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Old 05-20-2012, 08:42 AM   #1
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Had basal joint surgery 5/2/2012

Had this same surgery 5/2/2012. I'm about 2 1/2 weeks out now. Pain is decreasing but I'm surprised at how much I still have.

Went back to work Friday half days--16 days post op as a special ed teacher. I'm a bit concerned about managing pain and swelling. I'm still on 600mg ibuprofen every 4 hours and prescribed meds (1/2 darvocet) at night. Still lots of intermittent swelling where I have to elevate and ice to get it down--does this subside somewhat? Anyone else have experience with trying to get back to work while recovering? This has turned out to be more extensively disabling in the short term than I thought it would be. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

In my hard cast (which I'll wear until 6/18) i can move my fingers and the top thumb joint. Should I be stretching and using the hand, or keeping it all immobile until cast removal? Doc hasn't given me too many instructions/restrictions?

I also have a shop online where sell handmade goods. I've stocked up--but I'm wondering how many months I'll be unable to cut and/or sew--trying to be realistic in planning for the holidays this year

Any advice on what's ahead and what I can expect? I've been looking over old threads,and was hoping for some more current info.

 
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:08 AM   #2
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Quote:
Originally Posted by thmbsup View Post
Had this same surgery 5/2/2012. I'm about 2 1/2 weeks out now. Pain is decreasing but I'm surprised at how much I still have.

Went back to work Friday half days--16 days post op as a special ed teacher. I'm a bit concerned about managing pain and swelling. I'm still on 600mg ibuprofen every 4 hours and prescribed meds (1/2 darvocet) at night. Still lots of intermittent swelling where I have to elevate and ice to get it down--does this subside somewhat? Anyone else have experience with trying to get back to work while recovering? This has turned out to be more extensively disabling in the short term than I thought it would be. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

In my hard cast (which I'll wear until 6/18) i can move my fingers and the top thumb joint. Should I be stretching and using the hand, or keeping it all immobile until cast removal? Doc hasn't given me too many instructions/restrictions?

I also have a shop online where sell handmade goods. I've stocked up--but I'm wondering how many months I'll be unable to cut and/or sew--trying to be realistic in planning for the holidays this year

Any advice on what's ahead and what I can expect? I've been looking over old threads,and was hoping for some more current info.
Hi thmbsup,

No you should not be using your hand nor stretching it. Its ok to move your fingers & the tip of your thumb. You need to elevate the arm as much as you can. You also need to elevate your arm on a stack of pillows when you are asleep. This helps take down the swelling & enables the blood to flow properly.

I was off work for 4 months so I cant advise you about working after surgery.

I cant tell you for how long a peroid of time you will not be able to cut & sew as we all heal at a different pace. You will most likely go into some kind of splint when your cast is removed. Maybe you will have to wear it 24/7 or partially. Your doctor will tell you.

Once you start physiotherapy, gradually you will be able to move your thumb & hand. Its a slow process & you need to be very patient with yourself & give your hand & thumb time to heal.

Its best to ask your doctor or physiotherapist all the questions about your recovery.

If you dont use your hand, the pain you are experiencing now will indeed subside.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Haydena.

 
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Welcome thumbsup! You are a little over a week behind me with your surgery. My hard cast comes off Wed. Sorry I can't help with your questions. The only thing I was told is to flex my fingers several times a day. Other than that I've kept my hand elevated with pillows and ice when needed. Keeping it elevated really helps with swelling. I'm sure someone will be along that can give you advice. The ladies here have been so helpful to me. One suggestion which was given to me was to read through the thread for helpful hints.

Out of curiosity, what do you teach? Before I retired I was an SED teacher for adolescents. Hope you have a good assistant to help you in the classroom.

Just saw Haydena's post. She has some great advice. Just to add, I read an early post in which one lady pinned two pillows together and stuffed several rolled up and banded towels into the center then slid her am in between them. It is a great way to keep your hand elevated even at night in bed.

Lyn

Last edited by ArthritisPain; 05-20-2012 at 11:23 AM.

 
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Old 05-20-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Thanks so much Haydena and ArthritisPain...I SO appreciate your responses and helpful info. I think my doc forgets that while he has done thousands of these surgeries--it's my FIRST one--ha, ha! Not to mention, my surgery was on my very dominant right hand.

My biggest weaknesses (hyperactivity and high self expectations) do not fit well with the recovery process So, it sounds like the best medicine is to keep this puppy elevated 90% of the time. I'm working mornings 8-11:30 until school is out (6/14), and I'm starting to even question the wisdom of this. I'm going to give tomorrow a try, and if the swelling and pain continue, I may ask my dr. to put me on disability for the next 3 weeks--UGH! I have to remember that I am replaceable at work, but I am the ONLY one who can really ensure that my outcome from this procedure will be optimum.

I did buy a counter-top blow dryer stand from e-bay recommended by my hair stylist, and was actually able to blow my hair dry one-handed and come out looking halfway decent this morning--hooray!!! My DH has been invaluable, but I think he's a bit happy to be relieved of this particular duty.

Again, thank you so much for your help--I hope I haven't done too much damage with the limited use I've attempted. Luckily, pain and swelling have kept me in check. But starting this very minute--I'm being a good girl.

Last edited by moderator2; 05-20-2012 at 02:24 PM.

 
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haydena View Post
Hi thmbsup,

No you should not be using your hand nor stretching it. Its ok to move your fingers & the tip of your thumb. You need to elevate the arm as much as you can. You also need to elevate your arm on a stack of pillows when you are asleep. This helps take down the swelling & enables the blood to flow properly.

I was off work for 4 months so I cant advise you about working after surgery.

I cant tell you for how long a peroid of time you will not be able to cut & sew as we all heal at a different pace. You will most likely go into some kind of splint when your cast is removed. Maybe you will have to wear it 24/7 or partially. Your doctor will tell you.

Once you start physiotherapy, gradually you will be able to move your thumb & hand. Its a slow process & you need to be very patient with yourself & give your hand & thumb time to heal.

Its best to ask your doctor or physiotherapist all the questions about your recovery.

If you dont use your hand, the pain you are experiencing now will indeed subside.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Haydena.
Thanks so much Haydena and ArthritisPain...I SO appreciate your responses and helpful info. I think my doc forgets that while he has done thousands of these surgeries--it's my FIRST one--ha, ha! Not to mention, my surgery was on my very dominant right hand.

My biggest weaknesses (hyperactivity and high self expectations) do not fit well with the recovery process So, it sounds like the best medicine is to keep this puppy elevated 90% of the time. I'm working mornings 8-11:30 until school is out (6/14), and I'm starting to even question the wisdom of this. I'm going to give tomorrow a try, and if the swelling and pain continue, I may ask my dr. to put me on disability for the next 3 weeks--UGH! I have to remember that I am replaceable at work, but I am the ONLY one who can really ensure that my outcome from this procedure will be optimum.

I did buy a counter-top blow dryer stand from e-bay recommended by my hair stylist, and was actually able to blow my hair dry one-handed and come out looking halfway decent this morning--hooray!!! My DH has been invaluable, but I think he's a bit happy to be relieved of this particular duty.

Again, thank you so much for your help--I hope I haven't done too much damage with the limited use I've attempted. Luckily, pain and swelling have kept me in check. But starting this very minute--I'm being a good girl.
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:15 PM   #6
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Quote:
Originally Posted by thmbsup View Post
Thanks so much Haydena and ArthritisPain...I SO appreciate your responses and helpful info. I think my doc forgets that while he has done thousands of these surgeries--it's my FIRST one--ha, ha! Not to mention, my surgery was on my very dominant right hand.

My biggest weaknesses (hyperactivity and high self expectations) do not fit well with the recovery process So, it sounds like the best medicine is to keep this puppy elevated 90% of the time. I'm working mornings 8-11:30 until school is out (6/14), and I'm starting to even question the wisdom of this. I'm going to give tomorrow a try, and if the swelling and pain continue, I may ask my dr. to put me on disability for the next 3 weeks--UGH! I have to remember that I am replaceable at work, but I am the ONLY one who can really ensure that my outcome from this procedure will be optimum.

I did buy a counter-top blow dryer stand from e-bay recommended by my hair stylist, and was actually able to blow my hair dry one-handed and come out looking halfway decent this morning--hooray!!! My DH has been invaluable, but I think he's a bit happy to be relieved of this particular duty.

Again, thank you so much for your help--I hope I haven't done too much damage with the limited use I've attempted. Luckily, pain and swelling have kept me in check. But starting this very minute--I'm being a good girl.
Very good idea to ask your doctor for 3 weeks disability. You will benefit alot from it.
You need now to think of yourself first. Its your time to heal & recover properly.

You are welcome to ask any questions that may pop into your head. We are a great bunch of very supportive, kind ladies here, who love to help others.

Please keep us informed of your progress.

Haydena.

 
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:36 PM   #7
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Thumbs up Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

just checking in with a progress report

I'm 4 weeks post op now and FINALLY back to work part time (8:00 - 11:30 am.) I now have the use of my fingers without pain--still not really using the hand, but I can use the fingers for stability occasionally and I can write on the white board using my fingers to hold the marker (very limited--I'm having my students do most of my "writing" for me.) Limited typing now too!

As for pain and swelling--swelling is now intermittent, mostly when I'm more active. Pain is not really an issue except in the evening. I still take advil every 4 hours during the day. I do start aching and hurting at around 7 pm every night. Enough that I'm taking 1/2 a percocet for relief.

I get ready for work at night and then in the morning my hubby puts my bra on (ha,ha) and packs me lunch and snacks for the day--he's been wonderful.

One question I have--my cast is pretty loose now that the swelling has subsided. My thumb can move around a bit (even though it's pretty numb.) Do I need to call the doctor about getting a new snugger cast? That's pretty much my biggest complaint right now--THE CAST IS DRIVING ME NUTS!!! It feels like I have a hot, itchy, heavy, wool sock on my hand--I want it off so bad

Anyway, I hope everyone else is doing well and progressing. I'm looking forward to the day when I will feel that this whole process was actually worth the pain, frustration and inconvenience.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:01 AM   #8
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Quote:
Originally Posted by thmbsup View Post
just checking in with a progress report

I'm 4 weeks post op now and FINALLY back to work part time (8:00 - 11:30 am.) I now have the use of my fingers without pain--still not really using the hand, but I can use the fingers for stability occasionally and I can write on the white board using my fingers to hold the marker (very limited--I'm having my students do most of my "writing" for me.) Limited typing now too!

As for pain and swelling--swelling is now intermittent, mostly when I'm more active. Pain is not really an issue except in the evening. I still take advil every 4 hours during the day. I do start aching and hurting at around 7 pm every night. Enough that I'm taking 1/2 a percocet for relief.

I get ready for work at night and then in the morning my hubby puts my bra on (ha,ha) and packs me lunch and snacks for the day--he's been wonderful.

One question I have--my cast is pretty loose now that the swelling has subsided. My thumb can move around a bit (even though it's pretty numb.) Do I need to call the doctor about getting a new snugger cast? That's pretty much my biggest complaint right now--THE CAST IS DRIVING ME NUTS!!! It feels like I have a hot, itchy, heavy, wool sock on my hand--I want it off so bad

Anyway, I hope everyone else is doing well and progressing. I'm looking forward to the day when I will feel that this whole process was actually worth the pain, frustration and inconvenience.
Hi Thmbsup,

If your cast is not well-fitting due to your hand being less swollen, then yes, you should call your doctor & tell him this. Casts usually have to be snug fitting. If he does remove your cast, cream it well before he fits the new cast
onto your hand/arm, the moisturizing of the cream is what your skin really needs. He may however decide to relieve you of the cast & give you some kind of splint.

You also need to ask him if you are allowed to use your hand & thumb as you are doing now. I think you ache & have pain around 7pm because you have over-used your hand during the day.

No need to suffer in silence & I hope you get this matter resolved soon.

Haydena.

 
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:13 PM   #9
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthritisPain View Post
Welcome thumbsup! You are a little over a week behind me with your surgery. My hard cast comes off Wed. Sorry I can't help with your questions. The only thing I was told is to flex my fingers several times a day. Other than that I've kept my hand elevated with pillows and ice when needed. Keeping it elevated really helps with swelling. I'm sure someone will be along that can give you advice. The ladies here have been so helpful to me. One suggestion which was given to me was to read through the thread for helpful hints.

Out of curiosity, what do you teach? Before I retired I was an SED teacher for adolescents. Hope you have a good assistant to help you in the classroom.

Just saw Haydena's post. She has some great advice. Just to add, I read an early post in which one lady pinned two pillows together and stuffed several rolled up and banded towels into the center then slid her am in between them. It is a great way to keep your hand elevated even at night in bed.

Lyn
Hi again,

I teach RSP Resource, elementary school level. I have several SED students this year (which is why I'm back already.) I'm really just "limping along" at work. End of year testing/placement and other wrap up. My motto is "whatever doesn't get done, doesn't get done "

Did you use your fingers much while in the hard cast? Also, how is your pain level now? My cast is literally driving me crazy--I'm calling my doctor Monday to talk about pain, and how loose my cast is now that the swelling has subsided considerably--may beg to get it off a few days early!

Take Care!
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:45 PM   #10
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Smile Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

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Originally Posted by thmbsup View Post
I'm so sorry to hear that you are having such a rough time. I'm only 5 weeks out today and still overwhelmed at times by just how extensive this surgery/recovery process is. I'm going in tomorrow morning for a new cast (the one I have is so loose that I'm stuffing pantyhose in to stabilize it--PA got a good chuckle at that one.) I'll be two weeks in the new hard cast--then on to the splint and PT...

I have the summer off (RSP Special Education Teacher.) So, I REALLY hope that I make good progress before school starts again in late August. I am so appreciative of the information posted by the users of this board. I have severely revised my "time frame" for my desired recovery. I hope the 3 month mark will be very positive, but I'm mentally prepared now for a longer battle thanks to you all

Sending positive thoughts and "hugs" out to those still struggling

After my cast was removed I had to wear a gauntlet style brace for 4 weeks.
My scar site was still sore and very sensitive. I used several panti-liners stuck together to cushion the area. I know it sounds odd, but they worked well and didn't show on the outside.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:21 PM   #11
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Thanks for the tip GingerTea..I'll make sure to have some panty liners on hand. My incision site is the only really irritation right now--feels like an itchy rug burn that doesn't quit, usually in the evenings. Pain flares only occasionally now; and my biggest irritation continues to be the cast.
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Old 06-09-2012, 01:51 AM   #12
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Got the new cast yesterday. They took mercy on me and made it much smaller this time. The majority of my thumb is now free, all my fingers, and the top inch or so of my palm are exposed. Just that little bit of freedom and the tighter fit have been wonderful. I'm now allowed to use the exposed thumb to support lifting anything equal to or lighter than a soda can. I also can touch the tip of the thumb to the index finger.

I'm still really looking forward to getting this thing off so I can peel off the rest of the dead skin and start physical therapy. School's out after four more days, and I'll be taking it slow but steady through the 9 weeks of summer. I'll be at 16 weeks post op when I go back to school--keeping my fingers crossed for good results

Wishing everyone a happy weekend~
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Old 06-09-2012, 03:50 AM   #13
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Quote:
Originally Posted by thmbsup View Post
Got the new cast yesterday. They took mercy on me and made it much smaller this time. The majority of my thumb is now free, all my fingers, and the top inch or so of my palm are exposed. Just that little bit of freedom and the tighter fit have been wonderful. I'm now allowed to use the exposed thumb to support lifting anything equal to or lighter than a soda can. I also can touch the tip of the thumb to the index finger.

I'm still really looking forward to getting this thing off so I can peel off the rest of the dead skin and start physical therapy. School's out after four more days, and I'll be taking it slow but steady through the 9 weeks of summer. I'll be at 16 weeks post op when I go back to school--keeping my fingers crossed for good results

Wishing everyone a happy weekend~
Hi thmbsup,

Good to hear you have a better fitting cast on now & that you can touch the tip of your index finger with your thumb.

When your cast comes off it is advisable for you to cream (hydrate) the dead skin as much as you can & not peel it off as this could lead to an infection.

Wishing you happy holidays & successful healing.

Haydena.

 
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:23 PM   #14
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Re: going through the basal joint surgery process - at least, my story

Thmbsup, Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. To answer your question about using your fingers while in the cast, my surgeon told me it was okay to move them and I used them. Had the cast for a month. Now I have a splint to wear for a month. Periodically throughout the day I remove the splint and do 4 exercises the doc said to do. He said to be sure to wear the splint when I go out and at night to sleep with. My thumb aches after the exercises but a cocktail of Tylenol and Advil takes care of the pain. A retired orthopedic nurse told me about taking 2 Tylenol and 2 advil together to help with pain and it's proved to be a lifesaver since I do not want to take narcotics.

I do not much pain per se, just some aching and my hand is very weak. My thumb is still stiff and sore but I can see progress with range of motion. The splint does rub which adds to the soreness so I bought some soft fleece to wrap my hand with prior to putting on the splint. Hope the new cast is working out better.

Ginger, my surgeon gave me the magic 3 months also. I sure can understand about your other deteriorating. My left hand is getting worse due to having to do all the work.

csidney, I am so sorry to hear of all your problems. Have you thought of getting another opinion if you can't get answers when your hubby goes with you to see your surgeon? I know there are surgeons who specialize in difficult cases.

Haydena, You must be so excited with a new grandbaby due next month.

Janet, Hope you are enjoying your trips and it gives you a break from the problems with your hand.

Take care, ladies!

Lyn

 
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:48 PM   #15
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Re: Had basal joint surgery 5/2/2012

A quick update...my cast came off Monday 6/18, and had my first OT appointment Tuesday. The biggest surprise is that my wrist was completely frozen in place--won't bend at all in any direction. I'm working on my ROM exercised and wrist stretches--but the wrist situation has me concerned. Anyone else experience this?

I've got a splint that I wear at all times, unless showering or doing therapy. Hand is pretty useless, but I see incremental progress each new day. Soaking in warm water before exercises seems to really help, and of course ice afterwards. I was so excited to get the cast off, but now it's back on the Advil/Tylenol again after a few weeks of no pain--UGH!

I do have a dear friend who is an RN who has come over the last two nights to give me a "milking" massage...she's an angel

I'm hoping that everyone has been finding the answers and solutions they are seeking~
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