The Left Hand – (7/2/10)

Left hand - no stitchesThis is my left hand. It’s been my left hand for some 60 years now, but for the last 10 years or so, it has been hurting. I know it’s not a long and skinny hand, but it works for me. My fingers can point out stuff just like any other fingers and my hand can smack you a good one if you’re in reach. But, it hurts day and night. Sometimes at night it hurts so bad that it wakes me up. Bad hand, bad hand! So, it’s time I did something about this bad hand.

On 17 June, I went to see the same orthopedic surgeon that worked on my right hand last year. I figured that since my right hand is working pain free he must have done a pretty good job, so I ought to give him a chance on my left hand. The only thing I wished he would have done different on my right hand is to leave a few more scars because right now it doesn’t look like I ever had surgery. I mean, how can I show someone my surgery scars and get some sympathy if there ain’t any! No scars; no sympathy! I thought maybe he could do better (worse) on my left hand. I don’t use it as much so a few good scars won’t be a big deal.

OK, I go in for an exam and he flops my hand around a few times and starts squeezing on parts of my palm and, dagnabit, that hurts! So, he says, “When do you want surgery on this hand?”

I really don’t want to have surgery again but I pretty much knew it was going to go that way. We agreed that I would go under the knife on 30 June. Pain and agony, here I come!

30 June rolls around fast. I mean it seemed like we were at the Doctors office doing the exam and the next thing I know two weeks have come and gone and my poor hand is going to get cut up today!

We had the pleasure of taking care of three of our Grandkids on Monday and Tuesday before my Wednesday surgery. I think that helped some cause when you put up with three little kids over two days AND two nights then you come out of that kind of numb. Grandparents aren’t used to that kind of terror but it really wasn’t too bad. We have some great Grandkids.

Still, I was looking to go to the outpatient surgery place for some peace and quiet. My Son took my Wife, myself and the three Grandkids to the surgery place and dropped my Wife and me off. Then he took the Grandkids far away.

I signed in at the reception desk and sat down until my name was called. I then signed some paperwork saying the Doctor could tell my family about the surgery, whether I wanted blood transfusions if needed and some other stuff. I then paid my $300 co-pay and sat back down. Now this is twice that I’ve paid to have my hand all cut up! I don’t know about you, but there seems to be a lot of other things I’d like to spend $300 on!

Now I’m waiting in the waiting room with my Wife. It’s not very long and someone calls my name. I sure don’t want to go in there cause this time I know what they’re going to do! But, like a brave soldier, I march into the pre-operating area and get to see my own gurney (hospital bed). It looks the same as last year; probably is the same one. They probably don’t want me bleeding on a new one.

I’m purposely dressed lightly, some gym shorts and a gym shirt, but the nurse tells me to strip down to everything but my undies and my socks. Um, they are only going to operate on my hand, right? They ain’t touching anything else, right? So why do I have to put on this stupid hospital gown that ain’t got a back? My nurse had been at work since 5:30 AM and it’s about 10:30 AM and she doesn’t look like answering questions, so I strip down and put the stupid gown on. I get on my gurney and cover up with a blanket that is about 90 degrees warm. The post-surgery room is surprisingly warm also. Since I at least got to keep my undies and socks on, I don’t need no dang warm blanket!

I gotta’ have two IVs goin’ during my surgery. My nurse says she’ll put the first one in my left hand except she can’t find a vein. After poking around for awhile, she switches to the right hand and stabs it a couple of times and finally draws blood. This starts some kind of clear liquid either going into me or out of me, I’m not sure which. Then she goes back to my left hand and starts stabbing it again. She finally finds a vein with blood and caps it off with a little stubby thing which I think they’ll use during the surgery.

Next comes my surgeon. He says, “We’re going to do the left hand today, right?”

I said, “Right!” and he says, “Oh, the right?” and I said, “No, I meant left!” and he says, “That’s what I said in the first place!”

Actually, we didn’t say any of that but we sure could have. Anyway, he takes out his purple marker and starts drawing X’s and stuff on my LEFT hand. I was thinking he was leaving instructions to the surgery team which kind of worried me since I couldn’t read any of it!

Next came the anesthesiologist! Wow! What a word. Wonder how often he gets called, “Hey, you!”?

He asks me the usual questions about allergies to stuff which I have none and if I’ve ever had a bad experience going under. I haven’t so everything is great with him. I make sure he knows I want to be completely knocked out. None of this local stuff. I don’t want to remember anything once the knives come out!

Lastly comes a male nurse who’s the operating room nurse. He’s the one that will give me my “cocktail” mix that will put me out and in no pain. I can’t wait. I guess he shoots something in my IV and says to say bye to my wife which I do, and then we head for surgery!

I remember looking at the surgery room doors and then I don’t remember nothing! Boy, what a nice “cocktail”! I do remember something being taken off of my hand in the surgery and they did ask me to move over to the gurney so I could be moved to post-op.

Left hand - wrappedI am now in recovery. This is my hand! Looks good, right! No, it’s the left hand. They got it right! I don’t really feel much pain. My fingers are stiff and swollen right after surgery but now that it’s been a few days, they are loosening up and not as swollen.

I can’t get my hand wet for three days so Saturday (tomorrow) I’m going to take the bandage off for the first time and wash my hand. Ooooh! Blood and guts! It’s going to be terrible. I just know it. I think he had to put in about 3,000 stitches! I hope my fingers stay attached. I’ll take a picture so everyone can see what Frankenstein’s hand looked like when he was first built.

So, you’re all caught up for now. I have a follow-up appointment on 8 July so we’ll see how much progress I’ve made by then. More later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *