Well, it’s been two weeks since the carpal tunnel surgery, and I now have both hands mostly functional.
I have become quite adept at waterproofing my hand and wrist with a plastic bag and a rubber band (I tend to go for the bags you get off the roll when buying fruit and vegetables – they are a good size, tend to stay waterproof and when put on inside out, are quite clean). Accompanying this skill has been one-handed showering (and other toilet activities).
However, now that I’m back to two hands, these skills may well fade away.
The bandage came off after three days and the stitches out after two weeks (two days ago). The cut looks clean and dry and not too ugly, though a little wider than I expected. It still feels tight, even without the stitches, and both a little numb and sensitive to touch, but otherwise quite functional.
I must say that while the carpal tunnel has not yet departed, my hand feels quite different. It still pretty well locks up during the night and I gradually get it opening and closing with a little exercise and massage. The touch is also different but better: still pins and needles but not so much numbness. Flexibility has improved: I had a big moment yesterday, when with some concentration, I was able to button up my left sleeve, all by myself! Some people I have spoken to say that recovery can be almost instantaneous; others that it can take up to a year. I think maybe the second opinion is the more likely.
The surgeon said that I should exercise it as much as possible, opening and closing it into a fist. Eventually, I should advance to a stress ball. This should stop it locking up in the open position.
For the first time in weeks, I went for a run yesterday morning. This is a reflection of how well I feel at the moment. My cold/flu is gone, I’m off painkillers. The BigD is effective and uneventful: I’m back to reading, practising a little Mandarin and in the last hour, watching a video (currently Primeval, which is quite diverting).
I have a range of courses for jogging, starting with the Short and Sweet (twice round the bed), the Getting Back Into It (once round the block – about 10 minutes) and the Just Enough (two blocks and two hills – about 25 minutes). I was feeling pretty up for it yesterday, so I did the Just Enough. It was a triumph. I really enjoyed my breakfast: it tastes so much better when I have been so virtuous! The only downside is that now I have to do at least the same next time, maybe more.
One interesting thing came from the run. Before the surgery, I would run about 10 minutes and my hand would go completely numb. This time, I decided to exercise it as I ran, stretching it flat, then making a fist as I powered (trotted) along. Then something interesting happened. My body decided to synchronise both activities. I found that about 10 minutes into the run, my hand would close as I breathed out and open as I breathed in. It was quite strange because it felt like I was squeezing a little phantom pump that controlled my breathing. Squeeze faster, breathe faster; squeeze slower, breathe slower. I quite enjoyed it, jogging along in my own private world controlling my breathing with my hands (my other had joined in by this stage).
I’m looking forward to my next run, just to see if I can do it again.
Isn’t it strange what you can discover when you do something different? Whether the difference is forced upon you, or you create it yourself, there’s always something if you take the time to notice it.