Tag Archives: thumb joint

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!!


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.