Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Walter Fix

Tuesday morning, my fab ID doctor had a turn with Poor Mr. Hand. Her assignment? Check him out for the first flurry of infection possibilities.

Those would be things like your normal post-op nasties, plus MRSA. Fast- to very very fast-acting germs.

If you saw the earlier pix with the ace bandage over the plaster and cotton and gauze, here you can see how I'd made it not near as pretty. When it swelled up bad on Saturday, the surgeon - who NEVER has any other doctor field his calls, even though his service pinged him at 9:00 Saturday night at a restaurant - told me how to loosen it. Of course, HIS wrapping job was a bit more expert than mine.

When they first cut off the bandaging and you actually see it? This is where you (the patient) think, Oh how HIDEOUS!, while the doc is saying, Oh, it looks BEAUTIFUL!

So Dr. C (ID doc) was highly pleased. No sign of infection, the swelling was better, and her preliminary lab results were all clear on the germ front.

The other important germ test is for the mycobacteria. That's the one that takes forever to culture, and half the time it still won't grow in the lab. Myco may be one, even the chief, of the triggers that got this tenosynovitis going in the first place. The surgeon took loads of samples for Dr. C.

I have a very sensible fear of MRSA - especially the CAM kind I now carry forever. I must not let it blind me to this: the mycobacteria, in its way, is just as bad.

Dr. C put a temporary re-wrap on it, to hold me until that afternoon, and made sure I got all the pix I wanted too. This doc is priceless.

So. Tuesday afternoon I was supposed to see the great shoulder doc. My shoulder impingement syndrome only flares up intermittently - but as luck would have it, the right shoulder is acting up, and bad. Since I need to walk around holding my right hand up higher than my heart - ELEVATE ELEVATE ELEVATE! - this is a problem. Outside of how foolish I look, of course.

I'm not sure what the shoulder doc can do to help. What I think I want is a cortisone shot in that shoulder, and a prescription for a special sling that would hold the hand up for me - higher than my heart. This is definitely not a standard type sling. But I'll bet big bucks that if it's even remotely doable, the Ft. Lauderdale Hand Clinic can do one.

Unfortunately...since the surgery - since before, actually - I've been uncharacteristically discombobulated about all this. Emotionally, a bit unstable. So I screw things up. And I mixed up the schedule: the hand surgeon appointment Thursday was 3:15, the shoulder surgeon was Tuesday, 1:30.

I blew it. Got to the shoulder guy at 3:15, right on time. The wrong time. And his schedule was too backed up to fit me in.

Luckily, at least the hand surgeon happened to walk in the door. That was good because he had a quick look and a serious re-wrap, which it needed after that morning's unveiling. Now I don't need to see him on Thursday, and since it wasn't an appointment, that saved me a $30 copay.

heh heh heh!

Understand, money's tight. The hospital copay apparently went up. I thought $100 - they said, nope, $250. The day before the operation no less.

And I've been dripping $30 specialist copays all over town. This week alone, 4 of 'em. Well, 3, now. That's an unbudgeted $340. No - more, like $385, with all the pre-op appointments.

We rescheduled the shoulder doc for 12:00 Thursday.

Something about that, together with the slowly dawning realization that the nerve impairment in my right hand is going to be much worse than I'd anticipated, plus that odd pre-surgical trepidation...I realized today that I was definitely out of sorts about all this.

Clinical depression wears an old and familiar face. I know what to do with it - the steps to take, the meds, the ways to think it through. I'm so adamant with friends and web buddies about getting their depression treated because I know what a difference it made in my life.

If it were *just* that? No problem.

But I've been doing that discombobulated flip-floppy thing instead. I say, Oh I'm fine with it - and it's true at the time - and then one hour later I'm not okay. That's not normal for me. And I can't take care of it as well as I can with things like depression and pain and all.

So I took myself in hand and asked Walter to come home for few days. He can be here next week.

He doesn't take much time off. And I feel a little bad because he misses my parents and was going to see them in Chicago next. He was just here!

But I can see I need his help. At least I'm not that far gone - I can still tell.

In many ways Walter's an unsociable person. But a wonderful person too. And I noticed long ago that a surprising (to him) number of people *need* to talk to him from time to time. Then, when they do, they are happy again. This always puzzles him. I explain: --It's simple. They need their Walter fix.-- If you knew him, you might grin, but you'd understand.

It's time for k now. I need a Walter fix.

I know it's true, because I don't even care that he and my parents and everyone who reads this now knows I am being - yes I am - a wimp.

Hey. Can't be a rock ALL the time, huh?


Desert Cat said...

Well, you know he is your husband--first dibs and all.

k said...



ya gotta point there, ya know?

pepektheassassin said...

Lennon and McCartney said it right: All you need is love, and Let it be.

k said...

Yes. Yes yes yes.

#1: he's working his way home to me, and we're talking on our cells 10-20 time a day as usual.

#2: I've decided that's exactly the right approach on this hand/shoulder thing. Time to stop searching for an elaborate solution and just rest it all.