Category Archives: medical

Brace Yourself!

This is what my left hand looked like in the doctor’s office.

This is what my left hand looked like in the doctor’s office.

Oh, happy day! My Ace bandage wrap, which included a partial cast and enough gauze to make me think that someone had stock in the company, is just a memory now. It came off with a little pulling and tugging Wednesday, leaving me with a very stiff left wrist, a swollen thumb, stitches, and the purple pen marks that Dr. Hildreth had used as a self-guide. Picasso he ain’t.

Believe me, you will thank me for not subjecting you to the close-up photo of my thumb-joint stitches after the tape was removed; they really look gross. Hildreth easily pulled out the carpal tunnel stitches and told me that I’ll be gently scrubbing the others away. Plus I have several easy exercises to do twice a day, as well as run warm water over the area to loosen it up.

Black is slimming, right?

Black is slimming, right?

My new constant companion is this Bledsoe brace, which I have to wear almost 24/7 (except for showers) for the next four weeks while my thumb-joint fusion continues to heal (I still have intermittent pain, unfortunately). Two weeks after that, I’ll see Hildreth and, hopefully, I’ll be released to wait until my grip fully returns (in an expected six months to a year).

Of course, the best news for me was that I’m cleared to return to walking and jogging. Oh, how I’ve missed my somewhat daily constitutional! Naturally, the combination of the supposedly breathable material with Houston’s infamous heat and humidity probably will make for one smelly brace.

Friends, you might want to keep your distance!

The Aftermath

Wonder how nice and neat this will look in 10 days.

Wonder how nice and neat this will look in 10 days.

As much as I realize that I don’t deserve a pity party, I can’t help but sit here typing with my pathetic party hat perched on top of my head.

Several days after surgery to fuse my arthritic left thumb joint and fix my mild carpal tunnel syndrome, I’m still in pain. My left hand and fingers are swollen (I’m waiting for my doctor’s nurse to get back to me to see if something needs to be done), and the part of my palm that I can see is turning purple. I’m hoping I won’t become Barney the dinosaur-esque any time soon.

Plus it’s really a drag to be one-armed when I usually use my left hand a lot. Yes, I know plenty of people have it so much worse, but that really doesn’t help matters right now. Pity parties don’t invite pragmatism.

Worst of all? I can’t exercise until I see Dr. Hildreth on May 28, because he says sweating can lead to infection. I long for the chance to clear my head and fast walk around the neighborhood, even for a mere mile. I am not a happy camper!

All of this has me counting down the days until I get this bulky wrap off and move to a removable brace, hopefully in 10 days. I can’t wait for May 28!

From Ouch to Ahhhh! (Hopefully!!)

Yeah, it hurt!

Yeah, it hurt!

Remember when I got that cortisone shot for my aching left thumb joint back in December of 2012?

The pain from the osteoarthritis returned after several months, unfortunately. It’s been hurting more and more since then, and I’m tired of dealing with the pain. So this morning Dr. Hildreth is performing a thumb-joint fusion (which actually sounds cooler than it is) while also fixing my mild carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cheesy, I know.

Cheesy, I know.

I hope everything will be a-okay. Please send along healing vibes!!

Random Updates

The kid rocks the shower cap!

The kid rocked the shower cap!

Here are several updates about things I’ve mentioned or photos that have been in recent posts:

First, my younger son’s outpatient surgery last Friday was successful. Plus it was the less serious of two possibilities. He has to limit his activity for a week or two, but he should be fine in time for college move-in on August 24.

Remember this tampered sign?

Remember this tampered sign?

The road sign leading into my master-planned community that made us giggle every time we saw it finally has been replaced. We thought it might become a landmark.



Now it’s just plain boring.

Keep away!

Keep away!

When I wrote that punny post about the disc golf birdies and the bees, I wondered why the buzzers were so attracted to this spot.

Honey anyone?

Honey anyone?

We found out the next time the Southwest Handicap Mini stopped at the Aquatic Center course. Someone had taken the lid off, exposing what the bees had been building. Intriguing yet still nothing I want to get close to.

The restroom choices at the restaurant. Yes, I had to think about which door to choose.

The restroom choices at the restaurant. Yes, I had to think about which door to choose.

Finally, Team Beowulf went down in flames at the Houston Trivia city finals at Little Woodrow’s last Saturday. The four of us plus Josh put up a valiant effort, but we didn’t advance to state. It didn’t help that not only did we have the youngest team members by far, but I fell ill during the first half and missed three questions when I was in the restroom where I was trying to keep from fainting twice (I think the culprit was dehydration after my morning run).

It’s all for the best, though, because now we can move the kid into his dorm a day earlier, which works better for his roommate’s family. Here’s hoping he’s able to lift boxes by then!

Am Worlds Ups and Downs and Ups

The trip starts: Marcus, Eric, the Mister, the kid, and Steve

The trip starts at our house: Marcus, Eric, the Mister, the kid, and Steve

Oh, how I had hoped that I would have a wonderful report to post about my younger son’s fifth Amateur Disc Golf World Championships experience!

Good thing the Mister drives a minivan!

Good thing the Mister drives a minivan!

When the Mister, who was my ace iPhone 5 photographer for the venture (and did his best job ever, I’m pleased to report), the kid, and our three buddies (Eric, Marcus, and Steve) left our driveway on Friday, July 5, I was cautiously optimistic that the kid would enjoy a great adventure.

The kid threw 489 feet and tied for third in the long-distance event.

The kid threw 489 feet and tied for third in his division in the long-distance field event. (Photo by the PDGA)

Cautious, because his right shoulder had been bothering him for several weeks, but only when he played disc golf. So we tried a chiropractic solution, which left him feeling better and ready to go.

The guys first stopped in Dallas to play a couple courses and stayed overnight in Oklahoma. The next day they arrived in Emporia, Kansas, site of the tournament. As they were practicing on courses and competing in the field events, my son continued to complain about his shoulder. I was able to find a masseuse, who gently worked on him on July 8, the day before play began.

A highlight of the trip was getting to see our dear, former neighbors.

A highlight of the trip was getting to see our dear, former neighbors.

The next day it was time to test his shoulder. He played a splendid opening round, winning his card. But he texted me that his arm felt tight. Sure enough, during his second round that afternoon, he was in pain. So much so, that he pulled out after eight holes, fearing that he might damage his shoulder.

And that, my friends, was the abrupt end of his Am Worlds journey. I felt so much sadness for my precious baby boy, who has been through so much the last couple years. And, of course, it made it that much worse that I wasn’t with him to comfort him.

The kid carries Eric's big bag.

My bushy-bearded boy carries Eric’s big bag.

Unfortunately, my guys couldn’t just head for home, because they were responsible for the players who drove with them. But misfortune turned into a lucky break for Eric. The kid decided to caddy for his co-adult bestie (along with Glen), whose game he knows so well. He was literally able to take a load off Eric’s back, as well as try to keep him loose and give him sage advice.

Naturally, they made a great pair (after all, they won the 2011 Amateur Worlds Doubles Championship). Eric turned in a stellar performance in the masters division (ages 40-49), having the kid on his bag for a couple rounds. He finished in fourth place after the six rounds of regulation play, easily qualifying for the semifinals.

The kid and Eric are ready for the finals.

The kid and Eric are ready for the finals.

Then Eric moved up a place after the semis last Saturday and headed to his first Am Worlds finals a few hours later. He managed to put so much pressure on the leader, Keith Walker, during the nine holes that Walker had to can an amazing, long, birdie putt to beat Eric. The fearless leader of our Southwest Handicap Mini series did, though, win the card while placing second. Not too shabby!

All in all, it was a good week for the other guys, as Marcus tied for eighth place in the grandmasters division, while Steve tied for tenth in masters. As for my son, I’m sure there was some kind of lesson to be learned from his disappointing experience, if only that he can turn those lemons into helpful lemonade.

My two guys! (Photo by JJ)

My two guys! (Photo by JJ)

Plus he got to spend a week with his buds and his Pops in beautiful Emporia. Hey, it was better than working in the hot warehouse!

Sidebar: Except where noted and the first two photos by yours truly, the other pics are by the Mister.

Proper Priorities

Just a small reminder on my left knee of my clumsiness (iPhone 5)

Just a small reminder of my clumsiness on my left knee (iPhone 5)

The other day as I was trying to negotiate a curb outside Bullritos, I tripped and fell on my left side. I’m sure I looked like the picture of grace, as I thudded to the pavement (yeah, right).

For those of you in Houston who wondered why the earth shook at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, yep, that was me.

Naturally, the first thing I did after getting up was to do a quick inventory . . . of what was in the purse I landed on. iPhone 5? Okay. Nikon 1 V1 kit? Fine. Kindle? Not a scratch.

What a relief!

• • •

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!


They look harmless, but they’re not.

It looks harmless, but it’s not.

Almost 11 years ago, I had my right thumb joint fused, with carpal-tunnel surgery thrown in for good measure. Suffering from osteoarthritis, I endured the pain as long as I could until I finally succumbed to surgery, two weeks in a plaster cast, a month in a fiberglass cast, and rehab. It was no fun at all.

At the time my doctor told me that eventually I would have to fix the left thumb joint, too. Off-and-on pain that lately has been more excruciatingly on than off convinced me that my surgical sabbatical sadly was over.

My good friend Janie P. recommended that I see Dr. Hildreth at our local Richmond Bone & Joint Clinic (my previous hand doctor practices in the Houston medical center, which is definitely outside my 10-mile travel radius). I liked him immediately, especially because he wanted to work up to surgery instead of starting with it (although the x-rays indicate there’s bone rubbing on bone).

Plus there’s free parking at the clinic, which is a mere 10 minutes from home. Bonus points!

Hildreth first had me try a prescription anti-inflammatory and a soft splint. My pain level? The same.

After snapping this photo with my iPhone 5, I stopped watching.

Here we go!

So yesterday it was time for step two: A steroid shot. It makes me shudder just to type those vowels and consonants. I knew from previous injections in various parts of my feet that they hurt like no one’s business. But I also knew they were better than surgery. Hildreth said that the shot sometimes can totally alleviate the pain or at least make it a whole lot better.

So bring it on!

Does everyone snap pics of themselves getting a shot or is it just me? After I finished, I could see the fine doctor trying to get into the photo.

No autographs, please!

No autographs, please!

And here he is! By the way, that needle looks really looooooong!

I’d like to report that I took on that shot with a calm, cool, and collected demeanor. But that would be a lie. That mother hurt so much! Oh, how I hate those needle stabs.

But, as the saying goes, no pain, no gain. I’m willing to accept the pain for the chance at gaining relief for as long as possible.

Hopefully, by the time I need another steroid shot, the memory of yesterday’s ouchfest will have blissfully faded.


Easy Peasy, Gettin’ Squeezy!

The 3D mammography machine that I got up close and personal with yesterday.

Notice a lot of pink on webpages online and people in line? October is Breast Cancer Awareness month . . . and has been for 25 years.

Personally, I don’t need a pastel color to remind me of this horrible disease. My mom and great-aunt are survivors, and I’ve lost an aunt and one acquaintance to it. My pal Janet E. has battled breast cancer for many years. And now my friend Sheri is newly diagnosed, undergoing the first of 16 chemo treatments yesterday.

I’m so bummed out. They are two of the nicest people I know.

When Sheri told me that her cancer was discovered via a mammogram, I remembered that I needed to schedule one. Yesterday was squeeze day. I opted for a 3D mammography machine, figuring the more information the better. As I gritted my teeth and waited for the pinch that can save your life, I thought about how grateful I was that we have advanced technology that can see what’s going on deep in our tissues.

Now we need a cure and the end to so much suffering.

Is it time for a mammogram? Go get squeezed!

And please keep Janet and Sheri in your thoughts.

That Little Prick

A bandage covers where the needle went in.

I’m late posting on my blog this morning, because life got in the way, as it often does. About a month ago I noticed that the lymph node under my jaw on the right side was swollen and tender. When it still hurt after three weeks, I saw my general practitioner, who ordered an ultrasound.

That brought back wonderful memories of two pregnancies and that lovely whale calling-like sound you hear when the baby’s heartbeat is detected. This ultrasound was quiet, though, and indicated a couple of cysts. Of course, by the time I saw the ENT the next week, the lymph node was back to normal. All that fuss for nothing!

But recently I felt the node again, so it was off to visit the ENT this morning. We decided to get a needle biopsy done ASAP to see what was going on. This was a new procedure for me . . . one that I hope to never repeat! The doctor who performed it apologized for it being “unpleasant.” That was one of the nicer synonyms for what I was thinking while it was going on!

You know how they say you’ll feel a little prick and then some burning when they give you lidocaine? Male doctors who cause maximum pain shouldn’t blame us females for thinking that they’re the little pricks causing that burning! After the pathologist said there were no cysts and that the fluid looked noncancerous, he told the doctor to use a bigger needle and snip out some core cells for more testing just to be sure (results are due midweek).

Once the doctor was done stabbing and snipping that lymph node, I felt like my jaw had gone several rounds with a heavyweight fighter! I think I’ll take the post-procedure instructions to heart and just take it easy the rest of the day. Where’s that Tylenol bottle?