Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And your 10th surgery is free

I doubt Stanford has this policy, but it sure looks like I'll be approaching this number before I'm done.

My 3rd procedure with Dr Chang this Thursday was not part of the initial plan, but the top of my hip-thumb has died and has to be removed (along with some of the metal plate and bone).  Luckily there's more bone and skin than is required for a future toe-thumb procedure or to still have a function even without a toe being sacrificed.

Watching the dying of part of my last remaining hand (even if it was formerly groin tissue and hip bone) has not been without stress, but not much has been easy the last 7 weeks and hopefully I'll be out of the woods with less than an hour under the knife. 

Thank you Billy and Alanna for the long-distance consult; I don't think I would've made it through the long weekend without it.  It was strange how comforting it was to know that I was not being paranoid, but also that I'd make most likely make it until Tuesday without having to go to the ER.

For those of you wondering where the pictures of the current state of my hip-thumb are posted...
You don't really want to see them. 
Billy even offered to fly out Friday night after seeing some snapshots of it and he's a plastic surgeon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Texas in Sept?

There is a ton of information for amputees on the internet, but the more I look (and I've spent hours and hours) the more I've started to come to grips that there just are not that many upper-extremity amputees out there.

So many great articles, videos and ads aimed at prosthetic legs users, and while I'm happy to watch things like Aimee's 12 pairs of legs, I'd really like to see even one print ad with an open water swimmer or cyclist with 3 fingers.

Until then, I may have to think about heading out to Olney for the annual dove hunt
.... and get my 40cent breakfast.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The man has got skills

My weekly checkup went ok and although the tip of my "hip-thumb" is looking pretty black, it's getting better.

Instead of posting pictures of that, here's a video/ad that was sent to me by Chris.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Playing the game

For those of you wondering when I will get a prosthetic arm:

The mailman just delivered the news from my insurance company (Anthem Blue Cross).
They rejected my appeal.
"A myoelectric arm is not medically necessary".

It looked like they were really screwing me around by saying my doctor didn't supply information that they had requested (of course the requests were via US mail and sent to me only days before their deadline).  After a long talk on the phone they told me they've received documents and are trying to decide if they've made me wait long enough.  I should get an update by Friday.  Not to fear - I have not given up.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

New purchases

This week I've been scouring the internet for gadgets that might make my life a bit easier.  Here are a few new additions (to my lock-laces and button hook):

The book was good, but didn't have much that I had not already figured out or could directly use (#2 of his 3 rules is: You don't have just 1 hand.  You have 4 fingers and a thumb.)  It did pay for itself when he shared the New England Handicapped Sports tagline "Hang out with the handicapped.  We're fun to watch."  Expect to see this on one of my shirts/bike jerseys when I can get back out there.

This week I'm going to apply for my disabled/handicap passes from the DMV, CA State Parks and National Parks.  So if easy, cheap or free parking and/or discounted camping fees sound good - I'm your guy. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pictures from the doc

Here are some photos from my doctor for those interested. 
Note:  These are surgical shots and look like they are from a text book vs a crime scene, but I realize these are not for everyone.
My hand - pts 1 and 2

I'm still not out of the woods for this procedure, but at least my elbow and shoulder are free.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Post Op and Pain Management

We went to see Dr. Chang for post op this morning. He took off the cast, took X-rays and said that everything looks great (even though John's thumb looks like a sausage to us). We then went next door where he was fitted for a splint. This will be much easier for him, as we can remove it for showers instead of wrapping his arm in plastic. The doctor told us we would need to come in 3 times per week for wound care, the PA said "I think you're mom will do just fine and you can come in just once a week.". Yippee!!! It is about a 45 minute drive each way even if it is only 20 miles. After Dr. Chang we were off to lunch in the cafeteria, then on to the pain management doctor. A one hour appointment, of which we spent approx. 15 min.with the doctor. He is going to do an injection into the neuroma on June 19th - the same day as John's pre-op for the next surgery which is scheduled for 6-25. This one will be on his middle finger, trying to free it up. We had hope to get a schedule of all the remaining surgeries today, but Dr. Chang only scheduled this one. John just wants to see that the end is in sight, even if it is going to be December or later. He is still super positive and anxious to start working out again. Can't for while as he has to keep his blood pressure down and his hand up. This did not make him happy and hopefully he can get on the bike at the club soon. Life is good and we have been enjoying beautiful weather in HMB.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Free At Last - Almost

John's surgery yesterday went very well and he is back in HMB. His hand is now free from his groin and he can put his left arm up in the air over his head. The doctor's are very pleased with the outcome and John is much more comfortable. The only hitch is that he is now in a cast up to his elbow with his three fingers sticking out and his thumb partially exposed. He has to keep the forearm elevated most of the time and especially when he is sleeping, but he does have a lot more flexibility. He is back to using his index finger and his pinky to turn pages, pick up food and work the control for Netflix, etc. My job requirements have changed quite a bit with this procedure. We go back to the doctor on Tuesday and then we should hear when the next surgery will be set. We don't anticipate it being for several months as he has to be completely healed from this one to move on to the next step. Dr. Chang did tell John that he will be getting some exercises on Tuesday to work his arm.  Life is good.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pre-op Appointment

We went for the pre-op appointment this morning and the surgery is a go on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. John is so looking forward to being free. The doctor has scheduled as an out patient procedure, with the option of keeping in the hospital overnight. Hopefully he can ome home. These have been 3 hard weeks for him being totally helpless, but he has been a trooper - always with a smile on his face for everyone. I am so proud of him - can you tell?