Saturday, April 19, 2008


My hand surgery went well yesterday. The doctors, nurses, and staff were very surprised that I decided to forgo anesthesia and just do local (novocaine) for my hand surgery. It's pretty cool to be called "brave" by the staff at Kaiser. I figured that I've had pretty invasive dental work done while awake using just novocaine so why not just do that for my hand. I mean having a dentist come at your face and mouth with sharp instruments while awake seems a lot worse to me than having my hand cut apart when I can't even see what's happening. I was actually more freaked out about getting the I.V. put into my hand than concerned about the surgery. I think I had my blood pressure checked about 10 times yesterday and man that hurt like hell! Where's the anesthetic for that!?! The only painful parts of surgery were the really tight tourniquet that they put on my arm and some shots the doctor gave me after the incision that was some kind of medicine to help heal the wound. The shots burned and I actually winced and said ow out loud. But the pain was only for a few seconds so I could deal with it. My hand surgery (actually an orthopedic specialist), Dr. Randall Ryan, is one of the nicest doctors you could ever have and good looking to boot! In the past, Dr. Ryan has given me shots of cortisone in my right knee (for pain associated with torn cartilage), plus cortisone in both my hands when I developed really bad tendonitis about 5 years ago. Although Kaiser can be a bitch while waiting for appointments (2 months wait to see Dr. Ryan!), my overall staff experiences have been really good. In the past I received excellent physical therapy for my knee (so good that I walk without pain and even hike!) and months of physical therapy I received for the debilitating tendonitis in my hands that actually got me back on the road to recovery. All the nurses I encountered yesterday in pre and post-op were really nice and caring too. I actually got in a half hour early for surgery - how amazing is that. The entire surgery lasted about 15 minutes and novocaine numbness lasted in my hand all day and night. I kept waiting for the numbness to stop and the pain to start but when I went to bed about 12 hours after surgery, my hand was STILL numb. One of my best friends, Sheryl, was super cool to pick me up from the hospital (my Dad was just too intimidated by the quagmire of buildings at Kaiser to attempt doing pick up). She came into the recovery room and we both laughed at my fashionable attire (a hospital gown with the oh so convenient open back end!) and the gourmet food (jello of course!). She took me to Jerry's Deli afterwards so I could eat my first meal of the day - the fried matzo comfort food I was craving. What was really weird was that my two hands had totally different temperatures. My left hand that had not gone through surgery was normal and cool while my right fingertips were hot as hell. While I probably should have rested for the day, I wanted to get to a mini photographer's party at Aline Smithson's house. These intimate gatherings are so rare, it's such a great opportunity to get to visit with friends, and Aline's house is so freaking amazing, that even surgery couldn't keep me from it. Sheryl did one more driver duty and picked me up and took me to the party and Leba Marquez from my Photography Now group show was nice enough to take me home. Come on, who can resist going to a party with their hand wrapped up in two inches of gauze and bandages - what a conversation starter! Plus I really needed photos taken of my hand so I was in the perfect place to get someone to take pictures of me! Surgery is just an excuse for a photographic series :-)

So, it's been one day since surgery and I'm extremely tired out but luckily not in pain. My fingers are VERY stiff and definitely sore. I can't believe I'm actually able to type, although with this much gauze on my hand I keep accidentally hitting the spacebar. But with the typing I'm starting to feel the stitches a little and that's kind of yucky. Tomorrow I get to cut the gauze off and for a couple weeks I need to wear a band-aid over the stitches. I can't wait to get photos of the stitches! Should be kind of macabre.

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