Saturday, November 30, 2013

The State of Me

So I survived the most difficult surgical experience I've ever had. It's the most difficult because I had a nerve block to freeze my arm and I was awake for the whole surgery, which was two surgeries in one. It was very scary because I am not someone who freezes well which has created some very bad and traumatizing experiences in the past.

Luckily, my two anesthetists were very kind and caring men who took excellent care of me. I did have a bit of a melt down when it came to having my arm bone sawed into three pieces. It's very disconcerting to hear the saw and while not experiencing pain, to have the vibration of it rattle through your entire body. Fortunately, the anesthetist came in right away and took the edge off.

I got to see the surgery on the heel of my hand on a tv screen and my surgeon showed me all the damage that had been done in and around the pisiform bone, which he removed. That was pretty cool and when I asked him, he showed me the bone he'd taken out. I know that probably sounds kind of gruesome to some of you, but medical science fascinates me. That poor bone has been broken 4 times, so it was time for it to go. Fortunately, removing it doesn't affect the function of my hand.

The second surgery was to shorten the ulna bone, which is one of two arm bones, running from your wrist below your pinky finger, to your elbow. This was the bone they sawed in 3, shortened and then used 6 screws and a titanium plate to put back together. I've got an incision that runs from my wrist to about 3/4's of the way down my arm to my elbow (about 6-8 inches) and was closed with 17 staples. My friend Carol has dubbed it "Frankenarm". If you want to see, there's a photo here. I can tell you this hurts like H*LL! I ended up having to go to the ER twice in 24 hours to get the pain under proper control. I am managing with the help of morphine every 4 hours, which makes the pain endurable. I will be really thankful when it heals enough to stop hurting-right now there's absolutely no position I can put my arm in that feels comfortable. 

On Wednesday, I'll be getting the staples and stitches out and then I am not entirely sure what happens next. I may have a splint and I know I'll have to do therapy. It will take about 6 weeks for the bone to heal. I am basically supposed to be resting and recovering, which is so hard for me to do, but with only one hand, there's not a whole lot I can actually do. I can't say I miss washing the dishes, but not being able to drive or make art is a total drag. It's a lesson in patience, I suppose.


Bettyann said...

I have been thinking of you...take care...hope you are out of pain soon..

Kris said...

Glad to see you posting.
So sorry to hear about the pain :(
Hang in there!!

Amy Huff said...

Sending you lots of fast recovery thoughts! Maybe time to treat yourself to some favorite series binging? Audio books so no holding? Start your Olympic planning and strategy to get it all in now?!

Let me know if anything can help and a care package will be on it's way before Indy can waggle his tail!

Seth said...

What an ordeal! I am wishing you a speedy and uneventful recovery! Just think of all the creative ideas that will be ready to explore in 6 weeks!