I’m back… well sort of! I still have some restrictions but I can type again (until my thumb starts to ache!)
Three weeks ago, I underwent CMC Arthroplasty. Basically the doctor “harvests” a tendon from my mid arm to use as cushioning in my “CMC” thumb joint (after taking out arthritic bone). While I have arthritis in both thumbs (and fingers), the arthritis in my right thumb was getting worse with the worry that it might damage the joint next to it… Hence surgery to take out the damaged bone in that joint.
My pre-op appointment and resulting surgery gave me less than a week to prepare. I knew I would be without my dominant hand for an indeterminate amount of time… I tried really hard to get “everything” I could do done ahead of the surgery. And in light of previous surgeries (spine), the pain was nothing! To think I had my pain med script written and filled ahead of time… I really didn’t need to be so worried. Ice was my friend for several days!
Not to say this was an “easy” surgery (is there even such a thing?) I couldn’t get my hand through my winter coat which was alarming as we did have a “blizzard” four days post-op. My concern was for my animals that I couldn’t go out and check on until after the blizzard stopped. Fortunately, we didn’t lose power; I do have supplemental heat in both barn stalls. Plus, everyone was “blanketed” in preparation for the blizzard. While my donkeys may not have needed the added protection, my goal has always been they do more than just survive increment weather/conditions… I want them to thrive!
The other unfortunate thing was that as the padding under the spica splint shifted, I had pulling on the sutures. While the doctor charted “I” removed that splint several times against his orders, I never removed it; my husband did! I was recasted several times in that first ten-day period before the sutures were removed. Padding was changed to a waterproof, non-shifting material that upon seeing what hubby used, my surgeon has since decided to use himself for his future patients. But… I don’t like how he wrote that “I” did something against “medical advice”!
Once the sutures were removed, the referring doctor gave me a temporary splint to wear until I could be seen my the occupational therapist that would custom make a brace for me to wear. That temporary brace was about two sizes too small; I was very happy to finally get in to see the therapist three days later!
Rehab exercises were prescribed along with the new brace but by this time, I was not so trusting of what kind of brace would be made? Amazon Prime to the rescue! My Amazon brace does exactly the same thing as the “custom” brace does and is significantly more comfortable to wear but is NOT what was prescribed by the referring doctor. The occupational therapist poo’d-poo’d my Amazon brace without even looking at it. Yeah, I guess I AM a “bad patient”, well maybe?
Thanks to hubby who did go with me when the sutures were removed; he asked the doc about the exercises I would need to do. Reluctantly, the surgeon agreed with hubby that I SHOULD do the exercises hubby suggested to prevent stiffness from lack of use although he suggested I “wait” for the protocol the occupational therapist would discuss with me (that the doctor had written and has patients do). Coming into my first therapy session, I was already “ahead in the game” regarding exercises and rehab. I would think that would be the point and ultimate goal… getting each patient back to full function as soon as possible? Maybe I’m mistaken??
More exercises prescribed that were achieved over the weekend. Monday’s appointment brought nothing new regarding therapy and Wednesday I was told we could decrease my therapy sessions. Measurements taken on Wednesday shows I am back to the same flexibility I had prior to surgery. Well, YEAH! I still have some swelling to deal with. And need to continue the exercises. I was cautioned to limit my “pinching” but I’m not going to need anyone to cut my food for me any longer. The things you use your thumb for are for everything! Losing the use of your thumb, especially on the dominant hand, is a life changing event!
I’m disappointed with the scars I will have from this surgery. Not because I am so vain about the scarring but because they will be a constant reminder that I needed this surgery at all. No matter what I do to “fix” my arthritis, it is always with me; I’m just waiting for another joint to fail resulting in more surgeries to “fix” (if that is even possible?) NOT a good way to look forward. Still, I am able to take photos again… there is color in my world again and really… without color, the world is a rather drab place to live!