Saturday, December 17, 2022

Freeing up the Median

I'm 'writing' this update using a combination of left-handed mouse and keyboard clicking, and dictated sentences to my phone. Both of these are tedious and clumsy ways of recording my thoughts, since I am naturally right-handed, and my accent and pronunciation of words is not always recognized.

I'm 4 days post re-release surgery for carpal tunnel issues. I had no idea when I had this done 10 years ago that a repeat process was highly likely. I have been experiencing things inexplicably dropping out of my hands (once it was a 32 oz bottle of pure 'liquid gold' maple syrup, all down my forearm and across the kitchen floor), as well as pins and needles in my fingers, but I thought I'd already done the carpal tunnel thing, so I didn't consider this an option. An EMG test confirmed weakness in the muscles and motor neurons yet again, meaning my median nerve - the eye of the hand - needed freeing again.

I had a mishap the night before surgery that was both disconcerting and embarrassing - I swallowed the Invisalign half-tray I'd forgotten I was wearing as I chomped on some fresh broccoli stalks during dinner prep. I wasn't able to retrieve it immediately, and certainly won't be doing so later! My dentist had a good laugh with me about it, but was unsure whether it would be able to be passed, suggesting I might need to visit a walk-in. The fact that it's made of plastic means it wouldn't show up on an X-ray, so what were they going to do? Tell me to wait a few days and see, I bet ... I was a little worried about how it might impact the procedure the following day, and wondered if I could cheekily ask them to retrieve it for me while I was under 😁 - these thoughts kept me awake and troubled a long while.

On the day of my surgery, we were woken by a phone call asking if we could come in earlier than scheduled since they'd had 2 cancellations. We felt we should try and help out, so said we could be there half an hour earlier, especially now that we were awake, and I wasn't able to eat, anyway! But wouldn't you know it, by the time we checked in, they'd found out they were short-staffed and the schedule had gone awry again. After arriving half an hour early, I went into surgery a half hour later than originally scheduled. 

I came home to a lunch prepared and set out by Linus in expectation of our return - how lucky am I! The MOST difficult thing is being dependent on others. Having help getting dressed or cutting up one's food with one's non-dominant, less experienced hand for the first few days while your good hand feels like a useless club, is horrible! Initially, my bandaged hand didn't even want to help stabilize my toothbrush while I squeezed paste out uncontrollably with my wobbly left hand. Writing tiny, possible solutions in the corners of a Sudoku square with my out-of-control left hand while I deduce which numbers to eliminate became an unsalvageable 'dog's breakfast.' I can't crochet while I sit and vegetate, but I can at least cuddle with a warm cat.

All this is temporary, so until the stitches are out, I've been trying to stay put in a chair to read, or click my way through different streaming movies. That immobility seems to have affected my compromised knee! I suspect that sitting with bent knees for long periods like this, has let "moviegoers knee" set in. It appears the cortisone has worn off completely and I'm back to feeling insecure putting weight on that leg. It feels so unstable again! So, I should be walking and exercising as well, watching TV and reading while I pace back and forth!

Carpal tunnel release is a pretty easy surgery, with the most pain feeling like a throb from a deep cut - very survivable. The first day of totally numb, swollen and burning hot, immovable fingers is quite disarming, but it was gone by the following morning. And the general 'anesthesia' is actually just a heavy sedation that one recovers from very quickly. I remember commenting on the beautiful skylights above me as I was wheeled through the hospital, and then ... blank till I woke up, sleepy and hungry, in the recovery room. Of course, the snacks they offered me had soy in them, so they had to do a bit of a run-around to the cafeteria to find a substitute.

The most difficulty is experienced in not having 2 strong hands for a time. Recovery to full strength is longer than expected for such a minor, not very invasive procedure.

PS - I'm assuming the plastic Invisalign tray is no longer present in my body. I feel absolutely fine, and will get a new tray next week.


Captain BBH said...

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Debbie said...

Thanks, Cap'n. It's going well, and I have 2 very capable and willing helpers.