Sunday, October 2, 2022

Movement During Surgery Recovery and EDS: Chapter Two: Why We Did It/Skin Care/What to Wear with a Cast on Your Arm

"We" includes a team; the one with the condition or injury, the ones suffering because of the injury (affected and affected's family), the health care professionals: primary doctor, alternative medicine doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, surgeon, physician's assistant, and all of the other doctors and orthopedic specialists I consulted in the past. It's really a little embarrassing to think about. 

As someone who has a condition making every joint hypermobile, but who lived almost my entire life not knowing it was the cause of most physical problems I've ever had, the realization is still dawning on me bit by bit. This too??? The intention is not to whine, but to increase awareness of what people with EDS or on the hypermobile spectrum might also be experiencing. I see you.

-Over-extending elbows and ability to do the splits.

-Constantly sprained ankles and back pain that left me "stuck" often. (Both of these are much improved, hormonal shifts? Better exercise routine? Less sugar?)

-Sciatica pain- can still happen.

-Ends of pregnancy where walking became almost impossible from hip and groin agony.

-Knee flare-ups.

-Arthritis developing in highly inconvenient places like feet and thumbs.

-And, the worst part of all, knowing that I might have passed along these genes to my children. Should I have listened to the voice calling me to the convent after all? Life is far to short for regrets, but honestly!

In light of this, the decision to go in, break open and hopefully take care of one of these body parts seems almost ludicrous. But here's the thing...age is creeping towards us all the time, and how we want to spend that period of our lives is a decision we all have to make. I want to type and knit. I want to garden and ice-skate and ski.

I want to drive around the Midwest to interpreting assignments or along the highways of the world out exploring, climbing mountains, and leaping into waves. I want to weight-train to avoid further degeneration of my bone density. 

                And a working hand is key to all of that. 

As far as the feet are concerned, I can always wear old-lady  "comfortable, sturdy shoes," but for hand and wrist even the best support gloves have proven to have their limits, and braces have made things worse. (We have a whole Bag of Braces for different body parts we keep handy, along with walking boots and bath bags for casted bits.) 

When even the occupational therapist voiced the opinion that maybe surgery was a good option for me, after injections and therapy and regular exercises had failed, I made the final pre-surgery appointment to review my options with the hand specialist. After my initial visit, I had been leery of her decision  to recommend fusion. But after the follow-up MRI, conducted to explore what seemed to be cysts along my wrist, her choice of treatment was modified to joint replacement (because the imaging revealed more damage from arthritis than had originally shown up on an x-ray) and a mini-tight wire reinforcement, due to the added potential the EDS adds for joint laxity becoming problematic for the joints further up the chain of command. For some weird reason, this reassured me. "Fusion" sounded permanent, stiff, and final. Replacement sounds sustainable, workable, with a higher rate of mobility down the line. AND SHE LISTENED TO MY CONCERNS ABOUT THE HYPERMOBILITY/EDS. This, dear doctors, will do more for your scores on than any treatment, no matter how successful. 

Now for the wardrobe...left to my own devices early yesterday morning, I dolefully grumbled to friends that I looked like a bag lady, and wondered if this was how it all started for some of their ranks? 


You go home alone with an arm in a cast and find; you can't do your hair, so you pop on a hat that half covers the disheveled tangle. There is no one to hook your bra so a second layer is a must, but none of your sweaters will go over your cast, so it's a poncho on top of whatever sleeveless shirt you can scrounge up, and your yoga pants are in the laundry. so a skirt with an elastic waist band is the only other thing that  is not pyjama bottoms in your closet. Show up at work often enough in this get-up and you're likely to lose confidence and your job along with it and then you're left with...those very same clothes on your back.*

Responses from two friends;

(Zero commiseration, you will note, the hallmark of someone who knows you too well and is not taking your grousing for one second.)

-Embrace your inner Stevie Nicks.

-I happen to love the babushka vibe.

-I'm with E. Your inner French woman needs to learn how to let it hang.

Thanks, folks. That's friendship for you. Always moving you forward...or something. I mean, did you see the sorrow in that face? Not a single whoop given.

And then I got up this morning and decided I will have to find a way to make the closet full of perfectly nice items I have work for the next few weeks. Work is going to be a challenge, but that was also true when I went from semi-hippy-homeschool-mama to work with no transition. I used to justify every slightly insane outfit with, "It could be a French style, they will just think I am French." 

Here was today's Sunday "fit", as the kids say. In which I embrace not only Bohemia but the Japanese girl with skirt and socks look I've always admired but never imitated. I still don't see walking into court in this one, but I've decided to be happy. And that extends to the length of time it will take to fully heal and get this hand working again. And it also includes messy kitchens and bathrooms and clients who arrive an hour late. I am happy.

* I must add a note of gratitude for this beautiful skirt brought back for me by a friend from India and the equally scrumptious warm poncho my sister gave me for Christmas, I love both, but I was in a mood.


Day 13 Progress and Movement Report:

Not much to report. I eased up on the amount of stretching I do, because the weight of the cast/splint (I guess I'll know tomorrow when it is removed) seemed to cause more pain and I was not sure it wouldn't pull too much on the joint in doing thirty minutes at a time.

We go for a walk every day and I putz around out in the garden in my flowers. I fetch my own things up and down the stairs and keep it raised much of the time. There is some discomfort, but it is not terrible.

My old nemesis, eczema has made a come-back, summoned no doubt partially from my belief that if I ever needed a cast for anything it would surely be a problem. My self-talk has been crazy positive, but alas, it has made my hand a crone's claw. Skin fragility is a big problem/main symptom of EDS.

Hey, speaking of crones, it is almost Halloween or Samhain. I wonder if I could pretend I got the date wrong and show up every day in skirt, shawl and pointy hat? I might start a trend among the legal profession. Actually, if I am in a splint for four more weeks beginning tomorrow, that will be day for day October 31. I would be seasonal. Or delusional. 

What have others come up with for both skin care for fragile skin in a splint or cast and outfits when you can neither pull up panty hose nor tug, zip and button pants? 

And for movement while healing; please send your favorite gentle activities and ways to move in any way while putting along until full speed becomes a reality once more. I know it will, but having patience is another story.

Please share in comments.



1 comment:

  1. I hope you find plenty of patience to sustain you through recovery. Do all you can in the meantime to visualize the best outcome possible.


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