Recovery Week #3: April 17-24, 2013

Week Three:  April 17-24, 2013

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”  (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

I guess the theme for this week would be unhappiness and frustration.  When will my hand stop hurting?  3 months from now, 6 months, never?  It was so disappointing to feel my whole hand stiffen up in a claw shortly after finishing a set of exercises.  Will this ever go away or will I be dealing with this forever?  Yes, I know… have faith, be patient, healing takes time.  I know, really I do.

I decided to quit the Tylenol/Codeine cold turkey, which was probably not the best idea.   The regular Tylenol didn’t do squat for the pain and nasty withdrawal symptoms, which included GI issues, headaches, shakes, being cold all the time, and generally feeling like I was run over by a bus, lasted for almost 4 days. The bonus was that I could drive and mental fog has cleared!  The downside was that my baseline pain rate was higher. Driving with the splint on proved to be exhausting.  Why should this have been such a problem with short little trips like to preschool and the library?  It was marvelous to regain some freedom to go where I want, although it took twice as long to get ready.

My younger daughter and I walked the mile long trail at the park, which was great to be outside in the sunshine.  I drove myself to to acupuncture.  I discovered that I can’t get the produce in the plastic bags very easily at the grocery store.  Good thing I had a little helper.   I went to my older daughter’s 3rd grade concert and had a near panic attack while seated in the bleachers in the gym.  It was one of those weird Ohio spring days, almost 80 degrees.  The music teacher part of me was thrilled to see the bleachers packed.  The mom in me with the wounded wing was panicked because there were so many people packed in like sardines and I was afraid somebody would whack my hand.   At least everybody else was sweating too, so I didn’t stand out.

There was some dissent showing up in the ranks here at home.  I still couldn’t do much in kitchen because I couldn’t grasp anything heavier than a kid’s t-shirt or dish towel.  I certainly couldn’t hold onto soapy wet dishes or food to cut with a knife.

As far as the actual exercises went, I did see improvement in range of motion!  It was nice to not have the burning sensation of the sutures pulling on the new skin.  The scar massage was definitely not fun, but tolerable and necessary.  I typically have sensitive skin and had trouble with multiple different kinds of lotion and cocoa butter on my scar.  Now I suspect that I was outside without sunscreen and my new baby skin fried in the sun.  Needless to say, ice was my friend.

April 24, 2013 was my appointment for OT#4.  This time, I was with a different therapist, actually the same one who took my cast off.  I thought the appointment was for 30 minutes, and I ended up in there for 90 minutes.  Wow….. was this appointment frustrating and painful.  No more easy stuff, now I have to really work.  My numbers were all better for range of motion.  My exercises are working for full range of motion and also using my left hand to do things like shuffle cards and squish paper.  More about that in my next post.

Key things I learned during this stage of my journey:

1)  This too shall pass.  Sometimes you just have to put your head down and just get it done.

2)  It could be worse….

3)  Hand surgeons are amazing.  There are so many small structures packed into a little space.  It’s amazing that a surgeon can go in there and fix some parts without messing up 5 other things in the process.

4)  The amount of energy the human body spends trying to heal itself is no joke.  I have a new empathy for those in chronic pain for whatever reason.

5) It’s ok to be embarrassed, frustrated and angry that you can’t pick a penny off the table.    YET!

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