Don Dokken Lost Use of His Hands After Spinal Surgery [Update]
After undergoing spinal surgery toward the end of 2019, Dokken's namesake frontman Don Dokken has revealed that he has lost use of his hands and is at risk of never being able to play guitar again.
Despite the circumstances, the singer / guitarist is still committed to touring, understanding that he will need a personal assistant to help him with basic needs such as getting dressed and eating.
"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," Dokken told "Classic Metal Show" in a January interview (transcription via Blabbermouth). "It's an interesting way to live your life," he admitted, detailing, "You've got to learn how to feed yourself, wipe your butt, brush your teeth, dress yourself. [It takes] 20 minutes to put socks on because one of my hands works a little bit, but not very much."
Still, he said he's "trying to stay positive," wishing for "some miracle" in which his nerves will reconnect, affording him the ability to once again use his hands to their fullest extent. If not, Dokken intends to confront his surgeon about the issue, stressing, "You're gonna hear about me in the newspaper because 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 fucked up. He was supposed to be the best of the best."
Prior to going under the knife, the rocker had two demands: "Don't kill me. Don't paralyze me." Upon waking from surgery, he was left wondering why his hands and fingers wouldn't move and why he's been consigned to using a walker to aid mobility. Despite feeling reassured he was under the care of an expert surgeon — "the best of the best" — Dokken said the surgeon's reaction was, "Well, it happens sometimes."
After the interview was conducted, Dokken announced a brief series of 2020 shows that will feature a special encore appearance from classic Dokken guitarist George Lynch.
In his discussion with "Classic Metal Show," the singer explained he was mapping out a plan for the road. "Obviously, I can't dress myself. 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," he relayed.
This tour preparation also includes physical therapy where he's pedaling on an exercise bike to regain strength. The use of his hands remains problematic, however. "I don't know what's gonna happen with my whole hands situation," Dokken went on. "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."
See Dokken's upcoming tour dates here and join us in wishing Don the best as works on his recovery.
Update: Dokken has offered an update on his condition, clarifying that some time has passed since the interview was given about his health and that he is doing much better and expected to fully recover over time. Dokken still has trouble holding items and is currently unable to play his guitar, but this has not affected his voice and there are no changes to his current performance schedule. The full statement on the matter can be read below:
Don Dokken on "Classic Metal Show"
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