I went to see a new orthopedic hand doctor yesterday (Nicholas Fiore for posterity, and, speaking of posterity, the last doctor was Kimberlea Staton -- yes I use this journal to help me document my healthcare). He didn't seem to think I needed to go back into a cast, at least he didn't suggest doing so, and even recommended that I spend more time out of the splint in order to avoid additional pain due to stiffness that comes with immobilization.

He has, however, put me on a stronger NSAID than I normally take, in order to knock out any inflammation that may be causing pain. I'll be on meloxicam for three weeks and then we will see how the joint is feeling. To be honest, it seems to have been getting a little better over the past week since I had made the appointment, so who knows whether the drug will really be the reason for the healing.

It sounds like I may need to be careful with my thumb for many more years, since it is now more easily injured and, when injured, any swelling causes joint pain that sort of feeds off of itself and increases the swelling. The good news is that the bones themselves look great, with no evidence of arthritis at all.

So, tentative good news, but we'll see how it pans out.
Ah, yes, well...after a month and a half of wrapping the thumb, and another four weeks of wearing the removable cast that was made for me last time this happened, it is time to see an actual medical professional. *sigh*

To be honest, I don't think the pain is getting any worse, but it really isn't getting any better either. This may, of course, be because I'm not being as diligent as I should about not using my freaking thumb, but apparently I'm going to need to have someone in authority tell me so. I'll be leaving to see my GP in 20 minutes.

Hopefully we will be able to identify and deal with the issue much more quickly this time, since I really need to have my thumb back in time to paddle down the Middle Fork this summer. However, I am mildly concerned that it only took 3.5 years for this issue to reoccur.

If I do have to get a hard cast again, I dread the fact that this time it's happening during the hot season, since last time I did this it was September and even then it was irritatingly hot...
Some of you may remember about three and a half years ago, the days of the Black Hand. Well, it looks like repetitive stress is my BFF, and apparently I use my right thumb more than I ought. (Oh, really? How much should I be using my right thumb?) The thumb is starting to hurt in just the same manner as before. This time, however, I am aware of the danger! ;)

So, in an effort to remain separate from, and superior to, the rest of the animal kingdom, I am working to avoid going back to a big black cast on my right hand. (Honestly, after the first day of "wow, I have my first cast," it was full of craptasticness to be without my dominant hand for four weeks.) Right now I am wrapping my thumb in a plastic bandage, which gives it some minor support, as well as reminding me to avoid using the digit. If this doesn't work, I still have the removable support brace that I can wear, which will really keep me from straining the joint.

Since I went for several weeks of continuing to damage myself last time, until the agony finally sent me to the doctor, I am hoping that this will be the smart way to handle the situation, and I will allow my joint to heal without having to shred my ligament first.
Apparently, I use my right hand and thumb for everything.  Some things, believe it or not, actually require two hands.

I may end up in a ponytail for the next three weeks, because washing/conditioning/combing/gelling/scrunching my hair is ridiculous with one hand.  I can't open jars, wash dishes, write legibly, or put on a necklace.  It took me over a minute to put on my watch this morning, and I eventually had to use my mouth.

I need a manservant.
No arthritis!  The bones in my hand are beautiful, smooth, and strong.  I love my bones.  They totally rock.

I may, however, have some sort of a growth on the joint, probably a cyst.  It was hard to tell from the x-rays (and we went back to take additional shots to see) whether this was part of my bone, a sesamoid, or a soft tissue growth.  I have an appointment for an MRI on Thursday.  If it is a cyst, we will likely try a cortizone injection (ouch!) before considering any cutting.

Ha!  I feel younger already!  :)
Ok, so everyone who has been hearing me yelp every time I touch anything with my right hand will be happy to know that I have an appointment this Tuesday with a hand surgeon.  Apparently huge doses of anti-inflammatories did nothing to help my thumb joint pain.  :(

Get offa my lawn!



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