My right hand has had a pretty rough half-decade. It all started with tingly fingers that turned into numb fingers that turned into a numb hand. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel about five years ago… the same day that I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my lower back and bursitis in my right hip. I find it far more efficient to wait until I have multiple, unignorable symptoms to really make the most out of a doctor visit.
I was told not to run anymore (which I ignored) and I was told to get a wrist brace and physical therapy (which I heeded). For the next year, I wore the heck out of that wrist brace and went to physical therapy. And by that, I mean the I did both like a total boss for two months, showed no signs of improvement, ditched both things, and then waited the full year before seeing my doctor again.
That time he gave me a cortisone shot. Which was surprisingly not at all painful and worked like a little carpal tunnel miracle. I rode that cortisone wave for another year until I couldn’t ignore the fact that I was waking up with a completely numb hand most mornings. Which I promptly ignored while we moved to Atlanta. And then moved again, within Atlanta.
I really intended to continue ignoring my carpal tunnel for a little while longer, although I did start having this nudging, irrational fear that one day the blood would just stop rushing back into my fingers and my hand would simply fall off. But late last fall, my right thumb started acting up. It was like a Right Handed Mutiny where all of my fingers knew that something drastic had to be done in order to get me back into the doctor and my thumb was the sacrificial lamb.
Every time I bent my thumb (which is often, as it turns out), it started clicking and popping. I was diagnosed with trigger thumb and wrote about it here. I went to two visits to a physical therapist, after which they said my case was too severe and I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon. I received a cortisone shot in my thumb. Expecting it to be just as painless as that carpal tunnel shot, I was caught totally off guard when it hurt really freaking bad and I was sort of whimpering and gripping the chair with my good hand. And then felt like kind of a total wimp when he told me that that was the numbing shot.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that I survived the shot. Unfortunately, it did nothing to help my thumb and it has continued to worsen. Over the subsequent weeks, it went from clicking and hurting when I bent it, to not bending at all.
So… the next stop is surgery. He’s going to fix my trigger thumb and do the carpal tunnel at the same time. You know… the old, “While I’m in there…” He’ll just give me a twofer. As in two surgeries at the same time, not two surgeries for the price of one.
My surgery is tomorrow at 11:45. Except not really. I have to be there at 11:45. My surgery is more like 2ish. Which is all fine, besides the fact that I cannot eat or drink past midnight tonight. That is an extraordinarily long time with no water, coffee, or food. I’m really not sure how I’m expected to manage myself tomorrow morning or the OVER SEVEN HOURS that I will be awake and starving and thirsty and uncaffeinated.
The other thing I found out yesterday in my pre-op appointment is that it’s not actually anesthesia, it’s “twilight sleep.” I’m pretty sure that’s the same thing that you get during a colonoscopy. Which I’ve had two of in my early twenties (thank you, IBS). The only thing that I can really remember is that I get very weepy and sappy when I have been administered this “twilight” drug. So basically I am just my actual self when I’m really hormonal or after a glass of wine. It’s super humiliating. I can’t remember much from either colonoscopy, but I can vividly remember openly crying and telling the nurse that I really, really appreciated her. And now all I can think of is that I will be sitting in some surgical chair telling Dr. Dalal what a great job he’s doing while I weep softly and beg someone for a sandwich.