Friday, February 20, 2009

Surgery... Again!

I had more surgery on Tuesday, March 17, 2009. My surgeon, Dr. Kuntz, not only performed CT surgery, which was secondary, but major degenerative arthritis hand and wrist surgery that was greatly needed due to chronic pain.

I had a rough night prior to surgery. I fell asleep okay, but I awoke around 10:30 p.m. with a sharp pain in my stomach. At first I thought that either my IBS or diverticulitis was bothering me. Not uncommon to do so while I'm under stress. I had some slight symptoms of both, but nothing severe.

I needed to be up and moving by 5:00 a.m. because my appointment at the Lancaster Surgical Center was set at 6:05 a.m. with surgery at 7:30 a.m. I was awfully tired and feeling extremely uneasy when I did get up.

We got to the surgical center around 6:00 a.m. and I just wasn't ready to go into the building. I told my wife that I needed to get a hold of myself before passing through those sliding front doors. I felt extremely nauseated after the drive and went off to the side of the entrance. I proceeded to vomit... not a lot, just enough to make me feel a bit better and get through the ordeal.

In the surgical center, I spoke with the registrar and filled in the necessary forms. We informed her that I had taken ill outside so that a staff member could help. Julie took it upon herself to get some water and do the job herself. That made me feel better knowing that others who were now arriving didn't have to see that as they entered. Thank you, Julie!

When the nurse took me into the pre-op area, she weighed me and instructed me on how I needed to dress... Socks and boxers remained on. I had a gown to wear, head net, and little booties to go over my socks.

I explained to her that I was feeling unsettled and that it may be my nerves acting up. I didn't have a fever, but my pulse was extremely high and my blood sugars (I'm an onset diabetic) had risen to 212 (100 is normal).

She gently put my I.V. in my left hand and began to hydrate me. She felt it may help and she was right. When the anesthesiologist arrived, my attending nurse filled him in on what had taken place that morning. I had no fever and appeared otherwise fine. So, he was willing to give it a go and ordered a great relaxant for me to be administered through my I.V. The nurse gave it to me before the anesthesiologist returned to give me three injections for a nerve block to my right hand and wrist. This stuff was great! Julie said I was talking to the doc as he administered the nerve block, but I can't even remember.

The only thing I remember was being wheeled to the OR and helping them by lifting myself over and onto the operating table. After that, I was gone for the next three hours! A much needed rest for a nervous wreck!

The surgeon began by correcting the CT Syndrome in my right wrist. That was the easy part. He then used an arthroscope to see what was happening inside my hand and wrist.

He told me that it was pretty bad! A lot worst than what he had expected from viewing the x-rays and MRI. He removed two very large bone spurs on the back of my right hand that were 'bossing'. Bossing occurs when the cartilage has deteriorated b/w the carpal bones. The abandoned space begins to be filled in by the spurs. This episode of bossing began over a year ago and spread from the middle of my hand to the base of my thumb.

He had considered fusing these damaged carpal bones, but felt that it would serve no purpose to do so.

He next worked on my wrist. This is where I had the most pain over the past year. I had three cortisone shots in my hand and wrist in an attempt to stop the pain. All three failed. He had an MRI done back in early January, 2009. This gave a false impression that the wrist had very little wrong with it. Contrary to what the MRI showed, when Dr. Kuntz viewed the wrist through the arthroscope, it was in a lot worse shape than expected. He used a slang term of 'crab meat' to describe the condition of inflammation and damage.

He did the best he could in removing and smoothing the wrist. Only time will tell if he was successful in helping alleviating the severe pain I was having. His next procedure would be wrist fusion which would greatly limit my use of the wrist.

As you know by my past blog entries that I thoroughly love bass fishing. Of course I am right handed and hold my fishing rod and reel with the hand I just had surgery on. Oh, well, I guess I will adapt when the need arises so I can continue to enjoy what I love to do. This seems to be my mode of operation (MO) over the past decade anyway when it comes to any physical activity.

Here's a pic of what my hand looks like:


On March 2, 2209, I will have this huge wrapping removed and the sutures taken out. Then for the next several weeks, I'll be wearing a light streamlined fiberglass cast to immobilize my right wrist. Once the cast is removed, OT will take place for another few weeks. I have a long road ahead of me as we approach springtime.