Friday, September 21, 2007

So what started as a bump on my finger turned into a major fooforall. Doc Izzo thought it was going to be a cyst on an arthritic joint so he put me on Celebrex. A month later the thing is bigger and starting to hurt. Eventually we go to urgent care and they are nervous. They suggest a hand specialist. Next day the pain is about a 9 and the finger looks more like a sausage with the bump a noble rider on his off-color steed. We go to the ER in Saratoga, not a great choice according to the rumors but the closest one with morphine. They let me in, check out the monster and decide to cut. They swab it with iodine and slice it open after one shot of novocaine. Nah, I need 4-5 shots I say, I'm mostly immune to novocaine. To hell with that they think and cut away. Blood pours out but no expected pus. Hmmm, they say, and debate which needle to thrust into me. I suggest more pain meds and they chuckle, thinking I must be so stoned from the one dinky shot. No, I am hurting. They select a 18 needle and drive it into the joint, looking for the mythical pus. No such luck. Well they drill and poke and no pus so they put some bandages on it and suggest I see a hand doctor.
Next day I go see Doc Izzo and after freaking out a bit he wants me to see a real specialist. So I went to see the local hot-shot orthopedic guys. The first man walks in and says "Jeez! What is that?" well, that was disappointing. I said, "You're not supposed to say that. You're supposed to say Oh, that! We can fix that right away." Well he examines it and decides it might have started as a mucous cyst but it had moved on. He calls in another doctor who goes thru the "Jeeez!" phase and they both decide to bring in Dr. Byrt, who is top dog with hands. He looks at it, freaks a bit, says he never saw anything like it and says "We have to get that taken care of, we'll schedule you for surgery tomorrow morning!"
Next day I go to the surgery center, which is a lovely building with high ceilings and windows. I get called in, dress in the gown and toddle off to the OR. Doc Byrt is there and he introduces the team, I lay down and he shoots me several times with something, maybe novocaine. Then, unlike the ER nurse, he waits for it to hit! Yeah, he doesn't want me to hurt. What a concept. It takes about 15 minutes for him to open the finger, dig out the weird tissues, scrape the bone spurs away and sew me up. The only discomfort was the scraping part when I could feel the vibrations and think about the bones being laid out in the air. Not fun. They splint me up and away I go home.
This morning I went back to the Doctor's and brought him a jar of elderberry jelly, which I understand is his favorite and which I just made from the berries down the street. We check out the stitches on the finger, they look okay, no swelling or redness and I asked him about the distinct bend at the end of the digit. "Is that ever going away?" I ask. "No." He says. "Dang." says I. Then I go my merry way and start typing the story up. I'm not sure about the exact sequence of visits and days because I saw so many doctors, but this is about the whole story. I'm pretty sure that a simple problem was worsened by the ER probing and slicing, but I can't prove anything so it doesn't matter except that I will likely go to Glens Falls ER next time and see if they can understand "I am mostly immune to pain meds, give me lots!"
Now I just have to deal with the bag of elderberries and the bag of wild grapes in the context of there being so far no stores carrying pectin to make jelly. I may extract the juice of at least the elderberries and use it to make mellomel, or fruit juiced mead. I did that last year and it was great.
I hope the finger heals fast, as I don't intend to visit Jon with a wound on my finger. I know he has MRSA, or did, and one of us might infect the other. I could lose a finger and he could lose his life, such as it is. Next week I plan to have him taste the elderberry jelly and if he responds I want to try other flavors on his tongue and see if I can get him to lick his lips when I talk about the jelly. If he responds then maybe we can get him to lick his lips on demand. That would be a good start on communication, and on showing the docs that he can still think, he just can't move.

No comments: