Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘arthritis

Successful Surgery

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We are happy to report that Cyndie’s surgery was all good yesterday. There were no complications in the 4 objectives of cleaning out the arthritis, removing a spur, cleaning up the rotator cuff, and reattaching the ruptured tendons.

The outpatient procedure allowed her to be home by the end of the day, where she immediately began experimenting with our variety of chairs and couch in search of a favored perch. Pain management was easy last night, as the nerve block hadn’t yet worn off and the whole arm down to the hand was without feeling.

Today will likely be a bit more challenging for her, we presume.

They had her strapped into the brace before she even woke up from the procedure. She will wear it for the next 6-weeks, except for taking showers.

Quite a fashion statement, don’t you think?

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Written by johnwhays

June 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

Animals Sense

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This morning we are headed to an outpatient surgery center for Cyndie’s shoulder repair. The plan is for an arthroscopic procedure to reattach ruptured tendons and clean up any tissue tears, and then clean up arthritis discovered in the MRI done to assess the injury.

The silver lining in this incident is that she hadn’t previously realized the extent of arthritic damage in that shoulder that was contributing to a chronic discomfort she had come to perceive as ‘normal.’

Welcome to the world of chronic Lyme disease outcomes. Sure, she was treated extensively with long-term antibiotics back when her symptoms mushroomed to a level of undeniable evidence, but it’s an imperfect science. Even more so back in the ’90s when she experienced it.

A vast majority of health insurance corporations and plenty of doctors closely associated would like her to swallow the company lines that she is completely cured. We tend to feel the wild litany of afflictions picking away at our sanity every year since that initial treatment are unsurprisingly identical to the long list of Lyme related symptoms listed in medical research reports.

Her debilitating arthritis is just a fraction of the issues she experiences, but at least modern medicine offers clear surgical options to repair or replace arthritic joints.

As frustrating as it is to be going through this routine again, we are at the same time grateful to have this opportunity. We intend to focus on the potential for less pain in that shoulder, and the return of function of her dominant right arm.

I want to know if she will be able to hoist bales of hay again. Hopefully, even better than before.

Our animals seem to recognize she is in a world of hurt since the arm was yanked. Cyndie reported that yesterday Legacy approached her and uncharacteristically, with his head down, ever so gently rubbed up and down her afflicted limb with his nose, as if in acknowledgement of her discomfort.

Pequenita, who generally reserves the majority of┬áher affection for me, has switched allegiance and has been sleeping on Cyndie the last few nights. I spotted her on Sunday, all curled up in a ball with her head turned over, sleeping just below Cyndie’s pillow.

We are all mustering our best Cyndie care-taking energies to guide her through today’s procedure, and then on to recovery and rehabilitation. We’ve had some practice with this. I’m pretty sure we know what to do.

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Written by johnwhays

June 13, 2017 at 6:00 am

Finally Time

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Today is the last day in our long countdown to Cyndie’s hip replacement surgery. This surgery is something that could have happened a long time ago. She was directed to try a variety of alternative treatments for the arthritic joint over the years, with the intent of delaying the inevitable artificial hip for as long as possible. None of them have been as effective as we would have liked.

The time has come.

It is interesting to observe the ever-determined woman working to execute her plan of organizing everything in her life in preparation for the weeks of recovery that lie ahead, while already being virtually incapacitated by the pain and suffering that currently limit her ability to function.

IMG_iP0688eWe’ve operated in the mode of her recovering from a surgical procedure enough times to pretty much know the drill now. I will need to do all the driving for her for probably 6-weeks. I become full-time dog walker, which isn’t a big change, as her ability to do that has declined over the days.

Delilah is beginning to reflect the change in primary care-giver by fixating on me more often than on Cyndie. Hopefully, that will reduce her tendency to jump up on Cyndie in search of affection during the recovery period. I’ll just need to stay on my guard as the target of that energy and be sure to get her outside at frequent intervals to run around and wear herself out.

Today she can be outside watching me clear the little bit of snow that fell yesterday. We got just enough to cover everything, but hardly enough to justify plowing. Still, it needs to be removed to keep surfaces clear and safely navigable. In a few days we’ll end up bringing Cyndie home from the hospital with a new hip.

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Written by johnwhays

November 16, 2014 at 10:50 am

Double Diagnosis

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I was giving the hand specialist the full history of my thumb pain, and arrived at the part where I went to urgent care.

“The urgent care doctor told me the x-ray didn’t show any arthritis.”

“She was wrong,” he said.

“She said my whole hand falling asleep wasn’t what they see with carpal tunnel syndrome. It would be the thumb and first two fingers.”

“That isn’t right,” he said.

“She thought the joint looked odd, and that it might be a subluxation.”

“It’s not a subluxation.”

That was some visit to the urgent care clinic, wasn’t it? The specialist had full respect for the work the urgent care doctors do, and mentioned that they are a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none.

It seemed to me he already had a diagnosis, before he even listened to my whole story. I asked if he had reviewed my x-ray. He told me that he had, and saw my arthritis immediately. He did a few follow-up tests to confirm, and then told me that I also presented the symptoms of carpal tunnel.

He said that it is not uncommon to see the two afflictions together.

There are a few options available for managing my pain. Of course, there is no cure for arthritis. I am starting with the least invasive of choices: using braces.

It’s funny, just having a positive identification of the cause of the pain provides some relief. As long as I know what it is, and what I can do, or can’t do, my mind is more at ease, and the rest of me relaxes along with it.

Maybe by relaxing, Mozyr became inspired to get a little closer last night. For the first time since we brought him home, he hopped up on the couch by me and then laid down on my leg where I could reach out and scratch his head.

Either that, or he just feels sorry for me.

Written by johnwhays

April 19, 2013 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Something’s Wrong

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It has been about two years since I first noticed a pain in my left hand that felt like I must have done something while playing floor hockey to injure it. I figured I probably landed on it, in the heat of action, and then didn’t notice the pain until I had stopped playing. Maybe a strain, or a sprain. The kind of thing a little time would heal.

Unfortunately, time never did end the pain. It was a low-level irritation, somewhere in the middle of the bones of my hand, eventually growing so familiar, that it became my new normal. Something about the pain led me to imagine it might be the beginnings of arthritis in my joints. There is family history of arthritis in hands, so I chalked it up to growing older.

Over time, the irritation did show signs of getting worse. It is hard to measure, because I think my familiarity, and tolerance, for the discomfort would keep adjusting along with the increasing increments of pain. I was becoming aware of more things that were difficult to do with my left hand, though.

A few days ago, for some unidentified reason, the pain changed dramatically, becoming highly sensitive to certain pressures or movements. Finally, after two days of increasing debilitation, I sought professional diagnosis. I am hardly able to do anything with that hand without excruciating discomfort.

With no open appointments at my regular clinic, I headed to an urgent care location in hopes they could recognize a problem and refer me to a specialist for care. Nothing was identified in the initial examination, so I was sent for an x-ray.

I must admit, even though I was looking for a reason that I am experiencing chronic discomfort, I was extremely happy to hear that the x-ray did not show any indications of arthritis. However, that left me wanting some other explanation.

There are no broken bones, and no dislocations. The doctor said she didn’t have any x-rays of a healthy hand with which to compare, but something looked wrong to her. I was pleased, because the area she took notice of, aligned exactly with the spot where my pain seems to have localized: the base of my thumb, where the metacarpal meets the trapezium. (Whut? Okay, I looked it up.)

She said it didn’t look like it was seated quite right. She wondered if it might be a joint subluxation. Regardless, there was nothing she could do except provide a referral to an orthopedic hand specialist. It just so happens, my sister knows one that she highly recommends. I have an appointment to see him at his very next opening, …two weeks from now.

The Urgent Care doctor said the radiologist had not reviewed the x-rays yet, and she would call to let me know if he had anything more to offer. Before the end of the day, I received a message that the radiologist “read the x-ray as normal.”

Humph. What does that mean? We’ll see what the orthopedic specialist says. I know that something is wrong.

Written by johnwhays

April 5, 2013 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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