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Surgeries, Narcotics, and Cysts – oh my!
Whew, what a whirlwind of a week!
I’ve had a lump in my left palm for a couple years now and it just started giving me pain in November, right when I found out I only had 5 days left on my insurance plan.
That meant I had to figure out what my lump was, get it assessed, diagnosed, and removed if necessary within 5 days.
Aka an impossible task in America’s healthcare system.
But I set an intention from the get go that it would all work out, and I would not stress out about it at all.
And you guys, I had the most amazing experience.
5 appointments in 4 days at 4 different clinics, with the most supportive hand surgeon who was more than willing to work within my very limited timeline.
Xray and MRI on Wednesday, diagnosis on Thursday, surgery on Friday.
A ganglion cyst, common but annoying cysts that grow on hands and wrists.
What was supposed to be “a shot in the arm” and a “quick procedure” became a full-on OR experience with the best (and only) anesthesia experience of my life (I remembered thinking, “I would pay for this experience” lol).
The hardest part of it all, as is usual with me, was trying to get stuck with a needle. As someone who has veins the size of a single hair, and having no water for 12 hours (as required for surgery), my veins were impossible to stick.
After 2 painful and failed attempts by 2 nurses, my anesthesiologist said he’d take care of it. He put a blood pressure cuff on my arm and got so much blood in my lower arm I thought it was going to fall off.
At this point I couldn’t watch getting stuck for the 3rd time so I turned away, but as I felt the needle go in, I heard my anesthesiologist say, “Can someone clean up the carnage?” And that’s when I saw a nurse sopping up my blood on the floor and wiping blood down the length of my arm, and I found it hysterical that “clean up the carnage” would be uttered just getting a needle in my arm.
But it worked.
He got it in, even if it required some carnage, and I was very grateful.
Shortly after I felt the rush of the anesthesia in my system, and I felt verrry happy. Whenever the nurses and doctors would check on me and ask me how I was doing, I would tell them how happy I was, and they’d laugh and say, “Good! Stay in that happy place.”
At some point, even though the anesthesia was going in my right arm, I felt my left arm going numb. I was confused until my nurse told me they had numbed my left arm with a shot, and apparently I wasn’t with it enough to even notice lol.
I was wheeled into the OR, had a mask placed on my face, and before I knew it I was waking up, and I felt SO grateful for it all (for the hand surgeon who squeezed me in last minute, for the nurses who laughed and chatted with me as they prepped me, for the anesthesiologist who cracked me up, to having the cyst removed) that I remember saying, “Thank you so much” over and over again as I came to. I then heard a doctor say, “Well, that says something of your personality if you wake up saying, “Thank you!””
And it’s true.
I felt very grateful, even euphoric (k, the euphoria might be the anesthesia talking;).
But I was in awe of how smoothly the week had gone, how kind everyone had been, and how my first (and unexpected) OR experience was so warm and caring and funny. I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything went.
I had an amazing friend help dress me and walk me to her car and get me home, my mom came over and got me lunch, and I kept freaking myself out with what felt like someone else’s dead warm numb arm attached to my body (see the videos below where I try to explain this while high on narcotics XD).
It truly was a magnificent experience, which seems weirder to say out loud than it is to say in my head.
Everything went so, so well, and I am so, so grateful.
Now here’s to nursing back to health my precious dominant hand, and as you saw in IG Stories or in the videos below, I will never take for granted opposable thumbs. Life is SO much easier with them. 🙂