05 November 2010

Broken, Fractured...and Dislocated - Part VII

Surgery was on Tuesday, 12 October.  That night I had no sleep because the pain kept me up.  Wednesday night was no different.  Daytime was not that fun, either.  Thursday morning, 14 October, at about 4AM, I woke up in indescribable pain.  Different than the fire pain, but same level of pain.  There was the pain of bones, muscle, and tendons...in addition to that, there was a swelling pain.  No, not a swell pain...a swelling pain.  I am talking over inflation of an inner tube, about to burst, kinda pain.  You know those little wrinkles and creases on the back for your hand and fingers?  Go ahead, take a look...yeah, those.  Well, my hand was so swollen, that those creases and wrinkles were not there.  That was the good part.

My fingers were going numb.  It started the night before with my thumb and index finger going numb.  I figured it was because of the surgery.  Actually, there is a nerve that runs down the thumb and across where my break was.  So, by that morning, the numbness had migrated to include my middle finger and starting to get to my ring finger.  Yeah, not good.

Wife called the 24 hour hotline.  The on-call doctor (Dr. Johnson, I think) suggested we unwrap and loosen the bandages.  I only got to the first layer of wrap when I realized there was a semi-cast, to protect the incision area, preventing further removal of wrapping.  We eventually got through to Dr.Shin and he suggested that we go in as soon as possible.  I like that idea.

Went to the office...in Beverly Hills...Dr. Shin removed the rest of the bandages.  Immediately, it felt a lot better.  Okay, let me go off on a tangent here.  That Beverly Hills office was awesome, it looked like a showroom.  There was valet parking (free for patients), marble flooring, washroom was really nice.  Heck, even the receptionist behind the counter had a Louis Vuitton purse.  Other than the staff that was dressed in scrubs, it did not look like a doctor's office.

So, bandages were off.  For the first time, I got to see where the incision was made.  This was the plan; remove the bandages and see if swelling goes down and feeling comes back in to fingers, if not Dr. Shin and his crew are ready to perform a carpal tunnel release...in other words, surgery number two.  I sat there in his office...well, more like captain's ready room...while he went on with his business.  He had six surgeries that morning, and he would check on me before and after each one.  Apparently carpal tunnel surgery is 'fast and easy, only 5-10 minutes'.

We waited a few hours to see if there was any improvement.  Also, since I ate a little that morning, I had to wait for the food (four crackers and a cheese stick) to digest before the surgery.  Apparently, one can vomit during an operation and the barf can come up, then down the wrong tube...like Jimi Hendricks.  So, I had to wait anyways...and gave us a chance to observe any progress.  Well, there was no progress.  I was going for surgery number two.  Keep in mind that I was in pain the whole time while waiting for my situation to improve.

Around 11:30, one of the nurses began to prep me for surgery.  He saw that I was in pain and hooked me up with some painkillers.  I had the usually tubes and wires hooked up to me...and I got heated blankets.  Man, I love those heated blankets.  Oh, since this was Beverly Hills, their hospital gowns were fancier than your typical gowns.  Hair net and booties were the same.  The painkillers relaxed me and I think I may have even dozed off for a few minutes.

Go time!  They wheel me in to the operating room.  Again, the room was very cold.  My teeth were chattering, pretty sure my nipples were hard and/or my penis shrunk...but you did not need to know that.  Too late, you already read it.  Ha!   The operating table was set up the same way, I would lay there with arms spread out.  They took a little longer to hook me up to the sedation juice so I had a chance to see some of their preparation.  I was given weird blanket.  I can only describe it as a row of parallel tubes, but fabric.  The tubes ran length wise, and was pumped with warm air.  Yep, another heated blanket.  These Beverly Hills guys spare no expenses.  At around 12:30, I was out.

Dr. Shin later explained what he did in the second surgery.  An incision was made at the base of my palm to do a carpal tunnel release.  This releases the pressure that was causing the nerve to be pinched.  He also had to re-open the first incision to clear out some blood clots, as the bone was bleeding.  That bleeding along with the 'regular' swelling caused my hand to balloon and have unwanted pressure on the nerve.  So, it was a good thing that we caught it early...and a good thing that he went in and 'cleaned up'.

I woke up in much the same way as the first surgery...meaning, I had to go pee really bad.  For some reason, I did not get any snacks this time.  Maybe because I was not scheduled to be there that day.  I was hoping that since it was Beverly Hills, I would get champagne wishes and caviar dreams.  Leaving the doctor's office and back home I go for some much needed rest.


Go to Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V - Part VI - Part VIII

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