and one Friday morning my fingers just started collapsing backwards while I was practicing, which was... problematic, to say the least. 

So because I'm the sort of person who grabs a spool of wire and pliers to fix her car's tailpipe, I did what any sensible person would do in that situation: I grabbed some wire and pliers and wirewrapped my fingers. And because all I had was 18 gauge wire (which isn't sturdy enough) I added some extra wire for stability:  

And lo, it worked. I played the service and my fingers didn't slide all over the place, and people commented favorably on my pretty new rings, and I went home and priced out a set of ring splints and then I priced heavy gauge sterling wire and realized I could make several sets for what it would cost to buy a single splint, and given that I tend to lose things, I figured it would probably be best to just make my own.

My first set was 16 gauge sterling, and they worked pretty well for a couple of months, until the day I shoved them in my pocket and forgot to put them on and lost them... uh... somewhere in New Hampshire. (See also "why I decided to just make my own.) I said some bad words, and then I made a new set in 14 gauge sterling, which turned out to be much more stable, and that's what I wear now.

As you can see in that photo, they're sort of a figure-eight shape; I can adjust them slightly to compensate for swelling in my fingers. They stay on surprisingly well, although I do have to pay a bit of attention to keep them from getting caught on things. I had to fish one out of a customer's order the other day (fortunately I noticed I was missing one before I put that package in the mail) and I get them tangled in my hair on a daily basis. 

(I've also gotten stuck to my instruments more time than I care to admit, because I am an extremely graceful and coordinated person.) 

I'm unlikely to ever offer them for sale, for a couple of reasons: one, they are a giant pain in the butt to size properly. I have my own fingers right here, and it still takes me a looooong time to get them shaped and fitted properly. (There's a reason they cost so much.) Also, technically they're a medical device, and there's all kinds of liability involved in that, and I'd rather just not even go there. And working with heavy gauge wire is hard on my hands, which... is kind of the problem in the first place.

But it's pretty useful to be able to fix my own fingers with wire.

 



Comment on this post (1 comment)

  • Bunny Crow says...

    Question! Why not turn them around the other way (with the open ends on the top)? I don’t know if you’ve tried this already, but may help with the “getting caught on things” aspect.

    November 22, 2017

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