Things have been somewhat slowed by a complication arising from the carpal tunnel surgery I had in March. One side of my hand has swollen, is incredibly tender, and is causing horrible pain in two of my fingers and some of my arm. I've been seeing the physio at the hospital for several weeks because I've had reduced mobility at my wrist, and hypersensitivity at the site of the scar, so when things got a whole lot worse at the beginning of last week I called the physio department for advice. The physio told me to see my GP that day and also made an emergency appointment to see her the following day. Amazingly, I actually managed to get an appointment with the GP - amazing because it was almost midday when I rang and usually all appointments have been taken ten minutes after the phone lines open at 8.30am. So I got to see the GP, but it was a trainee, who was very nice, but didn't have much idea what the problem was or what to suggest, other than increasing my diuretics to try to reduce the swelling.
I saw the physio the following day - Wednesday. She also didn't know why my hand has swollen, but she thought the swelling was causing compression of the ulna nerve. Rather than seeing me in the rehab department where she usually sees me, she had told me to see her in the hand clinic in case she thought I should see a doctor. She did, and she grabbed one (I presume not literally, but I didn't follow her into the corridor to see), and the doc agreed with the physio's diagnosis as there was no evidence of infection. They decided that my appointment with the surgeon should probably be brought forward, and that came through the post two days later for 19th June. They also decided that for now I ought to use my hand as little as possible (easily done, because it's far too painful to use much anyway), have it elevated in a sling, and have some nerve-specific pain killers.
The hospital doctor had two pain killers in mind, gabapentin and amyltriptyline, but didn't have time to check through all the ingredients to see if either contain anything I'm allergic to, so instead said I should contact my GP. I phoned the GP as soon as I got home, explained the situation to the receptionist I spoke to, giving the name and contact number of the physio in case the doctor wanted to speak to them. Anyway, after the doc had finished surgery she called me back, but hadn't been able to speak to the physio so I explained it all again to her. She was lovely (as ever), and checked both drugs for potential allergens. As it turns out, I can't have amyltriptyline because it's in the same classification as a medication that I had an anaphylactic to several years ago. However, gabapentin seemed okay so she prescribed that and faxed it over to the pharmacy for me to collect as the surgery was about to close.
Gabapentin does seem to work, but it also makes me feel very nauseous, so I'm trying to cope with the pain some of the time. I say this very tentatively, but I think it might be a little bit better anyway, and I think the swelling might have gone down a bit too. I hope so because the doctor at the hospital said that nerve compression can cause long-lasting muscle weakness, which itself can cause the hand to wither and permanent loss of function. There are some things you just don't need to hear!
I have to go back to the physio on Wednesday morning so we'll see what she thinks then. I'm hoping that I will at least be able to take the sling off when I've seen her. It makes life tricky, and isn't helping me get my work done.
Okey dokey, I'm off to bed now, but hopefully I'll have got the last of my MA coursework out of the way in the next few days and will be able to tell you all so when I next blog, which I promise will be a lot sooner than the time between this post and the previous one.