20 September 2007

Handle With Care

I made an appointment for Monday with a hand therapist at a local sports medicine clinic. I had delayed for two weeks since my doctor referred me with excuses about not being able to find childcare. It turns out, the clinic is attached to one of our local YMCAs. (Not the one where Sprout has her swim lessons and soccer and where I take bellydance classes... this one is actually closer to home.) One of the advantages to this is that I can put Sprout in the nursery at the Y during my meeting. I'm not sure if it will be free (I'm a member and they do offer members free childcare for 2 hours a day while they're at the Y...) or if I'll have to pay (a dollar an hour, it's not going to break the bank) since I won't actually be using the Y itself...

What I realized, after I'd hung up, was that I knew a week ago that if I couldn't find any other way, the clinic is open early enough that I could schedule the appointments in such a way that I could leave Sprout with her daddy while I went to my hand therapy. With that acknowledgment fresh in my mind, I had to admit that I didn't make the appointment because I'm a little afraid.

As I said in my previous entry, I didn't have much time to process what was going on between the CTS diagnosis and my first surgery last time around. Any concerns that I might have had about surgery were completely overshadowed by the suggestion that the tendons in my thumbs were so bad that the muscles had atrophied, possibly beyond the point of recovery, and that I might not regain the full use of my thumbs. Opposable thumbs are good things, I like mine, I wouldn't want defective tendons to drag me backwards on the evolutionary ladder.

I've learned a lot since then and met people who've had less favorable outcomes from their CTS surgeries than I had. I also know that there are some different factors to consider with a repeat surgery. The questions that need to be addressed now are "Why am I having a recurrance of symptoms?" the surgery cut my carpal ligament, the nerve pressure should have been resolved. And, yet, I'm loosing sensation in my fingers and my motor control is suffering. What is the source of the pressure causing these problems? Is it scar tissue? was the ligament release incomplete? Is there some underlying medical concern that was mis attributed to CTS? How will these things be corrected? Surgery? Will therapy do the trick? If surgery, am I possibly looking at implants or vein wraps? I've never had any kind of graft procedure before and I'm a little worried about what might be involved...

And, to change the subject (or maybe not) there's the whole question of how this will effect our decision to have (or not) another baby. The last time around, I made the appointment with the specialist at about the same time that we'd planned on starting our family planning/expansion efforts. The surgeries, and the financial recovery after we saw how much the insurance wasn't covering, postponed our child-making plans by almost 3 years. I'll be 39 in 2 weeks. If we're going to have another baby, we need to start trying soon. We might get pregnant right away, but last time around (between PCOS and my miscarriage) it took us 3 years to have Sprout.

I'm feeling very adrift about all of this. Conflicted. I love being a mom and love having Sprout in my life. I know that she would enjoy having a sibling. She loves babies so much and is so excited by them. There would be an almost 4 year age difference between her and a sibling if we got pregnant right now. But if surgery is a possibility down the road rather than right now, how much harder would it be with an infant and a 4-5 year old? What if I don't need surgery now but I get pregnant and the CTS gets worse? (it's actually not uncommon for that to happen)

Well, I need to spend some quality time with my little girl. This stream of consciousness blogging is just taking me in circles and Sprout wants someone to play with her...

Image Note: An engraved illustration by GĂ©rard de Lairesse from a 17th century Dutch anatomy text.

3 comments:

*melanie* earthenwood studio said...

Andi, sorry you are having these hand problems (again). Sounds like you have some hard decisions to make. I am thinking of you.

Daria de la Luna said...

That's an awful lot to consider. I will be sending good mental clarity & discernment thoughts your way, my dear! J is talking about another child. I just don't think I am up for it. So much other stuff I want to do. Yet, there is a part of me that would really like a daughter. Because of the close relationship I have with my mom, a tiny sliver of me says, "Yes!" Since my cousin and friends like you have very young children, it doesn't seem so crazy at times.

hepkitten said...

You know how concerned I am (I hope), but I just wanted to reiterate it here. Whatever you decide, you and yours have my love and support. Please take good care, and try to think of your *own* needs, not just everyone else's.

{{{hugs}}}