Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Does this wrist make me look old?

Remember the Christmas before last, when I was wearing a wrist brace? Yeah. That problem never went away. When my wrist first started hurting, I waited a bit to see if it would go away on its own. About six weeks later, I broke down and went to the Student Health Center. I was still a student at this point, so that was where I had to go. They gave me a brace to wear and told me to take some ibuprofen every day for awhile and wait to see if it got any better. It didn't, and I went back. They then referred me to a specialist.

The specialist had me tuck my thumb into my fist and stretch my wrist sideways toward the pinky side of my hand. This made the side of my wrist hurt, so they decided I had DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis. They gave me a shot of steroids in my tendon, and told me that if the pain came back, I might need surgery. The pain went away for a little over a month, but then came back. The pain seemed to have traveled up to closer to my wrist, but the PA seeing me dismissed this. We talked it over, and scheduled a surgery to liberate my tendon.

So there I was in my cute little backless gown, hairnet, and booties, laying in a bed with wheels and side rails, about to be IVed. Dr. Johnson came out to meet me. He introduced himself, and took my wrist to inspect it. He prodded my wrist and asked if it hurt. He did a bit of a double-take when I said no. He had me do the thumb-tucking, wrist-bending thing, and when that hurt at the base of my thumb, rather than in my wrist, he called off the surgery. He had me come in to see him the next day.

The next morning, he took an x-ray, and felt around my wrist. The x-ray didn't seem to indicate any arthritis, which could have caused the problem. He then gave me a steroid shot in the joint, with the hopes that it would fix the problem. That was last fall. The shot helped for a few months, but the pain gradually came back. Since it wasn't a constant pain, I just decided to baby my hand and see if it would get better on its own. It didn't. I noticed pain with pressure against my thumb, like when I would put on gloves at work, or when I tried to carry a full pitcher of water with my right hand. I finally decided that it wasn't just going to go away, and went back to the doctor. They didn't know what was wrong, so we decided that the best thing to do would be to do surgery and scope my wrist to see what was going wrong.

So there I was: back in the drafty gown, fantastic cap, and brilliant no-slip booties.
 I got in another wheeled, railed bed, and had an iv put in my hand. That was just before 10 AM. I then waited for about two hours waiting. There were a lot of grandmas/pas getting their cataracts removed, Including a dude born in 1930 named Richard Nixon. One couple talked to their son (it was his birthday) on speakerphone. I'm glad we all got to share that conversation. Especially since their son neatly dodged questions about the wayward grandson and his court date. Fan-tastic. And now I know that people who have gotten only one eye fixed don't remember many details of the surgery, but everyone seems to remember all of the details of the second one. Two hours well spent.

So they wheeled me into the surgery room, and knocked me out. Next thing I know I wake up shivering with my wrist all bound up. Seriously. I was really, really cold. Something having to do with the way the anesthesia is metabolized by the body. Brrrrrrrr. The nice nurse brought me a heated blanket. It was awesome. Abby was there and she fed me strawberry yogurt and narcotics and drinks of ice water. Such a great friend. I don't know if you've ever been with someone as they're coming out of anesthesia, but it seems that people seems latch onto one idea and just keep repeating the same thing. With me it was something about there being a fire sale on cataract surgery. I thought the droves of old people getting their sight back was funny. 

So Dr. Johnson came out and talked with us. From what I can remember, they went in with their little 1.5 millimeter scope and cleaned out the junk that was floating around in my joint, and then they saw this:
 The white part in the middle is cartilage, and the darker parts are exposed bone. That means arthritis. Yeesh. I seem to remember something about him saying that it seems to be the result of trauma rather than something genetic. But I can't be sure. The whole coming out of anesthesia thing. I'll learn more next Friday when I go back to have my dressing removed.  

This is the end of my first day without one of my thumbs. Bathing was easier than expected. As was typing. Writing by hand is really hard. Peeling a banana is nigh unto impossible. Turning the keys in the ignition was a bit of a challenge.

**sigh** Arthritis at 30. Who'da thought.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the 4th Be With You

  I am a long-time fan of Star Wars. I remember watching those old VHS tapes over and over. I remember skipping drumline a few times in high school to go wait in line for the new Star Wars movies. So I was very excited to be able to have a party to celebrate international Star Wars Day!
We had pizza, Darth Vader cupcakes, Star Wars fruit snacks, and even Bantha Milk! We watched the one that started it all: Episode IV A New Hope. It was fun, and for once I was somewhere where there were three guys for every girl. I've got to have more nerd parties!

I know some of you are wondering how I made those cute little chocolate Vaders, so I'll show you!

First, melt some white and dark chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds, and stopping as soon as the chocolate is melted. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, foil, or waxed paper.     
Spoon the chocolate into piping bags and cut off the very tip so you have a small hole to squeeze the chocolate out. Make little bell (helmet) shapes with the dark chocolate on the parchment with the melted chocolate.
Use the melted white chocolate to draw the face details on the little helmets.
You can make storm troopers by making white helmets and doing the details in dark chocolate. Make little lightsabers by cutting some twizzlers pull-aparts and dipping the ends in the melted chocolate.
You can pop the finished decorations into the freezer for a few minutes so they set up quick. Or you can let them set up at room temperature overnight.
Pop your little decorations on some chocolate frosted chocolate cupcakes (come to the dark side). Give the Vader cupcakes little lightsabers (Storm troopers don't get lightsabers)
See how cute they are!? Now you can impress all of your nerd friends! I know I impressed all of mine!
Here's a bonus shot of me in my Princess Leia buns! (And my arm in my post-surgery sling)
  May the 4th be with you always!