My First Surgery: Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release

*Trigger warning* This post talks about surgery


So my hands haven’t been in the best shape for a while. I’ve had carpal tunnel in both hands for years now. I’ve had constant numbness and occasional pain. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and my hands are so numb they don’t feel like they’re a part of my body anymore. I guess it was all the years of typing papers for college and grad school (one semester in grad school I had to write/type three 15 page+ papers for finals), not to mention my needle-point hobbies that did it.

A few months ago I’d had enough. I went to my doctor, got a referral to a specialist, had a nerve test on both arms (painful and very, very uncomfortable), and found out I had moderate to severe nerve damage in both hands. Like I said, I wasn’t surprised. I pretty much knew at this point that all the wrist braces in the world weren’t going to help. The only option was surgery.

Which scared me. I’d never had surgery before, never been under anesthesia before. Never had to deal with recovery before. (This is probably a good time to tell you that I have a severe anxiety disorder, so any additional stress in my life is pretty rough). But I didn’t have a choice, the longer I waited, the worse the damage to my hands would be.

So I scheduled the surgery. And waited. Which is the worst part. What would anesthesia feel like? Would I wake up in a lot of pain? Would I be able to get by with only one functioning hand for weeks? I lost some sleep, but actually managed to get several hours the night before (thank you meds).

The morning of the surgery I woke up before my alarm (of course) and showered with the mandatory hospital soap. I couldn’t shave, use body lotion, or skincare. Eww. When we got to the hospital (which was the old one in town and looked like the perfect setting for some 80s medical drama), and finally found where pre op was, I changed into the gross hospital gown (which was made of paper) and waited. Thankfully they started an IV and gave me some fluids because I was super dehydrated from not being allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. During this time the surgeon and anesthesiologist came by to discuss what was going to happen (and let’s face it, reassure me).

Finally, it was time. My sweet anesthesiologist gave me something midazolam? to help me relax. She actually had to give me two doses because the first didn’t help much. When they wheeled me into the surgery, things went pretty fast. I rolled onto the operating table and they started applying the electrode patches all over me. I just barely remember having the breathing mask over my face before waking up in recovery! Best magic trick ever!

(just three stitches! Three now itchy, itchy, stitches)

From what I can tell, I was in recovery for about an hour waking up. My recovery nurse was a dick (pardon my French). He kept complaining about “all the women” in recovery moaning in pain and waking up confused. He definitely needs to rethink his career choice. Pain doesn’t discriminate based on gender. What a jerk. Anyways, my husband came to see me once I had woken up and got dressed. Then I got to go home! And man, did I eat. I was so hungry after fasting for so long. I had several small dinners that night!

Currently (5 days post-op), I’m just trying to take it easy and not use my hand too much. (Aside from typing this blog post) I’m able to dress myself and shower, which I wasn’t able to do too well until a couple days ago. My husband has been picking up a lot of the slack when it comes to housework and cooking. And of course my dog Otis is being the best little nurse ever. He watches me, follows me around the house, and gives lots of cuddles!

How about you? Ever had surgery? Were you nervous?

Have you read my last blog post? You can here!


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