One-handed challenges

So, I have my first-ever cast.

This cast is as rigid and uncomfortable as you can imagine.
This cast is as rigid and uncomfortable as you can imagine.

After surgery, I had a partial cast that was plaster on one side and lots of soft padding on the other side, to account for swelling. And, boy, was there swelling. My fingers were sausages for about five days. But pain was minimal: I stopped the Norco (Vicodin/Tylenol) the next day because it was keeping me awake, making me foggy, and messing up my digestive system. Yes, it kept me awake; I’m also a weirdo who usually experiences the opposite sleep effect of cold medicine (which is one reason I don’t take the stuff).

Last Thursday, I had my post-operative appointment where they removed all the bandaging and I got to bend my wrist for the first time in a week. I’ll post a photo of the 12 stitches at the end of this post, so prepare your appetite. Now I have this terrible, horrible, painful cast for eight days. My outer wrist bone has become an innocent victim: It sticks out, so the hard cast squishes it 24/7, and I feel it every waking moment. I could have gone in today and had it replaced, but I really didn’t want to deal with hours of post-casting thumb pain, more time off work, and traffic — especially since I’m four days into this cast and will get a new one in another four days.

I’m currently debating the color of the new cast, though I’m thinking of buying decorative duct tape to put around the next cast so it stops catching on my clothes. It’s 2015, and casts are still this terrible?? Why???

Anyway, here is a list of things that are impossible to do if your left thumb is completely immobilized and encased in plaster:

  1. Bike outside.
  2. Floss. Those plastic “flosser” things snap instantly on rear molars if your teeth are crowded.
  3. Play the piano.
  4. Use a regular can opener.
  5. Pull open a door while holding a cup of coffee, or any unsealed container.
  6. Paint the fingernails on your other hand.
  7. Turn a mattress that also has a bed skirt under it. Remaking the bed is also a challenge, though it’s not on this list because I can use my foot to prop up the mattress while I valiantly attempt one-handed hospital corners with my “good” hand that is still not 100%.
  8. Alt-tab on a PC. It’s not the same if you have to use two hands to do it (but thankfully, I already use my other thumb on the spacebar so I’m not relearning THAT).
  9. Elliptical.
  10. Lift anything heavy, whether it’s a case of water at work or weights at the gym.
  11. Wear long-sleeved shirts/sweaters, unless they have buttons and wide cuffs.
  12. Scrub a potato. (I’m working on this one, though.)
  13. Fully shave your other armpit.
  14. Swim. (Yes, that’s my latest excuse against swimming. I’ll find more once this hand debacle is behind me.)
  15. And, last but NOT LEAST: Take a normal shower that does not involve plastic and waterproof tape.

And now for the post-op stitches photo. I’ll type a couple lines in case you want to stop scrolling. (Mom, this means you.)

I swear, it’s not bad.

Michaela said it looked like Frankenstein, which I’ll take as a compliment.

It’s really not bad at all.

It could be worse: My friend Matt was rear-ended by a car while on his bike the other day, and he has to worry about scaring customers at work with his injuries. (Yes, a car rear-ended him. In broad daylight. After he had signaled to turn, but the car decided to pass him. On a solid center line. So many WTF questions for that driver.)

Reminder: Always wear a helmet.

Okay, enough typing. Mom, if you’re still reading, here comes the photo.

Also, there are a couple Sharpie marks left. Don’t worry; those aren’t permanent.

The stitches. Coming in a few months: scar photos! I'm sure you're all excited.
The stitches. Coming in a few months: scar photos! I’m sure you’re all excited.



2 Responses to One-handed challenges

  1. Yes, really. Imagine having something like this 3D printed one instead!