Friday, February 11, 2011

Elective Surgery - yes please cut me open!

We all know that we are supposed to prepare for whatever may come.  One of the items is health care.  There is lots of talk about which types of medications we should have on hand.  Make sure your medical supplies are in order.  We all know we are supposed to exercise and eat right.  Make sure you get in shape and stay in shape.  You are less likely to injure yourself if you have good muscle tone.  What about minor things that could be fixed with surgery?  Should you have elective surgery to fix something now? 

There may not be reliable health care in future times so we really need to seriously consider things that don’t quite work on our bodies and see if we can get them fixed.  If Lasik surgery will correct your need to wear glasses, should you have the surgery?  What about dental work?  Putting off getting something done because you hate the dentist?  For me, I have a couple of fingers that don’t quite work or feel right.  My elbow feels like my funny bone has been hit.  The problem is called ulnar neuritis, which is a nerve inflammation. This causes the destruction of the nerve covering or possibly even the nerve itself. 

About a year ago I went to the doctor to complain about my fingers.  I was put through a series of tests and told to take ibuprofen.  I was told that the symptoms should go away in a couple of months.  They didn’t.  Other treatments were tried.  It’s now a year later.  I went to the doctor yesterday for a regular checkup.  My infected finger is doing much better.  The doctor asked if there was anything else that’s not working properly.  Yes, my fingers on my left hand.  So he sent me to the specialist once again. 

That appointment was for today.  The doctor said the ulnar neuritis is still there; I could have told him that!  He said that as long as it isn’t continuously tingling and numb it isn’t a problem.  Then it is a problem because it is continuously tingling and numb.  I’ve even gotten a pillow to rest my arm and elbow on when I type and drive.  It hasn’t helped.  The doctor then did a couple more tests and said I have the choice: surgery or no surgery.  If I don’t have the surgery my hand may get a “claw-like” deformity (right now my two fingers will bend inward more than the two fingers on my right hand when I am at rest).  I can have difficulty moving the fingers.  The muscles in my hand may waste away (there’s evidence of minor muscle wasting).  And finally, there can be a weakness in my wrist and when I’m bending my hand.  So I chose surgery.  It’s scheduled next month. 


  1. Glad and sad for you. Glad that things will be taken care of, and sad for the downtime to heal.

    you bring to mind a few thoughts about health and healthcare. Why didn't the doctor explain the potential losses earlier? Surgery could be over and healing done. I know I have neck and shoulder problems from throwing too much batting practice, but where will it put me in the future?

    Hope you heal quickly.


  2. I just didn't follow up last time with the doctor. He said it should be better in a month or two. It wasn't so I just figured I'd live with it. If I did a follow up at that time then I would have been given the option of surgery or waiting then. I probably would have given it more time to try to get it to heal on its own. After a year, healing time is over. Down time shouldn't be too long. The doctor said I should be using my hand that same day and bending my elbow starting the next day. I just won't be able to lift with my left hand for about a month. Good thing I'm right handed.