12 Steps to Recovery After Hand Surgery
First let me say, I’m no expert, I share only with the hope that my experience might help someone else. I’ve simply survived. 12 weeks down and I have made it through not only one, but two surgical procedures! I had CMC basal joint arthroplasty AND carpal tunnel on my dominant hand, at the same time. If you’ve had any procedure you probably know this feeling, kind-of like when you buy a new car and suddenly everywhere you look you SEE that car. While walking around all gimped up folks tend to come out of the wood work, they see your condition and share their stories…
STEP 1. Trust the process, don’t listen to nay sayers, and only accept the good. I can’t tell you how surprised I was to hear folks eager share their negative experience after the same surgery. If you did your homework and picked a great doctor, trust the process.
STEP 2. Let others do for you. Ok, this is where I’m saying do as I say, not as I do. Yep, I find it very difficult to let others do for me. I carried in too much weight in groceries and paid for it in pain. I was only supposed to pick up the weight of a coffee cup for the first 6 weeks. Our chunky chihuahua weighs a bit more than that again, I paid. Vacuuming is an compulsion for me, I did it and I paid dearly. Ok listen, LET OTHERS DO FOR YOU. Got that one, took me some painful times but I finally got it.
STEP 3. Whatever optimistic lists you made prior to surgery of things you were going to do during recovery, it’s okay just throw it out the window. It ain’t gonna happen sweetheart. Never thought all my drive would’ve left with recovery, but it did. The books I’d planned on reading while down, I couldn’t maintain a desire to get into. Oh well, let it go.
STEP 4. Pain medicine is there for a reason, use it! I’ve always been one to shy away from meds, meds and surgery. My family will tell you I’m the queen of vitamins and supplements but hate the need for pharmaceutical medicine and try to avoid doctors at all costs. I eat clean, whole foods and try to take care of my health. But during recovery, suck it up buttercup. Suck it up and take the meds. I’m heading into detox mode now to recover.
STEP 5. RICE. No not the starchy kind, the Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation kind. I found that a really large foam block was useful in elevating my hand at home and when I drove for any great distance. It was a shock absorber of sorts. Prop your hand up at night, wedged between pillows, elevate! Just do it. If you don’t trust me, you’ll pay.
STEP 6. Prayer. This really ought to be step one. Ask for prayer and accept encouragement. A physical recovery consists of spiritual support as well. To heal we have to cover all the bases, physical, emotional, and spiritual. You’re not weak, you’re just not well. You’ll recover better and more steadily with prayer support. Which leads right into…
STEP 7. Make time for friends. The last few weeks of recovery were the best for me. Why? Because I got to spend quality time with good girlfriends, giggling. They were awesome to see my weakness and helped carry my purchases at the Houston International Quilt Festival. In fact, time with them and subsequent time with my ol schoolmate Denise in Huntsville Alabama, was distraction enough that I found I no longer needed nerve and pain meds. Healthy recovery has to consist of laughter. Yes, it is the best medicine, that and time with good friends.
STEP 8. Do your physical therapy. I found the timer on my phone helped. It was tricky at times to keep on track while on my travels but, trust me. It does pay off!
STEP 9. Go easy on you. (If you don’t blog for months, the world won’t end.) Hopefully, you’ll have folks checking in on you and still reaching out, knowing you’ll be back. Accept you’re weak and it’s for a season. You’ll be back in full form in time. Time…it really does heal all wounds.
STEP 10. Embrace mindless distraction, for me it was Pinterest. Pinterest or as my friend Kathie said the Hallmark channel on TV. Whatever’s a good healthy distraction embrace it. I thought I’d dive into Craftsy. If you read my blog you know I should have. But honestly, it’s back to that “I didn’t have the desire to do so,” or even to BE me. Weird I know, go easy on yourself it’s going to be ok.
STEP 11 Celebrate the small stuff and be thankful. Our gratitude determines our attitude toward recovery. I found that something as simple as applying Jojoba oil with lavender and gardenia essential oil multiple times a day was awesome to help with scaring. Grateful it was a small thing with a big impact! And oh yes, elastic waistbands! They are your friend, time to embrace those cute print leggings that are so in style now but, be careful they can be the bane of your waist’s shape and existence. Be grateful, be cautious. 😉
STEP 12 Healing and health will come. It just takes time. Back to step one, trust the process.
(This post was inspired by Mrs. Jerry. Prayers for your speedy recovery love! If you reader have experienced this procedure or anything like it what did you find helped? I’d love your feedback. Thanks 🙂
Next post? Back on track, headed into creativity…