Wednesday, November 30, 2022

I've gotta stop doing this...

Disappearing that is...

You wouldn't know it, but I have started a number of posts in the last two months (in fact, this post was begun a couple of weeks ago), but I just couldn't bring myself to finish typing and hit publish.

Today I decided I just need to DO IT! and hope this post gets me over a what's been feeling like a very challenging autumn.

In the early weeks after my hand surgery, there didn't seem to be much to write about - except for the after-surgery pain, and I had no interest in writing about that.  Especially then.  And when occupational therapy started (about 3 1/2 weeks post surgery) suddenly I found myself both deliriously happy to be moving my painful stiff hand, and at the same time worried that therapy was starting late and going slowly.  From the start, though, my OTist has told me I'm doing great, and I can say that now that I'm 2 1/2 months post surgery, I do see the progress.   

Even so, I am daily tempted to worry because the progress is soooo slow. 

It just is.  It's not just me feeling that it is.  I'm assured every week that healing from this surgery is a long road, so I keep telling myself to not worry; all will fine in another 3 months or so.  That's what they keep telling me.

One YouTuber who's had CMC Arthroplasty surgery calls it brutal. Before my surgery I thought she was surely exaggerating, but now I get it.  The pain is tough in the early days after surgery - mostly due to doctors being fearful of giving out too much narcotic pain medicine, which just makes me angry if I can be completely honest.  And then in the early weeks after surgery the slow slog through therapy begins (mostly done at home, alone) and it becomes its own kind of brutal. Every new stretch, or squeeze, or push promises new pain - for a week or so until the hand gets used to that movement and sore muscles and tendons heal over and over again, it seems. 

Fortunately, most of that pain is behind me.   At this point, the main discomfort I feel is some residual stiffness due to there still being a bit of swelling, and there remains nerve pain from the surgery.  The nerve pain can take me by surprise and it's rough when it strikes, but I am told this is normal, and should heal over time.

So... I will not sugar coat it.  While I don't want to discourage anyone from considering this surgery, it should not be entered into lightly.  I hope, some months from now I can tell you it was worth it, but I only know right now that it's been a slog.  That said, I hang onto daydreams of holding needlework in this hand, and stitching with the other.  I imagine playing the piano, and even picking up a guitar (though I can't quite fathom my left thumb ever being strong enough to brace against the back of a guitar neck again).  I promise, though, if it does get strong enough I'll shout it from the roof top - of this blog, anyway.  

I can fix my hair finally.  Remember I mentioned early on I got a perm a couple weeks before surgery?  I thought it would be a great wash and wear hair style.  It was not.  For two months, I had to labor one-handed, applying product, and slowly diffusing my hair to partial dryness so I could look like a curly poodle instead of a frizzy bichon.  I think it was two weeks ago I found my hand was strong enough to grasp my hot rollers.  I now have my smooth hair back - and the perm provides some nice body.  The perm is finally, paying off for me.  

Let me be clear...  I love curly hair.  Especially others' curly hair.  Hub and sons have curly hair and it's amazing.  I might have enjoyed learning how to work with mine if I hadn't given myself curly hair two weeks before becoming one-handed. It was a silly lesson to have to learn, but I've learned it's better to work with what is familiar in such a situation rather than think two weeks before a major challenge is a good time to introduce something new. 

Okay... enough about my hand.   And my hair.   Even though my hair has been a thing...

If anyone is actually reading this, I really don't deserve you.  But thank you, if you're here. Not only did I not have it in me to be active on my own blog, I found I had little to give when visiting others' blogs. I tried for a week or two, and then fizzled.  Soon it became impossible to keep up, let alone catch up.  Who knew having two surgeries in 3 1/2 months' time could suck so much inner drive out of a person.  I sure didn't.

And then there was Covid.  Yep...  the year just wouldn't have been complete if I didn't catch Covid.  And boy - has it kicked my keister!  I caught it a little over a week ago when helping a single girlfriend who was so sick she had to go the ER.  She was severely dehydrated and thought maybe she had the flu.  It didn't matter to me what she had, she needed help, and I was glad to be there for her.  I know it probably sounds ridiculous, but when the doctor came into her little room where we had been sharing air space for a couple of hours to tell her the results of her test, I was not expecting to hear she had Covid.  I know...  What rock have I been living under?!?

Ah well...  I've been saying for the last year, we all just need to suck it up and expect to take our turn with it, so it appeared my turn had finally come.  

A little segue...  After consulting with my doctor last spring I told her I was inclined to take a pass on the Covid boosters.  Things had gotten better, I didn't have any serious health concerns, and the number of infections were way down back then.  The word was Omicron wasn't as bad as previous variants.  Really hadn't Covid stopped being something we needed to worry so much about?  Well, somehow it was suddenly November (the week of Thanksgiving, no less) and I evidently didn't notice that people were getting sick again.  

That is, until hubs went to every pharmacy in town (I can't remember when - maybe Monday?) to buy me some cough medicine with alcohol in it and the shelves were bare.  It seems EVERYone is getting sick again.  He brought home a number of offerings, but none promised to put me to sleep and out of my miserable congested, coughing state.

After three nights of struggling to sleep, I searched the house and discovered a several year's old (expired by over a year) bottle of overnight cold and flu medicine laced with 10% alcohol.  I swigged a shot down and smiled as my innards warmed, imagining the sleep I'd soon be enjoying.  It's becoming my nightly ritual.  I'm smiling just thinking about it now.

It's been a slow climb out of the congestion and coughing.  And the fatigue renders me pretty useless still - now 5 days in.  On Monday I had a virtual appointment with my doctor and while she prescribed Paxlovid (at my request) she did tell me for as many days as I'd been sick already, the unpleasant side effects of the Pax might not be worth it since I'd likely be better before I was finished with the 5-day regimen.  I thought on it, and I decided to forgo it, and have continued to slog through with my cough medicine and maximum strength generic Mucinex, and figure sooner or later I'll emerge - singing the high notes again.  Well, the alto notes, anyway...

BTW, one of the reasons I even brought up the Covid shots, and me not getting boosted is because my dear hubs (after getting his 3rd, 4th & 5th? jabs) had been asking me if I was going to get mine.  "Nah", I said.  I didn't think it was necessary.  

The chances of getting seriously sick are pretty slim I thought.

Even when my friend looked at me sadly and said how sorry she was that I was now exposed to Covid, I smiled and said, "It was going to happen sooner or later.  I've made peace with it."

So cavalier was I.

Okay...  so I'm likely going to make a full recovery, but the real story here is Hubs has been basically symptom free while I've been hacking up a lung for the last 5 days.  He had a bit of a scratchy throat a day or two after I came down sicker than a dog, but now he tells me he feels fine.  I'll be sure to update if he comes down sick, but dang!  If his boosters are what has made his airways like teflon, I'm thinking the credit most likely goes to the shots.

We'll never know for sure.  Maybe he just has some super power resistance to Covid (doubtful), or maybe he just hasn't walked through any virus ladened mists I've left behind (not likely), or maybe it's the N95 mask he wears when he enters a room I'm occupying.  I don't know.  I just wish I'd gotten boosted this fall.  I wish I could have potentially experienced feeling like I have super powers too.  

To be clear (again - because I really like to be clear) I'm not into telling others what they should do.  This isn't meant to be an endorsement of these "vaccines".  I don't care if people get vaccinated or not - against anything, really.  I'm as against mandatory Covid shots as I ever was.  I'm just relating our anecdotal experience.

This post has gone on way too long.  Be thankful I'm not going to bore you with all that's gone on since I was last here.  So much has happened this fall, that I've already forgotten most of it.  It has been a ride, though.  And I'm glad the roller coaster of 2022 is going to be shutting down soon.

I'm so worn out by this year that I think after this post, I may just continue my blogging break until the new year.  I might do a 2022 wrap-up.  Or I may just give 2022 quick good-bye kiss and kick it to the curb.

I have missed visiting with many of you on your blogs.  I'm going to start showing my face again, but I'm going to right here, right now, ask your forgiveness for not even trying to catch up with all I've missed.  I hope you all are having a better final quarter of 2022.  Or if you're struggling, I hope I can glean enough from what you're now sharing to be able to offer encouragement to you.

If you're still reading, you are really too kind.  If you leave me a comment and let me know you were here, I'll mention you in my prayers - giving thanks to my Heavenly Father for you and your encouragement.

Love and peace to you all.