DonAithnen (donaithnen) wrote,

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Surgery: Before, During and After (Except For the During Bit)

So the wednesday before last i went into work a little early, and then left very early, around 11:45, so i could get to the hospital for my surgery. I parked my car in the main garage and then walked around the hospital to the "surgery pavilion" in the back. I filled out a few more forms and then had 10-15 minutes to wait before they called me in.

They had me switch out of my clothes to the usual hospital gowns (though they gave me two of them to start so i could be double-layered for a short bit) and stuck my phone and keys in a bag to get transfered to security, and then took me to my gurney. Then they took away my second hospital gown but put warm blankets on me.

I then had to answer a number of questions from a number of people, and one question multiple times, Which wrist is the surgery on and has it been marked? Actually shortly after putting me in the gurney one of the people put in the IV (eek!) and of course that had to go in the left wrist, because they obviously can't do surgery on a wrist with an IV in it. So from that point on i was really pretty safe.

I talked to the doctor briefly, who told me that he'd give me a call in the next day or two to let me know how the surgery went, since i probably wouldn't remember anything he told me afterward. (SPOILER: he forgot! I had to call him up later and remind him!)

The anesthesiologist came over and told me about what he was going to do. I believe he started to go through a list of what might go wrong and i cut him off (in a friendly way) with something like "yeah, yeah, and worst case scenario i die."

Someone shaved all the hair off my wrist, except they didn't shave, they clipped. (The pre-op instructions made a big deal about how if you saw anyone with a razor you were supposed to stop them and ask to talk to the doctor, because actual shaving increases the risk of infection.)

The anesthesiologist told me he was going to give me a little something to relax, "it'll be like having a couple of beers" he said. They started rolling the gurney along to wherever the surgery was going to take place and... that's the last thing i remember.

I'm not sure if the anesthesiologist was lying, or if whatever he gave me after the "little something to relax me" had some retrograde amnesia effect.

When i woke up i was _very_ confused and loopy for 10-15 seconds before really coming to, but rapidly recovered mentally after that. (Or at least that's how it felt to me.) My wrist really hurt. Surprise! =P Also, my legs were rather sore. Huh?? It felt like i'd had serious cramps in both of them. The nurse asked me if it hurt and when i said yes gave me half a dose of morphine (or something like that) and then gave Avalyn a call to let her know that i would be ready soon. It turned out that she was a little early and was already at the hospital. We waited a bit more and when my arm was still hurting the nurse gave me "a little more" morphine. Not sure if that was another half dose or a quarter dose or what. At some point he also called security to get my stuff delivered back to me, which happened rather quickly.

The nurse decided i was about ready to go and helped me change into my street clothes, but then i suddenly started feeling rather cold and shivering a lot, so he went and got some warm blankets to put on top of me. I had no idea what was up with the shivering, but i did appreciate the warm blankets. Shortly after that Avalyn made it through the layers of hospital bureaucracy and got to come sit with me a bit.

After the nurse decided i was recovered from the shivering Avalyn went ahead to go get her car while the nurse wheeled me out in a wheelchair. The nurse helped me into the car and then we were on our way home. I felt slightly nauseous during the trip but it went away about as soon as we arrived. The trip seemed to go really quickly, not sure if that was because i fell asleep for a bit or just had a skewed perspective from the morphine.

I went and lay down in bed and Avalyn went to Del Taco to get some dinner. I wasn't sure if i'd be hungry or not but asked her to get me a couple soft tacos just in case. When she came back she also had a bacon ranch taco for me because Del Taco was doing some kind of deal. I decided i was feeling well enough to come out to the living room with her and pretty quickly decided i was feeling well enough to eat. So we ate food and watched an episode of Star Wars Lego and a couple episodes of Futurama, and the beginning of an episode of the new Teen Titans cartoon before i turned it off in disgust. I think we turned on Castle briefly but it was about time for bed at that point.

In the morning Avalyn dropped me off at work, which was conveniently on the way to where she works. Since she was driving i was able to take two Norco in the morning before we left. I felt fine for awhile but started nodding-off mid morning and ended up walking to the AM/PM to get a can of Monster. Combining Norco seems to make me a little loopy. I'm not sure if it's just regular caffeine high since it's been awhile since i've drunk much Monster, or if it's more of a tipsy type feeling. In any case in the afternoon instead of taking more Norco i switch to extra-heavy dose of Ibuprofen so i'd be able to drive home safely. (The 800 mg amount the urgent care originally told me to take for my "sprained" wrist. I'm hoping if i only do that once a day, and not even every day, that it'll be okay.)

After work i walked to the hospital (about 1.2 miles) and got my car and drove myself home.

So on thursday i went back to the orthopedist to get the bandage removed and my hand looked at. They also took some x-rays before doing the bandage removal to make sure everything looked fine. The x-rays looked rather interesting.

The nurse carefully cut the bandage off and i got my first look at my arm... which is so uuuugly =P Which was to be expected. Then the doctor came and took a look and it and said everything looked fine. He showed me some more x-rays that i guess were taken during the procedure and prescribed some simple hand exercises, basically just opening and closing my hand. They also got me a new brace, which is black and fancier than the old brace, but costs four to five times as much. ($95 vs $20 or $25.) Luckily the insurance is theoretically paying for it.

The hand exercises are _mostly_ pretty easy, except for the thumb. The thumb hurts a fair bit when i move it more than a little bit, presumably because it was most closely connected to the broken bone and the surgery site. I also noticed the next day that the palm of my hand, specifically the heel, feels kind of strange. It's a little numb, but not in the "can't feel it" way, but in the "feels weird when something touches it" way. The arm and hand are still somewhat swollen, so i'm not sure if that's something i should be worried about yet.

When the doctor first asked to try opening and closing my hand my fingers were mostly fine, but my thumb moved only a little, and it definitely hurt, (which makes sense i guess, since it's closet to both the injury and thus the surgery location,) and he said we'd have to work on that. So i guess i'm supposed to keep exercising it even though it hurts, but i'm not sure if there's some upper threshold of pain at which i should stop trying to move it. It's also "interesting" that for about half the directions i have trouble moving it, i can shove it into position with my other hand without any discomfort. It's only trying to move it under its own power that hurts.

Of course my wrist has even less mobility, but he didn't assign any wrist exercise, it would be kinda counter-productive to the instructions to wear a brace all the time except for when doing the finger exercises and showering. It seems like wrist mobility _ought_ to be easier to get back later than thumb mobility, but for the moment at least my wrist is a lot more immobile than my thumb and the wrist is where the actual damage was, so i'm not sure which i should be worried about more.

At this point my fingers and wrist are still slightly swollen. The palm of my hand looks somewhat deflated though. I guess i lost a lot of muscle mass there? =/ Between the swelling and the still mostly shaved hair my wrist looks rather odd, even from the top. And as someone who doesn't usually shave anything other than his face, i have to say it's really weird the difference in feeling between blowing on my upper forearm where the hair still is and blowing on the wrist which is practically bare. It's almost like i can't feel the air movement at all there.
Tags: injuries, medical

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