Strummer Regains Finger Fluidity – Tom Garn

Musicians have a special talent that enables them to express themselves through chords, lyrics and strings in ways that sooth their very souls. Suffering with an ailment that compromises a musician’s ability to play their favored instrument brings is the fear of every musician.

Tom Garn, age 59, a lifelong Sturgis resident and lifelong musician, has spent nearly his entire life using music to soothe many souls, most especially his own!

"I started playing music when I was 10 years old," Tom said, “it’s just in me.”

Attributing his passion for music to his grand father, who played the violin for silent movies,Tom studied music while playing a number of instruments before settling on the guitar, which he chose for a number of reasons but especially because of its social acceptance and portability.

"Guitars are really easy to carry around while hanging with your friends--much easier than a piano," he said just before exploding into a huge belly laugh.

Working and playing meant heavy use of Tom’s fingers, which eventually began to take its toll. "I started getting carpal tunnel," Tom said, seriously, "which starting making my hands go numb, making it hard to use them. Then the fingers on my right hand began to curl and lock, making it impossible to finger pick my guitar." 

In need of medical intervention, Tom said he went to see Dr. Grannell because he heard he was excellent surgeon. "Dr. Grannell was great. He did my carpal tunnel surgery and a trigger release surgery on my fingers,” he said. “It took about 8 or 9 weeks to heal but, I was back picking again!"

A couple years later, Tom’s other hand started to bother him so he went back to Dr. Grannell. "He did such a fine job with my one hand that I had to see him to do the second!"

Tom noted that his hospital stay was exceptional and he couldn’t feel more relaxed. "Those guys were just awesome," he said, smiling. "Growing up in Sturgis, I got to see many people that I had gone to high school with working there. In fact, many of the staff are actually friends of mine that I've had some great times with so, being there was like being surrounded by family. It was really awesome!"

His experience with Dr. Grannell was extraordinary, too. "You know, the guy is straight forward and to the point," Tom said firmly. "And, if you don't follow the rules, he'll get mad at you," he said chuckling. "But, I like it that way. I like to know what was going on and to know what to expect, how things were going to come out. It made me feel very confident to place my health in his hands--it really put me at ease."

Tom said he’ll never forget the great health tip for guitars player that Dr. Grannell taught him. ”He told me to stretch my fingers daily. So, I wake up everyday and I stretch my hands. He said it's very important to do so, I do it!"

Now totally healed in both hands, and able to strum his guitar with great ease, Tom said he is thrilled with his outcome. "Where my hands were at before surgery and where they are now is more than 100%. It's awesome to have my fingers back!"