Saturday, May 12, 2012

Look, Ma! No Hands!

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve had plenty to say. Hell, I always have plenty to say. The truth is I’ve been avoiding my own blog. How twisted and sad is that? I’m going through a weird time and I feared that if I started to write, I would be too honest. When I chose to write about my recovery, I had (and still have) every intention of sharing my story without any sugar-coated bullshit. If this is going to help my recovery, it must be candid and gloriously raw. So that’s what you get.

What I get is all my most personal shit flapping in the breeze. I’m not shy, so I don’t really care. The issue I have is that if I say it out loud, then it’s really happening. And since I can’t shut the hell up, it’s time to talk about what’s happening and let it be real.

I’ll spare you the long “How Gellie’s Hands Came To Be Royally Fucked” story, and tell you this: I have to have surgery on my left hand. I am “right-side affected” as a result of my stroke. That means my right hand and arm don’t work so well. Now I have to have surgery on my left side. This means that recovering from surgery will result in NO HANDS. Well not “no hands,” more like half a hand and a quarter of an arm; Make that a quarter of a T-Rex arm – you know, it sort of functions but can’t reach worth a damn.

When I discussed this with the surgeon, he thought I was nuts. He looked at me confused, speechless, like I can’t possibly know what I’m suggesting.

You do realize what this means…
You won’t be able to use…
Are you sure you…
You really need to think about…

Ah…silly doctor. I should mention that he’s worked on me before. Six months prior to my stroke, I had this same surgery done on my right hand. I cut him off and chuckled. I explained that the thought of this surgery, and the horrors of recovering with essentially no hands has been on the forefront of my mind for weeks, plaguing my sleep, consuming my every spare moment to ponder what I’ll be getting myself into. I assured him that my husband and I have spent hours going over what it may be like and preparing ourselves for 3-4 weeks of complete and utter hell. BRING IT!

Who the hell strong arms their surgeon into slicing open their only functioning hand? ME! Fuck. Maybe I am nuts. I’m doing it because I’m in excruciating pain, and I’m already losing my grip – on my hand not my mind – and if I don’t do it soon, it could cost me my hand altogether. I’ve already suffered irreparable nerve damage so it’s only going to get worse unless I do something about it.

I’m really OK with being disabled at this point. I can’t change it, so eh, whatever. I’ll deal with it. But this shit?! Surgery? I’m freaking out. Every day since that consult with the surgeon I have realized more things I won’t be doing while I recover. Here’s a few (or 20) so you can panic with me:

Brush hair

Wash hair
Actually, I’ll barely be able to even touch my hair so you can have fun thinking of all the other hell this will bring me.

Put on pants
I may be able to take them off if there are no buttons or zippers and I can rub my feet on my legs to wiggle them off. Still unsure of right leg wiggle capability, but we’ll see.

Put on a shirt

Take off a shirt

Underwear…oh god, underwear…

Wipe my ass – yep, I’m going there.
Sadly, there’s no app for that, but I discovered there is a gadget so I’ve got a Plan B(M). Also, pain meds stop me up so I probably won’t have to go anyways.

Walk with a cane.
That means walking anywhere outside of my house, which means not going anywhere, ever.

Change diapers (woo hoo! Hey look at that! A silver lining!)

Do dishes (Not bad, not bad!)

Get stuff out of the fridge.
Ahh, crap! I can’t get anything out of the fridge! My T-Rex arm can’t reach, and my wonky right hand isn’t strong enough to grab anything and carry it to the counter unless it’s the size and weight of a yogurt. I guess I’ll be eating a lot of yogurt.

You’ll miss me. You know you’ll miss me.

Open stuff.
I’d be specific, but it’s just about everything you can think of from envelopes to jars to jackets.

Damn it. I won’t be able to put on jackets or sweaters.
I’m cold all the time due to spasticity issues. There’s a whole other blog post on the horizon to explain what that is. Trust me, it’s a problem. 

I’m not looking for pity. I’m just trying to give an honest glimpse into the hell I’m about to walk into. Surgery has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 16th. That is coming up quick. Panic is running rampant, which is why I’m writing about it. This is me, channeling the anxiety and bad juju out of my system. That’s all.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to lying in bed with my Kindle for hours on end, hopped on prescription goodness. Life may suck balls sometimes, but I’ll be damned if I won’t get a decent buzz and a good book out of it. 


  1. "gloriously raw" - all good surgery vibes your way from oregon!

  2. Focus on lying in bed with you're kindle. I realized on Mother's Day that noone expected me to get up and help with the dishes, so I sat on the couch with a glass of wine!

  3. If you need help with anything, please call me. I WILL NOT put your underwear on for you, OR wipe your ass though.