hand surgery

As we were driving home from the hospital yesterday, we were recalling stories of our many, many hospital experiences. I would be remiss, if I did not tell you the story of my carpal tunnel surgery.

When I first started having problems with my hands, the hand specialist diagnosed me with carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. We scheduled surgeries separately so that I would not be without both hands at the same time. As a single mother of two young boys (at the time) being without one hand would still leave me short the other 27 hands I needed daily. My mom was nice enough to take the day off and bring me to my surgery. That’s where the fun began!

We parked at the outpatient surgery center of the hospital, and started to walk in to the building. As we neared the doors, my mom made a shrill sound that I’d never heard her make before and told me how nervous she was for the surgery. Hold on! Wait! Aren’t you here to calm MY nerves? But yet I found myself consoling her. It’s kind of funny when I look back on it.

I was taken back quickly in to operating room and the surgery was reported to be a success. Who would have known at that point that my problem was not carpal tunnel but un-diagnosed Raynaud’s syndrome. How pissed was I after the surgery when my hand continued to still go numb. But we still didn’t know at that point that it wasn’t carpal tunnel. So I had the other hand done too. So stupid! Back to the original surgery day. I sit in recovery for the required time and then I’m discharged into my mom’s “capable” hands. Please keep in mind that I love my mom to pieces. She wheeled me out into the lobby area in a wheelchair and went outside to pull up the car for my convenience. You will never guess in 1 million years would happen next! My mom had brought the car to the curb left the car running so that I would be comfortable… And locked the keys in the car. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep and hope that the pain meds would not wear off too quickly. But as you know, in the Joey world, things don’t always turn out as planned.

Now at the time, I was still renting an apartment. My spare keys were neatly tucked away in the kitchen of that apartment. No one had a spare key. Being the dork that I am and that desperate times DO call for desperate measures, I called my landlord and asked him to retrieve my extra set of car keys and bring them to the hospital. What a guy! He actually did it! Much more to tell about him but that’s for another blog on another day. Just remind me to tell you about George.

Thanks to George we are now in the car on our way to my apartment. I only lived 10 minutes away from the hospital so the ride was not to bad and my hand was still numb. As I start up the stairs to my front door, all I could think about was making a very quick sandwich since I hadn’t been able to eat, and go to sleep. But, mom had another plan. Not really sure it was a plan per se, but I wasn’t going to go to sleep anytime soon. While my mom was walking up the stairs behind me, she tripped on the stair and slid across my wooden deck as if she was sliding into home plate. But, she was not SAFE! She had in fact gotten the biggest splinter I had ever seen in my life to this day. I’m telling you the woman had a 2 x 4 in the palm of her hand. After letting out yet another shrill cry, she brushed herself off and went inside. Now I know this story makes me sound like an ass, but remember I was still partially sedated and not completely aware. I made myself a sandwich and went to bed. I woke up to my cell phone ringing and it was my ex-husband. He was supposed to have the kids that night because of my surgery and wanted to know where the boys were. I called out for my mom, Tyler, Jake and no one answered. I stumbled out of bed and searched around the apartment completely empty. I told my ex I would call him back and called my mom’s cell. I immediately asked her where she was and where my kids were. She told me not to worry the kids were with her and were fine. But mom where you? Oh she tells me, I’m in the emergency room getting my splinter/plank removed from my hand. I should be home soon. GREAT! You can’t make this shit up! This is my life.

So now were in a “who’s helping who” situation. Both of us with our left hands bandaged and in pain. Now I’m starting to think that at the beginning of the day when she made the odd shrill sound and was nervous…maybe this was why.

It wasn’t for at least a year later that I was diagnosed with Raynaud’s. And I think at that point, I had my first digital ulcer. Digital ulcers can be very small or rather large and will put the poor soul that ends up with them through months (even years) of hell, in the worst pain imaginable. I have had so many I can’t even keep track anymore. I take many medications to thin my blood and dilate my vessels in hopes of increasing circulation to my finger tips. I’m sure it helps but it’s not foolproof. I usually end up being admitted for about seven days of which 72 hours of it is spent on an infusion drug called Flolan. It is administered in the cardiac ICU because it drops the heart rate so dangerously low the patient must be monitored 24 hours a day. Some treatments go better than others. Some still haunt me. I’ll tell you about those when I finish my therapy for my post traumatic stress disorder. I don’t really have PTSD, or maybe I do, it was pretty bad.

So what is the moral of this blog? Never trust a first diagnosis without a second opinion before having surgery. And maybe my great-grandmother from Italy had something when she used to safety pin her keys to the inside of her bra. I bet she never locked herself out of her house or car! And lastly, if you need a ride to the hospital, you may want to exhaust other possibilities before calling my mom.

Love you mom!

By the way, if this is a super long blog… blame Doogy the dragon! It’s just too damn easy! I love my Dragon software!

Woohoo! My life is a blog!