Tag Archives: hand surgery


16 Nov

OK, it doesn’t sound like much, but today I managed to touch my thumb to the tip of my pinky.

During coffee hour after church this morning, I was showing my hand to a lady in the congregation who had this same thumb surgery a year ago, pointing out some of my aches and pains and asking it they were normal. I have absolutely no grip between my thumb and my forefinger; I couldn’t even pull a number at the deli counter Friday night, and she said it had taken her about six months. In the meantime, she said I should try picking up pennies with my right hand.

The Squire and Fr. M were there, and I was demonstrating how far I could reach with my thumb. The index finger and middle finger are no problem, but my ring finger is tricky, and my pinky is just about impossible. I held up my hand and they were about a quarter inch apart. With a mighty effort, I managed to make them meet, and the pain almost brought tears to my eyes.  Fr. M reached across the table and took my hand in both of his. “Can you do that again?” I managed, but it wasn’t easy.

“I can see the tendons in your arm and feel the tension in the entire hand. You need to get a cortisone shot and some PT on this thing.”

So tomorrow I shall call my doctor and tell him my rector says I need physical therapy. Actually, Fr. M is an EMT, so it’s perfectly reasonable, and The Squire has been hounding me about it, too.

But I did manage to get my fingers together! Ta, dah!



3 Nov

I have been out of my cast for two weeks now, using the squeeze ball while I read, and still have virtually no strength in my right hand. You should see me open a can. I squeeze the handles of the can opener with my left hand to puncture the lid, but don’t have the strength to turn the gizmo with my right to actually open the can. Once I have punctured the can, I have to turn everything around, so I can hold the handles with my right hand and turn the knob with my left. The Squire says it looks as if I’m trying to do it behind my back. Starting the car involves reaching through, or under, the steering wheel to turn the ignition.

But I get it done, by gum!

Going to the Y requires careful planning. It takes both of us to get me into my bathing suit. (Try it with one hand. Go ahead; I dare you.) After water aerobics, The Squire and I use the family dressing room to get me back out of the suit and into street clothes. This process is complicated by the fact that both of us get the giggles. It’s a lot like trying to put pajamas on an octopus.

One of the women at church had the same operation about six months ago, and today I was comparing notes with her during coffee hour, and it looks as if we are in for a long haul. She still has very little strength in her thumb, and her wrist is weak. She had lost feeling in her thumb, which I never did, but hers is gradually returning.

I am very, very lucky that this all happened to my right hand, and I am left handed. I cannot imagine not being able to use my dominant hand.

And I would not have had this surgery done if I had known.

Second Verse, Much Worse!

19 Sep

Well, I’d been warned that hand surgery would be a bear, but that only begins to describe it. The pain is just incredible.

We had to be at the Surgical Center at 7 AM yesterday – NPO, again – and I opted for a general anesthetic rather than a local. The doctor showed us what he would do – open the side of my right hand to reposition my thumb, and then pull a tendon from my forearm to tie the thumb in place.  When I first floated to the surface, the local anesthetic was still working, so I wasn’t in too much pain – maybe a 5 or so. After two cups of apple juice, the nurse said, “Give a number” and without a thought I told her “42”. It took us both a few seconds to get that sorted out. The Squire helped me get dressed; I’d worn a muumuu, which made life easier, and we were back home around 11:00.

I slept off the rest of the anesthesia in the recliner while The Squire got my prescription filled, had a cup of coffee and a pain pill, and slept most of yesterday and today. I’ve been in a drug induced haze most of the day, sleeping here and there – the sofa, the recliner, the bed – while The Squire and Blazer hover in the background making sure I don’t fall over or stand up and forget where I am, and head off in the wrong direction. Homemade soup and bagels for whatever meal you want to call it when we ate at 1:00 today, and I am about ready to collapse again. Heaven only knows how people survived before modern pain meds.

I have an appointment to get this cast removed next Friday, and then I will get either a smaller cast or a Velcro “thing” to hold my thumb in place for another couple of weeks. Knowing how easy it will be to accept the temptation  to remove the Velcro job, I’ll probably ask for the smaller cast.