Don Dokken has spoken out about his recent spine surgery, saying it left him unable to play guitar.
It’s been two and a half months since I had spine surgery, and my hands are dead. They don’t move. It’s very strange.
“It’s an interesting way to live your life. You’ve gotta learn how to feed yourself, wipe your butt, brush your teeth, dress yourself. [It takes] 20 minutes to put socks on, ’cause one of my hands works a little bit, but not very much.
“I’m hoping — I’m trying to stay positive — that maybe some miracle will happen and slowly the nerves will reconnect and my hands will start working again,” he continued.
“Or you’re gonna hear about me in the newspaper, ’cause I’m gonna go to the [surgeon’s] office and I’m gonna go over to the desk and I’m gonna pummel his face. And I’m serious. That guy f*cked up. He was supposed to be the best of the best.
“After they put me under, I said two things: ‘Don’t kill me. ‘Don’t paralyze me.’ That’s what I said. I swear to God. And he’s, like, ‘That’s why you came to me. I’m the best.’ So I wake up in the hospital, and I’m, like, ‘How come my hands don’t move?’ ‘How come my fingers don’t move?’ ‘How come my hands are on fire?’ ‘How come I can barely walk? I’m on a walker. What the f*ck did you do, man?’ And he goes, ‘Well, it happens sometimes.’ I love it when surgeons go, ‘Well, sh*t happens. It only happens in one of a thousand surgeries.’ So I’m Mr. One Thousand, apparently. So, I’m not happy about it.”
At the time of the interview, Don said that he still needed to “figure out what to do” once he goes on tour with DOKKEN starting in March. “Obviously, I can’t dress myself,” he explained.
“I can’t get my clothes on. I can’t feed myself — I really can’t. So I’m trying to find someone to go on tour with me to basically babysit me. At least I can sing. My voice feels great. I just can’t hold a microphone.'”
According to Don, he is doing “physical therapy four days a week — on a bike, and I’m pedaling my a*s off, building up my leg strength, building up my arms… What’s left of my arms — my arms are completely atrophied.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen with my whole hands situation,” he said.
“They’re still paralyzed. So I think my guitar-playing days are obviously over. But that’s okay. I got 50 years to play guitar.”