Minor surgery scheduled forWednesday

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by FastEddieB, May 27, 2018.

  1. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    As background, back in the 1980’s I started to have recurring and somewhat chronic hand numbness, initially caused by long distance cycling. It was mainly a problem at night, where my hands would “fall asleep” and wake me up with a throbbing numbness that was alleviated by straightening out my arm. I self-diagnosed it as cubital tunnel syndrome - impingement of the nerve in the elbow. I’ve lived with it for decades, writing it off as a result of the stress on my elbows from a half-century of bicycle and motorcycle riding, combined with barbell curls and tool usage putting additional stress on them.

    But about 6 months ago I started to have slight numbness all the time in my right index and middle fingers. But even a tiny bit of numbness is an issue - I noticed I was having a hard time buttoning my left sleeve and had to ask Karen for help. It’s hard to pick up a coin or washer from a flat surface. I’m dropping things a bit more often. That sort of thing. But I could live with it if I knew it wasn’t going to get any worse.

    But it came to a head, so to speak, when I mentioned it to a flight student who is a retired orthopedist. He looked at my right hand and immediate noticed atrophy of my right thumb muscle, combined with limited range of motion. That concerned him and he referred me to a hand and arm specialist. That specialist recommended a nerve conduction study. That study showed severe carpal tunnel and moderate to severe cubital tunnel impingement of nerve impulses. Left arm had issues as well, but is asymptomatic to date.

    Those results indicated surgical intervention, and it made sense to do wrist and elbow at the same time. We’re hoping that reverses the atrophy, but it may just stop it from progressing further. I think it’s a few weeks in a sling, then up to 3 months of physical therapy for a full recovery. That will make it hard to fly in the Sky Arrow over that time span, since getting in and out involves lowering and lifting my weight with my arms. Drat.

    I’m not complaining - orthopedic problems, while annoying, are a walk in the park compared with other issues many people my age start to experience. Almost 70 years of a pretty active lifestyle has to have taken a toll.

    Anyway, I’ll report updates post-surgery in case any others have dealt with similar issues.

    Wish me luck!
     
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  2. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Best of luck Eddie. :cornut:
     
  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Good luck Eddie! We'll be thinking of you.
     
  4. PaulS

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    Good luck Eddie!
     
  5. Dave Theisen

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    Hoping for a speedy recovery!
     
  6. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    You'll be flying again in no time. Godspeed.
     
  7. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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  8. frfly172

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    Good luck,you should be back flying in no time.
     
  9. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Good luck, Eddie! I’ve had similar difficulties over the years, induced by lots of computer use at work. So far, rest, exercises, and an ergonomic keyboard have been sufficient.

    Hope your surgery goes well. I’m sure you’ll be playing the violin again in no time. Meanwhile, if you need someone to exercise the bikes or the plane, let me know. Any sacrifice to help a pal.... :)

    Keep us posted.
     
  10. rtk11

    rtk11 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Good luck, Eddie. Glad that your student was able to diagnose and hopefully the surgery will return full function to your thumb/hand.
     
  11. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

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    Definitely wishing you good luck and success, and saluting your choice to address this versus "just live with it."
     
  12. tspear

    tspear Cleared for Takeoff

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    Good luck!

    Tim

    Sent from my LG-TP260 using Tapatalk
     
  13. SkyDog58

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    Good luck. Surgery sucks but it normally makes things better.
     
  14. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Best of luck with the surgery Eddie, and swift recovery.
     
  15. EppyGA

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    Good luck Eddie
     
  16. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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    Have a quick recovery, Eddie!
     
  17. 455 Bravo Uniform

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    Hope all goes well for you.
     
  18. GRG55

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  19. denverpilot

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    Get ‘er done.
     
  20. N659HB

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    Good luck today. Keep is posted.
     
  21. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Mrs. Steingar has ahd carpal tunnel on both hands and the thumb done on one. Good luck.
     
  22. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    Good luck, follow the therapists afterwards. it works, but some of those people seem to enjoy their jobs a little too much!
     
  23. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I survived! Details to follow...
     
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  24. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wishes for a speedy recovery! Wait, how you typing that.....;):D
     
  25. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Hope Karen hadn't already spent the life insurance....
     
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  26. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Nope. She does have a modicum of self-restraint!

    I went with the “15-hour” numbing block, and just managed to barely wiggle my fingers an hour ago. They said to take at least 1 Percocet as soon as that happened and I did. No pain at all so far. Typing one-handed on my iPad. Full report with gory (not really) details in the morning.

    As an aside, I hope I can sleep. Codeine gets me wired and tends to keep me up.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  27. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    You're not taking it with enough scotch.
     
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  28. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I suggested tequila, but the warden is making me stick to the 24-hour prohibition. :(
     
  29. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Here is hoping that you are well, and on the mend.

    (I didn't read the whole thread)
     
  30. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    hope you heal soon and don't ever land with power! :)
     
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  31. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Promised update...

    Had to get up at 3:45 AM to shower and get out of the house by 4:30 for a 7 AM arrival time in Atlanta. Sat in the waiting room for an hour anyway.

    IV in the wrist was no problem, tensing up as I mentioned in that recent thread. Mild sedative so I don’t recall the injections in my neck and underam to “block” the nerves. I was offered either 7 hours or 15 hours of numbness, and went with 15. Took maybe 30 minutes to lose all the feeling and mobility in my right arm. It was explained they were doing carpal and cubital “releases”, with a “bisection” of two nerves in the elbow to gain access to the cubital tunnel. Or something like that.

    Wheeled into the operating suite and scooted onto the table. This is where it got weird. I had my arms crossed on my chest, with still a tiny bit of tingling on the back of my right hand. I closed my eyes for a moment, then looked right to where an attendant was holding an arm! It was the weirdest feeling, thinking my arm was one place but seeing it in another. I remember learning about proprioceptors, that enable us to make a mental model of where our body is in space. When those get suppressed, it’s really weird - I can sympathize with people with “phantom limbs” and the like.

    Anyway, completely out for the surgery. Doctor stopped by afterwards to say the nerves looked healthy - he may have used the word “effused” or “perfusion”. Karen remembers he said they looked pink, which was good. He said at least it should stop the progression of the atrophy and numbness, with a possibility of reversing it. The trip home was uneventful. I couldn’t move my fingers until evening, and took one Percocet as instructed right then. Today no need for any painkillers so far.

    Further good news is that I misunderstood about the sling - it only had to stay on until I regained feeling in my arm, so I’m about to remove it. Dressings and wrap stay in place for 2 weeks when I have a followup. Just no lifting with that arm for a while.

    So far, so good!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  32. Skyrys62

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    That's good to hear Eddie.

    btw...@mscard88 is wondering if there were any hot nurses?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  33. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    [​IMG]
     
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  34. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Great news Eddie. Best of luck with recovery. :thumbsup:
     
  35. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I were? o_O ;) :)
     
  36. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Soft cast comes off tomorrow!

    [​IMG]

    Last two weeks have been no more than a minor annoyance. I think there’s been a small reduction in the finger numbness. I’ve had some dull cramping at the base of my thumb, but that may be a good thing as the nerves “wake up”.

    Curious what’s under all that wrapping. :eek:
     
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  37. 3393RP

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    Just for everyone's edification, Percocet is a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone, not codeine.
     
  38. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    The enlarged the openings (carpal tunnels) some of those nerves go through. Takes a bit to get to them, and if course they have to make certain they don't damage the nerves themselves.
     
  39. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I used "Percocet", as a generic term.

    The bottle says "OXYCOD/ACETAMIN 5-325mg Generic for Percocet".

    1) I think it borders on overprescribing to dispense 30 of these for a relatively minor recovery (I think I took 2 or 2 1/2 altogether). Mentioned it to the doctor, who said different people have different pain thresholds and pain management is important enough to prescribe that many, and the risk of dependence is relatively small.

    2) I'm not complaining. Karen says when the zombie apocalypse occurs, in addition to the obvious - food, water and ammunition - painkillers and reading glasses will be worth their weight in gold!
     
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  40. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Things went well today. Soft cast removed and stitches removed from hand and elbow. I was surprised at the location of the scar for the carpal tunnel release - I had imagined it more on the wrist.

    Photos as links, for those who might be interested, since they're a tad gross:

    https://farm1.staticflickr.com/883/42805192131_c647067987.jpg

    https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1746/42756656602_b811d4acfc.jpg

    For those brave enough to look, you can see the atrophy at the base of my thumb that pushed me to finally get this done.

    I got a custom removable splint and instructions from the physical therapist for certain exercises several times every day. For another two weeks I'm still not to bend the elbow more than 90º or less than about 30º. And still no heavy lifting.

    Annoying, but this too shall pass...
     
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