In early February I underwent minor surgery on my right hand to remove a ganglion cyst at the base of the index finger (palm side). The cyst was small, about 3mm in diameter. But it was located at a pressure point in the hand so I had difficulty grasping things. After the surgery (under local anesthetic) I had to keep the surgery site dry, and of course I also had to do many things with my left hand. I also couldn’t play the piano for a month.
I am a fairly strongly right-handed person. I used to play a lot of tennis, and some squash, badminton and table-tennis. My right hand and arm are significantly stronger than those on my left. The increased use of my left hand forced me to be much more aware of it. In some cases it was like learning to do something from scratch. Sometimes I had to really concentrate on the activity and adjust my body position completely opposite to what it would have been for right-handed execution.
Here’s the interesting thing — when I started playing the piano again in early-March I found that despite the month’s lay-off I had more control of my left hand than I remember having. Hanon exercises were executed with better fluidity and with less fatigue than I had previously experienced. Hand independence and positional awareness also improved noticeably. From now on I will increase the use of my left hand for daily activities.
In the meantime, some awkward chords in the right hand still cause a twinge of discomfort at the surgery site. However my surgeon (who is the ‘father’ of hand microsurgery specialization in Singapore) assures me that my hand will be as good as new by June or July.