Crafty by Nature

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hand surgery - Skip this post if you are queasy...

Talk about frustrating!  Not being able to create anything for weeks on end.

I had what I and the doctor presumed was carpal tunnel syndrome.  An annoying problem where the nerves in your wrist are compressed by the build-up of cartilage in your wrist.  Usually the surgery takes about 20 minutes (these days), they just release the nerves.  Well, what should have been a one day event turned into a several week ordeal.

First surgery – local anaesthetic, OUCH!!!  He starts cutting and I hear “oh...” tells his surgical assistant to come take a look because she will probably never see this again.  He’s certainly got me curious, so I take a look.  All I can see is blood.  He explains that my ligaments had completely calcified.  Turned into bone.  He tried to chip at it, but no go.  So he closes me up and says I have to come back on the Monday for pre-op and have the surgery on Tuesday.  The syndrome is “Peri-articular calcification of ligaments”, he tells me that he wants to write a paper on it.  I am sooooo special.

So I show up on the Monday and they do a gabazillion tests including an MRI.  We find out that my bleeding disorder is alive and well, so I have to see a haematologist.  They put me on an iv to “thicken” up my blood.  Anyway long story short, I go home.

Tuesday 5:30 a.m. am back in hospital.  Nurses try to set me up with iv.  can’t find vein.  They call in the anaesthetist who can’t find it either.  So he starts using lydocaine  (sp?) to freeze me so he can fish around.  Doesn’t work, and I am now bleeding like a gutted fish (do they bleed a lot?).  He calls in a nurse to mop up the pool of blood that is growing on the floor.  He then calls in another anaesthetist who will attempt to do a BIER block.  That is where they go in and freeze the nerves by injecting some type of med into and around them.  My body did not cooperate.  So he is making holes everywhere, even in my neck. (shoulder, elbow, you name it he gives it a try (yuck) .  A third anaesthetist now joins the party.  He finds the right spots after poking several more holes and his assistant injects the med into the sites – it feels like I have little lightning storms happening in my arm.  He explains that the goal is to get my hand to jerk around (my words not his) so that he knows he has the right spots.  Finally my hand starts twitching and he says I am ready to go.  It has been a good four hours by then and I am nauseous, sore, and exhausted from the pain.  I can’t bear the idea of local anaesthetic in my hand again but he promises that he will give me a sedative.  I think that nothing but putting me under will work but he says “here we go” and next thing I know I blink and the surgeon is there working away... I wonder when he arrived...  I blink again and the surgeon says “we are all done Danielle”.  I think that was really fast – in actual fact it was two hours.  I like that sedative a lot.

I go to recovery where Paul is waiting for me and all I want is to go home.  They give me morphine and guess what?  We find out I am allergic to it.  My oxygen saturation goes down to 79%.  So on comes the oxygen mask and I am getting a tad bitchy.  I just want to go home.  They are talking about keeping me overnight.  The deal is if they can get my oxygen up in the 90’s I can go home.  Hours later, I am up to 95% and they let me go home.

They give me a prescription for something called toredol which is a non-narcotic pain killer.  Guess what?  I take it as instructed and next thing you know I can’t breathe.  I refuse to go to the hospital and insist that I will be okay.  We have no idea that it is the meds doing it, since the pulmonary function guy at the hospital (oh yeah I forgot to tell you about him) had told us that I had CRPD – Chronic restrictive pulmonary disease).  We figure that’s the problem.  So I keep taking the toredol.  And things get worse.  I can’t breathe.  Feel like a truck has parked on my chest.  it passes after hours of gasping....  feel like a fish out of water.  But 4 hours have passed and its time for another pill.  I take it and it starts again, worse this time.  My brain kicks in and we realize its the meds.  So I stop taking them and by the next day I am back to normal.  Surgeon says take two Advil and a Tylenol every 4 hours and it works, pain is abated, I can breathe and I almost feel like my old self.  Except for the bandaged extremely swollen hand.

Surgeon says to have my gp change the bandage,  Shit!  the wound is infected.  Now we are worried that it will get worse and I will lose the hand, because of the diabetes.  I am also given some pills to keep my blood thick.  I am bleeding like a stuck pig (???).  Obviously I need those pills.  BUT they are an acid, and they burn the heck out of my stomach.  I am now sick sick sick.  Fever, nausea and a few other delightful symptoms that I won’t get into.

Paul is a doll, cooking, cleaning, soaking my hand and bandaging it.  It hurts... a lot but we see that the infection is finally clearing up.  I see the g.p. again and he changes the bandage and says it is looking good.  Surgeon says keep soaking and if it is still clear of infection I can have the stitches removed in a few days.

Yesterday the stitches came out.  Because they had been in so long, skin has tried to grow over them.  Another fun experience...  I almost pass out, but Paul is there and he is helping a lot.

So is this the end of the story, oh noooooo, I end up with an infection.  GP prescribes antibiotics, and I keep getting sicker and sicker and it huuurts.  I finish the meds and I am still sick, but I will be seeing the surgeon again in a few days.

So yesterday I see the surgeon and the infection has spread.  AND the gp I saw gave me the wrong kind of antibiotics so now I am taking mega strong ones and if they don't do the job, I will be hospitalized and receive IV meds.

In the meantime, soaking the arm and hand in warm water and epsom salts, keeping it elevated and doing a few rehabilitative exercises...

ahhhhh, life is such an adventure.

Pics coming up so brace yourself -

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