Monday, May 26, 2008

Carpal Tunnel Surgery (a patient's pov)

Well i had the surgery as planned and i think it went well. I'm still in the process of healing but I no longer have that pain that used to wake me up at night. Well, in the right hand, anyway. The left hand still keeps me screaming now and then.

Since I'm naturally nocturnal, I made sure to go to bed early the night before because as with most surgeries there is no eating or drinking after midnight. I felt well rested that morning as they were putting in the iv's. they gave me 2, one on each arm. one was to give me medicines like Zantac for my acid reflux and a sedative. the other went into the right arm for the local anesthesia. I layed down on a special table that made both arms spread out like a T. I was supposed to be awake for the whole thing, but i was out as soon as the anesthesiologist pushed the sedative. lol next thing i know they're waking me up and putting me in a wheelchair.

I still felt loopy when the nurse was giving me my home-care instructions. She was showing me a few basic hand exercises to do and she said to do them 10 times each per hour. Now that sounds like a lot but seriously, only takes a few seconds. They are letters from the American Sign Language alphabet; b, e, a, and s. Easy for me since i already know a bit of ASL, long story on how.

I think i should list some cons of this surgery in case someone is curious about what to expect. If my doctor is an example of the average he will give you no information on what to expect other than it'll hurt for a while. First of all, I had to keep the bandages on for 8 days after the surgery. I said 8, eight long itchy days! I couldn't get it wet so i had to cover half my arm in plastic before getting into the shower. and everything is done with one hand because, as u can imagine, the other is very weak. if you are planning this surgery please have someone around that can care for you, you will need them. everything like brushing my hair and teeth, opening jars or bottles was difficult, I'm right handed so pretty much everything was done with my left hand. eating and drinking was also an adventure in ambidexterity. and not to be vulgar, but i had to learn to wipe my kitty with my left hand after going to potty. its harder than you think. lol i completely understand the reason he didn't do both hands at once. a person would be completely disabled for a while, to the point of needing serious bathroom help.

it has been a few weeks now and it itches less. the only things that have bothered me so far would be the weakness and itching. i have a high tolerance for pain and the meds help of course. when i went to my follow up he asked if i was ready to do the other hand yet; i had to decline. I've just regained the ability to use the right hand pretty close to normal now but i want to wait another month or two until i get full strength back. so i guess we'll see in a couple months.

P.S. i am not a nurse, only a patient. but if you have any questions about my experience or what else to expect, please email me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"Eh, what's up doc?"

Yeah, it's been a couple months, but i hadn't felt much like writing. I am feeling much better these days as long as i don't think about all the problems with my new shack. That's a whole other issue.....

The reason I'm feeling better starts about 6 or 7 weeks ago when i started having the most unbearable back and chest pain. i went to the emergency room in case i was dying; i am a 30something smoker so i know the deal. After a few hours of sticking, poking and prodding they concluded that i was suffering from HEARTBURN!!! oh my gosh. how embarrassing, right.

After a bit of a chuckle with the e.r. doc i started to talk about some of my other problems hoping he'd refer me to some specialists since my primary doc refuses. Since he was in a hurry, as all e.r. docs are, he told me that i did not need a referral. apparently i can see any doctor that takes my insurance. what a revelation! like DUH! why didn't i think of that before? since then, I've taken his advice and made several appointments with a few doctors.

I've already uncovered one serious misdiagnoses not to mention general neglect of my overall health. One of my new doctors is an orthopedic surgeon that will soon change my life. As all my good stalkers know, i have suffered with carpal tunnel syndrome for years and have had to give up my passion for yarn and fabrics. well folks, i am happy to say that i am having carpal tunnel surgery Tuesday! this is the first of two because this surgeon wouldn't do both hands at once for some reason. but who cares?! right?! i am finally going to have some relief and maybe even pick up my needles again!!!

I just watched the whole surgery on ORlive and i am a bit weirded out, but i just had to see what he was gonna be doing. here's the link to the surgery in case anyone's curious. And fyi, ORlive ( is a website that shows actual surgeries, so its not for the squeamish. i find it helpful to look at surgeries that friends and relatives might be having and even myself now. so anyway, its a cool site i have on favs next to webMD.

Thank god for the heartburn that sent me to the emergency room that gave me the doc that told me that i needed no one's permission to see a specialist! so now that that problem is being taken care of I'm going to pursue legal advice on that misdiagnoses and neglect. needless to say i wont be seeing my old doctor anymore. how do you fire a physician? I've done it in the hospital before for relatives but all those were in the face "you're fired" literally. i want that same satisfaction in this case. i suppose i could write a formal complaint against him to the medical board. i think I'll talk to a lawyer before i start writing angry letters tho.

It seems now that medial woes could turn into legal woes. and as long as I'm gonna be talking to lawyers i think I'll look into suing my landlord and housing authority. Below is a picture of the foliage that grows in my kitchen window, or rather through my window. apparently the housing authority thinks this is ok.

Besides the in-house atrium, the whole house leans to the south like its about to fall over, there is an ant and termite infestation, and i have painted particle board edged with ridged metal flooring for kitchen counter tops. the landlord's response to the insects was "oh i have ants real bad this year too." and then she hands me a styrofoam coffee cup of boric acid (no lid). what the hell am i supposed to do with that? "BITCH YOU HAVE TERMITES IN YOUR HOUSE!!!!!" is exactly what i wanted to scream at her. but i doubt angry shouts would work either, so I'm just gonna get some legal advice at this point.

And now, after 3 long years i finally have a new cell phone! The samsung beat, it has everything i wanted on it, pics, mpegs, mp3 player and it came with a memory card! i love it! yes things are looking up these days. and add to that my best friend is coming to visit for our local gay pride celebration in June. I cant wait to see her and her family!