A week ago tomorrow I delivered myself to the hospital and signed in for surgery. For those of you that might not know the history here:
Five and a half years ago, I started having pain in my right wrist. It coincided with my first regular use of a laptop computer and its track pad, and I believed the two were related. Six months later I went to see an Ortho doc about it. He sort of blew me off, but explained to me that my ulna bone was too long, and the only thing he could do for me what shorten it surgically. What happens is the ulna is longer than it should be, and therefore bumps into the little tiny bones and the tendons in the wrist causing friction, inflammation, and damage to the bones, tendons and cartilage. But I'm not big into surgery, so I thought I'd just keep wearing my wrist brace.
Last year, my primary care doc began to suspect that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. She sent me to a Rheumatologist who didn't see any signs of RA but was concerned about the considerable pain I was still having in my wrist. He sent me to a hand specialist. She confirmed the "too long ulna" diagnosis, as well as the fact that there's nothing else to be done. She tried a cortisone injection, but it did nothing. I began to consider the surgery.
This fall, my wrist was really bugging me. The pain had progressed to the point that I absolutely HAD to wear the brace, and even then my wrist would still hurt. And there was no way it was going to get better, only worse. So at the end of the year I signed up for the best health insurance program offered at my job and planned to take the plunge.
Here are some photos of the procedure. The reason this patient needed surgery is not the same as mine. The surgery usually is recommended for people who break their radius-- when it heals, it heals shorter than it was previously, and the ulna is now too long. That wasn't my problem-- I was just born this way-- with 4mm too much ulna. My left ulna is also too long-- but it doesn't have as much pain as my right because I am right handed. It hurts a little now, and one day may progress, but because it is used much less I don't plan on having it shortened.
So, Tuesday March 31st I had the surgery. For the past week I have mostly slept. My arm hurts. It doesn't like typing, but I have trouble staying out of touch with the world. :) It has definitely improved, which actually makes me try to do too much, which causes pain... but I'm hanging in there.
And Monday I start my new job! Big stuff happening. Just wanted to update the blogosphere and let you know I'm still here-- I'm just partially out of commission.