31 May 2006

the wrist saga


Okay, I finally, instead of packing (okay, I almost finished packing, now I'm taking a break) am going to record the saga of the hand problems for posterity.

Step One: a store-bought black wrist brace that I accidently left at my parents' house and of which I have no photo but which elicited many a comment in Tanzania and set off the metal detector every time I went into the big important office buildings.

Step Two: massively long braces for sleeping in. Supposed to help the golf elbow. And they did. But pain (which turned out to be the ligaments) continued. Notice that they go above my elbow. They make it impossible to pull up the covers or scratch your nose. Also keep in mind that I was wearing TWO of them, one on each arm. Then think about the logistics of getting them on without being able to move your elbows. Ha.

Step Three: short braces to support the wrists while typing and carrying things. These are the classic carpal tunnel syndrome braces with which oh-so-many of my law school classmates are intimately familiar.

Step Four: wrist surgery. Wrist surgery is not all that bad. I was really tired for about a week, but the pain was really more of a dull ache. I could have gotten by without any pain killers if I wasn't worried about swelling and if my other hand hadn't had to do all the work and therefore gotten painful. (Other hand being whichever one had not just had surgery that week.) Since it was just an arthroscopy and they just went in with little cameras and tools into three button-hole-like holes rather than slicing my wrist open, I had only a bandage, not a cast. Ignore the glare of the flash, if you will.

Step Five: little bandages. After my first surgery, when they removed the bandage, I just had the sterile tape with purple "where to cut" markings that took over a week to come off, however I scrubbed them. The steri-strips fell off after a few days.

After my second surgery, when the doctor removed the bandage, I had a huge mess of sterile tape so he ripped it all off (with all my arm hair - ow ow ow!) and wrapped it in a little bit of gauze and sticky fake-white-people skin color stuff.

Step Six: I still wear the wrist braces when my wrists get tired or I'm packing or moving or carrying things, but I'm supposed to wear them as little as possible. My wrists get a little bit stronger every day and apparently my body does a good job with scars because they are healing up right nicely.

My left hand is nine days out from surgery (one day after getting the bandage off):

My right hand is five weeks and two days out from surgery (four weeks after getting the bandage off) - it's almost back to normal except I sunburned the scars in the last few days. Oops.

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