Saturday, September 6, 2014


my Saturday morning story ... i've come to the conclusion that, when push comes to shove, one mustn't ignore the push because it means the universe is fully expecting you to move in a new direction.

i have to think like this right now because my days, of late, are (BEYOND) super bipolar in nature, bipolar inside bipolar x50 grams of bipolar with bipolar sugar sprinkled on top.

some back story here includes that my brain and my behavior “mimics bipolarity” since my stroke at age 40.  so that’s my given this last 12 years.  that's how i rock on, hard, but it's also how i sometimes roll over and play really, really dead in the head.

the first time i was told this, i was relieved, “whoa, dude and dudettes, i’m not really bipolar, i’m just going to ACT bipolar.”

yeah, so looks like a duck, smells like a duck, is.a.DUCK, a duck that is totally fucked up!

me, this duck, a bit over two weeks ago i had a CMC joint (base of the thumb) arthroplasty with the “new joint” being built using a tendon in my arm as a cushion to “mimic cartilage.”

MIMIC?!?!?!  are we seeing a theme here?

anyhoo … i was more than ready for this procedure as my right hand began to degenerate about ten years ago, ramped up over the last five years and became now stage 4, no cartilage left, starting to deform and i basically had no grip or other strength in the hand, and severe, BEYOND SEVERE, pain.  my left hand is not far behind.

that being said, i was still doing all the things, many things because, hello, nucking futz!

when the right thumb joint was beyond “burnt,"  and i could barely get through the day, i scheduled several orthopedic visits, had one last steroid shot to help cushion and reduce pain in my right hand (didn’t last long/didn’t work much), had x-rays and scheduled the surgery (right hand) and further steriods (left hand).

you can read about the condition, surgery options, outcomes, etc. here.  you can see the surgery here.  you can see the process of steroid injections of the joint here, which i've had them done in the office (not without swearing) and this last time, i had the left hand done while under anesthetic (to prevent swearing).  

or, you may or may not want to read or watch any of this because ... yeah, gory!

right now, today, i’m in the “omg, get this fucking cast off/cast is finally off” phase of things.  the cast had been on for two weeks, the first week a PAIN BEYOND PAINFUL BLURrrrr, and the second week less so, helping me to realize i had done the right thing and could look forward (someday) to chronic pain-free days and return of all functions/strength.

this next four weeks i’m stuck in the “omg, omg, can we please take off this fucking form-fitted, hard plastic splint and get down to real business” phase of things, wherein pain and swelling are decreasing.  deep and superficial healing is taking place. however, when it comes to range of motion and strength, i’m forbidden to use the hand (aside from the somewhat free fingers).  

i must elevate thy right hand over my heart as often as possible.  there is much icing, warm water soaks and dressing changes.  

there is the delightful range of motion exercising (splint off), in the air or in warm water.  this consists of “mimicking” a pincer grasp, but i'm not allowed to really "pinch" anything.  there is the touching of each fingertip to the thumb tip, but no finger-snapping or actual hitchhiking.  i'm allowed to draw tiny circles, round around with my thumb, but holding a pencil and a try at writing is off limits (as is EVERYTHING ELSE).   i'm allowed to "mimic" a fist, but i cannot hit anyone or pick up even a coffee cup!

MIMIC???! are you crazy yet?

i am.

so if i wasn’t “crazy” before, what with my “mimicking” bipolar brain activity, imagine me now!

i’m uber-crazy, a super-duper version of crazy, a trip on acid on an acid trip!

i’m all like, “so glad i did this, long road ahead, but i CAN do this … omg, OMG, OMG, why did i do this, WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE … no we’re not, it’s going to be fine, just follow the rules—rest, elevate, BREATHE DAMMIT! … omg, whatever?!?!? i don’t have to follow the rules, watch this, okay, OUCH, OMG, OMG, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE, WHY DID I DO THIS?!?!?!  WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING?!?!”

i did this because i was to the end of the rope, in pain and had lost so much function of daily living! 

i did this because everything that gives me joy, breathes life into my soul, is done with my right hand--with both hands--to include (but not limited to) family, working, playing, traveling, hand-holding, hugging really hard, cooking, art, writing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, walking my dogs, riding my bike (have not been able to do in YEARS), gardening, etc.

i did it because i’m 52 years old and i have life left to live WITH BOTH HANDS.

i did this because both hands have to be done, so i really needed to get this right-hand dominant party started, paving the way for the left.  

i did this because it's going to be a long haul of healing one hand, moving on to the other, getting full two-handed/FOREVER strength back.  

i needed to start and finish this, so i could start all over again and then finally move forward!

yep, i did this!  i was brave.

the pain week one/ post surgery was 50-times worse than the daily preop pain (which had been off its own fucked up chart), but the next week was better.  by week two, yes, i could see and feel that the pain was going to dissipate which meant that some day (over that bright sparkling rainbow) i would be chronic severe pain-free, once both hands were done!!!!!!!

i’m able, as well, to see, believe (and feel blessed) that the surgery was a success and that hand function will return (strength too), though it’s a lesson of patience, perseverance, following the rules and “asking for help” when i need it.  

that latter one, i've always needed training on that one, but i sucked it up, asking for help from my ortho team (the hand gods), my family and friends.

it has paid off!

but the last weeks have not been without their bipolar on top of bipolar moments, with mass anxiety and depression mixed in.  it’s been a trip, thus far, but a worthy journey. 

so, this morning, i got up, took 800 mg of ibuprofen (no more narcotics!), made my iced coffee, took my meds (yes, "those meds") and managed the following one-handed activities: got all the pillows back on the couches and the beds (my sig other made the beds), watered plants indoors.  i perused and plucked (one-handed) at the gardens outside, hitching the dogs to their leads and letting them frolic (attached to the house/not either of my hands).  

i accepted a wee bit of work for the weekend (i can keyboard, just slowly/must wear the brace/and left hand on space bar and mouse).

AND i started writing this. (it’s taken so long, you can’t imagine —faster than most, i suppose, but so not my normal.)

beyond that, if i manage to get this posted with photos and links, it will be a dream!  if today, the only thing i get out of otherwise idle activity (have to do my home PT and then ice and elevate for an hour or so and watch an old movie) is that my blog reopened, well then! 

we’re not ALL GOING TO DIE!  (okay, we might, just not today.)

i am getting somewhere, which is why i’m clinging (one-handed) to my new adage in that:

... i've come to the conclusion that, when push comes to shove, one mustn't ignore the push because it means the universe is fully expecting you to move in a new direction.

it's true, i CAN’T work at normal speed, but i’ve also in the last 24 hours figured out a way to still do what i love career-wise, slightly revamped, but still fulfilling.  

i CAN'T reap the financial benefits full-time, but i CAN be thankful that i'm not alone in this either, with a roof over my head and a supportive partner and family.

i CAN’T drive, though in two weeks, probably so … so not a real problem.

i CAN’T walk all three dogs at once, but i CAN (starting next week) walk them one at a time, around the block (left-handed) and get a three-block walk in, in total.  a week after that, i CAN go back to the gym, treadmill and stationary bike, at the very least. 

i CAN’T sew, knit, crochet, hold a pencil (or anything else), write freehand (or very fast on the keyboard), vacuum (who would want too?), stand on my head, do yoga poses, etc. but i CAN try later today to “tear some paper.”  

i CAN play around with and post my art/etc. in my dormant Etsy shop. i CAN daydream about new projects.  

i CAN read books and burn up my Kindle.  i CAN edit and organize what's already been written, work on submissions, etc., tap the keyboard with rest periods (lots of them) and talk-to-text a grocery list even though it will end up not making sense!

i CAN watch old movies, new movies, documentaries, docudramas, reality shows, home shopping (FASCINATING), nature shows, sitcoms, etc.

i CAN have people come over and/or take me places ... also not a problem since my norm is to NOT invite people over or go places with them, solitary introverted soul am i.

i CAN peruse the house and yard (surgery hand held tight to my chest/over my heart of hearts), wash/dry/fold clothes, fluff pillows, water plants, clean the toilets and tweak all the edges of things (still feeling like i’m in control of my castle).

for the rest, and there is a very lot under that category of “for the rest,” well, for the rest i’m learning TO ASK FOR HELP!

so, already in this journey, this bipolar-ish, anxiety-ridden, depression-inducing time in my life (atop my regular bipolar-ish, anxiety-ridden, depression-inducing regular state of brain affairs) is making me see all the new directions. 

collateral damage, thus far —wait, wait, stop the crazy train! 

let’s start that over … the INCIDENTAL GAINS AND GIFTS thus far include:  a. i CAN ask for help (with only minor posturing, cringing and brow-furrowing), and b. i reopened my blog.

so there!  i give you where i started from and where i'm headed ... push came to shove ... and beyond ...

row 1:  what it is/what i hope it will be, surgery/home day one on ice with one of the three dogs, pain meds etc.
row 2:  dog helper/11-year-old grand girl Scarlet, mom comes over to help me shower, and finally two weeks later reveal day!
row 3:  instructions (can i do this?), i can do this, WE ARE DOING THIS!


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