Hot Tracks and Cold Trails

I begin this month’s column with the sad news of the passing of Harvey Adams, Drake’s Branch, VA. Harvey was survived by his wife; one daughter; one son; two grandchildren; one sister and two brothers.

I first remember becoming friends with Harvey when we were asked by the late A.A. Legrand to serve as directors at the first three day Southeastern Field Trial that ever took place at Dr. Richard Adams’ pen near Statesville, NC over 25 years ago. Since then, Harvey and son Donnie and I have judged together many, many times.

There has never been a better fellow than Harvey Adams. He is one of the few folks that I can never remember hearing anyone say anything derogatory about. He was an outstanding judge in the field and was a hard hunter that kept hounds as long as I knew him. He was well respected far and wide and was an Honorary Director of the Virginia State and the Southeastern Fox Hunters Associations up until his death.

This sport and any sport for that matter could use more folks like Harvey Adams and I consider myself blessed to have known him.  A little over two years ago, I began to notice a bit of tingling on the middle fingers of my right hand. There really wasn’t much to it, so I brushed it off as another issue to have to deal with as a 54 year old. As time passed, I started waking up at night with those two fingers numb and aching. In fact, I couldn’t get back to sleep until the feeling came back.

I go see my doctor for a check up every six months, so I told him about it. As soon as I did, he reached in his drawer and handed me a sleeve. This fits over the wrist and lower forearm and has a strap that goes between the thumb and forefinger. It also has a piece inside of it that fits in the palm of the hand. This piece keeps you from bending your wrist when you sleep at night and is a huge help in keeping the fingers from tingling and going numb while you sleep. I have happily used this for the past year and it has been a big help.

Recently, however, the tingling began to get a little worse and a little worse. When I told my doctor, he referred me to a hand specialist at one of our local orthopaedic groups. When I went to see him, he arranged for another doctor to give me a nerve study. This doctor hooked two small wires to my little finger and index finger. He also attached a small medal cup to the back of my hand. These wires were attached to a computer monitor. He then took a small tool that looked sort of like a taser and he zapped my forearm in several predetermined places. He also used a small needle to poke me in these places. After he had completed these tests, he informed me that I had severe Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and would need surgery or risk having permanent nerve damage.

On Wednesday, September 15, I had the surgery to try and correct the problem. The surgery was very minor. I wasn’t put to sleep, but was given enough anesthesia to make me goofy. (Or goofier that I already am) The doctor cut the circulation off to my hand and gave me local anesthesia so he could work on that area.

I was then stitched up and was told I would be out of work for the next 4 weeks.  While this was standard procedure for this type of affliction, I was also told not to pick up anything heavier than a coffee cup with that hand during this time frame. Now, we all know that a man that foxhunts has to usually use both hands to load hounds when you go hunting.

The morning after a good, all night race, tired hounds can usually be loaded with less trouble because they are tired and not jumping around as much.

Fortunately for me, I have some fellow hunters and friends who live near by who were happy to help me out, so that I could continue to run my hounds and keep them in shape for the upcoming Tennessee State hunt. Scott Bowman (Scooter) has loaded my hounds for me for the last two weeks before I went hunting.

Joe Caldwell and Charles McCoy up in Virginia, helped me load up after running at Meadows of Dan. Carolina Mike Smith helped me load up Sunday morning after running in his pen in Caswell County. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank these fellows for all that they have dome.

Last, but certainly not least, my wonderful wife, Sue, has been a God-send through this entire ordeal. She works as a registered nurse, so I had an advantage of having an experienced medical professional living with me at home.

She is not shy about telling me when to slow down if it looks like I may be wanting to use the hand too much too early. She has fed the hounds for me and even helped me unload them here after a night’s hunt. I am very lucky to have her and I love her very much, even if she didn’t help me with the hounds.