Okay let’s try this again now that I can type a bit better (Although it feels really weird. Good thing I don’t type for a living or anything. Oh wait…)
So my surgery was early Monday morning. My parents and I left the house at 4:45 and ended up getting to the hospital half an hour early. We drove through Times Square to get to the Hospital for Special Surgery and it was weird to see it so brightly lit but empty. Because we were early, we had some time in the waiting room before the hand and foot center opened and I could sign in to be admitted for surgery. Luckily I had the super exciting labor of Princess Kate to keep me entertained.
When they finally allowed me to sign in for my surgery I filled out some more paperwork and signed my life away, literally. Then they brought me to another room which made me a little anxious because I was splitting with my parents and it took a while before they let them rejoin me. I peed in a cup which I assume was a pregnancy test, but I never got the results and they showed me to a bed and gave me a super stylish hospital gown to wear which had a hook up through which you could pump warm air.
After several confirmations that I was having surgery on
my fourth hand of my left finger my fourth finger of my left hand, they got me ready for an IV on my right hand. Whenever I give blood I only have one vein in my left arm that the phlebotomists have any luck with so it took a while and a lot of hitting of the back of my right hand to get the vein awake enough to attach the IV. At this point I started feeling pretty lousy, just a weird headache and stomachache, but I watched some Bend It Like Beckham until my parents came in.
Someone came to clean my arm, and the anesthesiologist came to talk with me. He told me I would have local anesthesia and a block that would leave my arm numb for about four hours after surgery. I had the option to stay awake during the procedure which I politely declined. Dr. R came to see me next and signed my left arm and then it was time to walk to the operating room!
The room was a lot bigger than I expected and my x-rays were on the wall. They let me lay down and adjusted the pillows so I would be comfortable. The anesthesiologist asked me where I was from and the next thing I remember was waking up and not being able to feel my arm. It was wrapped up in gauze and an ace bandage and if I moved my shoulder it would flop about which was a bit disturbing since I have a fear of Alien Hand Syndrome. I no longer had a headache or stomachache but really wanted to get up and use the bathroom. This request was denied and I was instead brought a poor substitute, a bedpan. When I was finally permitted to stand up I discovered the top of my gown had been cut open, leaving me a bit exposed.
The nurse brought me some graham crackers, but my request for marshmallows and chocolate bars in order to make a s’more was also denied. I guess I was a bit loopy still! My parents came in on 15 minute intervals. My dad and I experimented with holding my breath to see if it would affect the machines to no avail. At this point I started to feel my pointer finger which was quite a surprise because my block was supposed to last longer. The nurses gave me a Percocet and a little later someone helped me get dressed. Then they moved me into a chair to prepare to leave.
On the drive home, my block started to wear off even more. I decided to go with my dad to Walgreens so I could get another painkiller right away, but Walgreens did not cooperate. Apparently, a national drug store cannot fill a prescription for 100 Percocet without a week’s notice. Because they only had 34 and were not getting more til next week, I was forced to go to another drug store before getting a little relief. The trip to the first Walgreens was not a complete waste. I met a woman that claimed to have the “exact same surgery” as mine and told me that 4 Advils= 1 Percocet. I was so excited to start a local support group until I found out her surgery was removing her head from her ass.
I went home and took some pain medication.
I woke up early after taking pain medicine every four hours throughout the night. Asides from the fact that I had a dentist appointment that morning, I felt okay. Thanks Mom for scheduling a dentist appointment the day after surgery! At least I didn’t need any extra novocaine.
My mom and I managed to get a walk outside and a trip to Costco in the afternoon. Getting ready for dinner I took a turn for the worse and felt nauseous for the rest of the night. The pain in my hand started to come back, but I couldn’t take more painkillers, because I couldn’t keep anything down. Finally I went to bed sans medication.
I had my appointment in the city to get my bandages removed and to learn how to clean the pins. We first met with the physician’s assistant who started to tell me that I would need to continue to keep my arm in a sling, shouldn’t drive or go back to work, which was not what I was expecting to hear. Dr. R came in later and reassured me that I could go back to work when I felt up to it and drive if I needed. After pin care instructions and a review of what 45 degrees looks like (the angle I need to turn the fixator four times a day) we scheduled my next follow up appointment for August 8th. My mom and I waited in the room for half an hour under the assumption that the physician assistant was coming back with another ace bandage until Dr. R saw us and was confused why we hadn’t left yet.
Even though I didn’t need to wear the sling anymore I kept it on in the city, because all the people made me a bit nervous.
Days 4 & 5
Spent the last few days trying to get used to the fixator and run a few errands to get things I need in St. Louis. I looked for some looser fitting sweaters since it’s difficult to pull sleeves over that hand and my office is always freezing. Tomorrow I start lengthening and I fly back early Sunday morning. I’m a bit nervous about going back to St. Louis, but my aunt and uncle happen to be in town so they will be picking me up at the airport and it’s only a week and a half before I’m back here for another appointment. By then my finger should be 6 mm longer!
Special thanks to my sister for helping me type some of this up.