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.

No comments: