Jul. 14th, 2013

bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
I'm having surgery on my right elbow in 10 days. I'm right-handed so I've been practicing doing things with my left hand. The challenges will be getting dressed (stretchy pants, loose t-shirts will be dress code for a while), getting into bed, making the bed, changing the sheets (nearly impossible), using a roll brush with the hair dryer (also nearly impossible), shaving my left armpit, writing, and cutting things with a knife. As it is now many of those things are pretty difficult but not impossible. The good news is that I'll be off work for at least 4 weeks and the pain I have will be a different kind of pain. I hope.

I have lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow - I don't play tennis) that's never gotten better and a pretty significant calcification, most likely the result of playing softball for many, many years. The pain started over a year ago. I went to the doctor in the Fall because it wasn't going away and by then the pain had become nearly unbearable. I should have gone earlier but I've decided that women tend to tough it out longer than men. The first visit I got a cortisone shot, which killed the pain but not before some really, really bad pain, a script for an NSAID, and then a 6 week stint in physical therapy. Shot wore off in January and the pain came back. I even remember the date because the pain was that bad. Went back to the doctor. He wanted to try the same thing as the last time only this time with a different NSAID so it was another cortisone shot and another trip to PT. I got this cortisone shot late in the afternoon and then headed to a Caps game. I remember the pain was so bad after this shot that a couple of times I thought I was going to have to turn around. It did get better but for most of the night, I could barely use my right arm. Thankfully, the pain went away after several hours. PT went well and I actually did feel like it helped this time but over Memorial Day weekend, the second shot wore off and the pain returned.

While the results are good, cortisone shots are bad so I'd already decided (and been told by everyone including the physical therapist) not to have another one. The only option left was surgery. I was trying to put it off until mid July because I knew it has a long recovery and mid-July thru August tends to be the slowish time at work. So here I am, working through a long list of things to get done before I won't be able to do them. I'll be in a splint for two or three days (no driving) and then after a week, when the sutures are out, I'll start physical therapy again. Since my job is spreadsheets, one of the abilities I want to get back sooner rather than later is the ability to use the keyboard and mouse. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he made a point of saying the full recovery time for this surgery is 4 to 6 months. Makes me wonder if I'm being a little optimistic about getting back to work...

On the plus side, I hope to see some movies and watch a lot of old TV (I recently got Daktari on DVD - loved that show when I was a kid) while I'm out. Maybe I'll even take a trip to the botanical gardens, something I've wanted to do for years.

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bunchofgrapes

May 2015

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