The Site Of Possible 1921 Black Massacre Remains & My Hand Appointment

Yesterday I went to downtown Oaklawn Cemetery before my orthopedic appointment and took photos. There has been a lot of buzz in the news about this cemetery possibly being the site of unidentified remains.

A forensic team said in October that it had unearthed 11 coffins while searching for victims from the 1921 massacre. Hundreds of Black residents in Tulsa were killed at that time.

1921 Black Massacre:

“We still have a lot of work to do to identify the nature of that mass grave and identify who is in it,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said.

“But what we do know is that there is a mass grave in Oaklawn Cemetery where we have no record of anyone being buried.”

The 1921 massacre began after white people tried to lynch a young Black man. There were allegations that he had attacked a young white woman who was an elevator operator at a drugstore.

The man was cleared, but when a group of white men met up with a group of Black men at a police station, shots were fired and a fight broke out.

The mass grave was discovered in an area where records and research suggested that as many as 18 victims would be found. Painstaking work will be required to identify whether the remains are from victims of the massacre.

Excavating The Remains:

The remains will not be moved until they can be exhumed properly to avoid deterioration, said Kary Stackelbeck, a state archaeologist. She said the discovery “constitutes a mass grave.”

Ms. Stackelbeck said machinery removed the upper layers of an area in the cemetery that had originally been surveyed with ground-penetrating radar.

The excavation revealed 10 coffins buried in the same pit and an 11th nearby.

I didn’t see any areas of earth that looked recently disrupted, but I didn’t have time to walk around the entire cemetery.

When I was just about to leave, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was a hawk.

The hawk flew from stone to stone, its giant wings flapping the air.

My Appointment:

At the appointment I learned that eight of my ten fingers have what is called “trigger finger.” I have no idea why this happened to almost all my fingers at the same time.

The physician’s assistant said that we could try injections. She explained that localized injections are administered into the sheath of the tendon at the affected finger’s base.

She explained that it was going to be extremely painful and she would only do two fingers at a time. We chose my left thumb and right ring finger.

It might help for only a little while and possibly not help at all.

The PA said before they can think of surgery they must exhaust the hope that the cortisone shots will help. I don’t want to even hear the word surgery right now. How would I take care of myself with both hands bound up and healing?

Oh My, The Pain:

She was right, it was extremely painful. Driving home, I held both hands up like claws on the steering wheel.

I thought she meant the pain would be over after the shot. But I was wrong. I cannot even describe the pain I felt, and am still feeling to some degree.

In the middle of the night I woke up with the fingers of my right hand triggered and locked. The ring finger included, the one she worked on.

Anyone Know Anything About This Problem?

I asked about physical therapy and she said it wouldn’t help, but I’m going to do some research. I would rather try that than have one of those painful shots again. I’ve also read that stretches can possibly help.

Have any of you had this done before? Or do you have any experience with “trigger” fingers?

29 Comments

  1. I had trigger finger in my thumb. I couldn’t open a jar or turn on a lamp anymore. I had the surgery and have had no pain or problems since. Recovery from the surgery was easy and my thumb was not bound.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear this news. I personally don’t know much, if anything, about trigger fingers except my step mother had it for years. She is now deceased but she’d found a doctor who totally “cured” her non surgically and not just cortisone shots. My suggestion is to to do some research and see if you can find an alternative. I know it wasn’t painful and it was instantaneous. She played the piano as an accompanist for a state opera guild and a civic choral and played the organ for several churches and a synagogue. Her hands and fingers were her life. She gave a solo concert on the piano at 89. I say all this to give you hope. Good luck!

  3. Check out the books and materials of Lee Albert, a neuromuscular therapist.
    I am not recommending him, just sharing information I found from watching a PBS special. There’s a book, website, etc. to perhaps aid your search for information and help options.
    Cortisone takes time to slowly reduce inflammation thus reducing pain. I’m surprised the doctor did not explain this to you. Read up on it as well.
    I’m so sorry you are enduring such pain.
    Frances in MD

  4. I wonder… did she suggest using ice on those areas where you received the injections? I’m an nurse and worked in a foot doctors office for years. After giving any injections into an already inflamed area ice can be very helpful the first 2 days or so after the injection. I had some issues and the insurance company wanted to see “proof” that injections didn’t help before they approved surgery… it’s sort of “routine’ that this means 4 injections to each area before surgery. Insurance companies other than medicare seem to the one’s with these “silly” rules…. meaning you have to prove you have an issue. This surgery is usually straight forward and they’d only do a few fingers at a time…. certainly not both hands at the same time. There are 2 types of steroids…. anabolic and catabolic. You can do a Google search if you like. Steroids used properly by a physician can be very safe and beneficial. The steroids that get a bad rap are those used by “body builder” types and can lead to SERIOUS side effects (and I believe are illegal) . Physicians do not use steroids for this purpose and used properly they can help with a multitude of medical issues and even be life saving. Speaking with your physician as you did is always the safest plan before taking any other medications. Good luck.

  5. I can’t believe you have trigger finger in 8 fingers at once – ouch! I know a few people that have had trigger finger and they did certain exercises and wore a hand splint. Maybe you could either look up exercises online or ask for PT, and you could try a splint on one hand at a time. I’d also look into acupuncture or a chiropractor.

    Please be careful with things like cortisone (look up how bad it is for you) and Meloxicam. The latter is a high potency NSAID and has a lot of serious side effects. Perhaps it’d be best to try the natural stuff first.

  6. I had “trigger” thumb, and I asked my chiropractor about it. I don’t remember exactly what he did for it, but I’ve had no problem since, and no pain after the adjustment.

  7. Brenda,
    I have had trigger finger in both of my thumbs and my right index finger. I also have arthritis in them. I had several injections in them and finally had the surgery. I did one hand at a time. My index finger also had to have the joint replaced. The shots did give some relief for a while, but long term the surgery is what worked for me. I am very glad I had the surgery.

    I wish you the best of luck with this. It is painful.

  8. My husband went to an orthopedist who specializes in hands in Tulsa several years ago for trigger finger. The doctor gave him an injection that he said was very painful, but the pain didn’t last like yours did. He hasn’t had any problems since then.

  9. It’s possible that the mass burial was some of the victims from the Tulsa massacre of black residents. It could also be people who were hastily buried (and records subsequently lost) during the “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918-1919. The winter of 1919 had a massive number of deaths from the virus in the U.S. and all around the world. I hope you are able to get a definite diagnosis on what’s going on with your hands. If the skin is tightened on your hands, it worries me that this sounds like a symptom of a condition called scleroderma.

  10. I had trigger finger in both thumbs at the same time. I had the shot in one thumb, but could not have it in the other because I have lymphedema in that arm. The shot did not do anything to help and the doctor said some people need two or three shots spaced apart to get any help. Eventually both just seemed to slowly go away over the next month or so with no further treatment. I also was told to wear splints to try to keep the thumbs from moving too much, but that lasted just a few hours before I took them off. I suggest keeping your hands warm and still, to let them rest.

  11. I heard those shots like that can be so painful. I hope after having to feel that pain you will get some relief. That is interesting about all those graves. Maybe that Hawk is protecting those grave stones. He is the keeper of the graves lol! Happy Friday

  12. Oh ouch! I had a shot in one of my toes for arthritis pain and I could have strangled the doctor right then and there. It hurt so bad and it continued to hurt a lot for a few days. And it did not take care of the problem. So sorry you have to go through this. I would look into whatever kind of therapy or meds you can find that will help rather than go through that on a regular basis. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. I have this problem. It comes and goes. I attribute this to years and years of typing at my job. Thank goodness, I’m retired now. Recently, my thumb popped out of joint and it was painful when I popped it back. I did a little research and it suggested using a finger brace. I began using one. It took about a month for the problem to go away. But it hasn’t bothered me since.

  14. I don’t know anything about trigger finger. However, my son this year avoided back surgery with a physical therapist’s help and a doctor who gave him something like insulin shots into his back. I’m not suggesting the same thing for you but just wondering if there is some alternative care that is out there. I wonder if they could just operate on one hand at a time not leaving you virtually dependent.Maybe the shot works over time and not instantaneously. I hope relief is coming.

  15. Brenda,
    Please ask your doctor for a rx for meloxicam which is a very good anti inflammatory medication. I have absolutely terrible and very painful arthritis and I have days I just want to cry from the pain. This rx was like a miracle for me. It’s a very inexpensive and great option to try and it will really help.

  16. Eight trigger fingers!!! Oh Brenda I’m so sorry to hear this news. I do have a friend who recently had outpatient surgery for one finger and has fully recovered. Another friend has a trigger finger thumb and was going to have a shot either yesterday or today. She wants to avoid surgery if at all possible. I wish I could be more helpful. I’m sending healing thoughts!

    1. Here’s what I googled just now: Trigger finger is not the same as Dupuytren’s contracture; they are only similar in that both involve finger flexion. Dupuytren contracture is a condition in which thickening and shortening of the connective tissue occurs in the palm of the hand, that resemble cords and nodules, in which there is some finger flexion as a result.

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