Sick little birdy
Two weeks ago, I had fairly routine hand surgery on my right middle (bird flipping) finger to remove a cyst that had the potential to cause trouble because it was in a joint. That surgery seemed to go well but then after stitches were removed it suddenly got inflamed and soon was a swollen, infected, painful mess. As soon as the hand surgeon saw it he knew he had to go back in and redo that surgery and clean it all out. He said 1% of this type of surgery gets infected. (I’d rather apply that kind of luck to, say, lottery thanks.) If the infection gets into bone it becomes extremely serious. The surgeon felt bad. He takes pride in his work and this felt like a mistake on his part. But mostly he took the risk this put on my finger and its joints very seriously and wanted to move fast and be aggressive. Infections can easily get out of control and cause widespread problems. At the very least arthritis becomes almost a certainty. This second surgery was yesterday (Thursday) and it went well too. Last time it was outpatient surgery but not this time. As an inpatient I have been on IV antibiotics from the start and may even have to stay in the hospital another day. Actually, I will need to be on IV antibiotics for weeks and to make that possible they put in a PICC line. PICC stands for peripherally inserted central catheter. It is a long thin “straw” inserted on my arm into a vein going all the way (50 cm) to just above my heart. These lines, with little valves on the ends, stick about 3″ out from the insertion into my arm just above the elbow bend. An IV bag can attach directly to the valve and give me my dose. I’m off of swimming and hard sweaty working out as long as this PICC line is in. That is going to be really hard. I’ll have a lot of catching up to do when it comes out. One of the major reasons I’m being held captive here in Newton-Wellesley Hospital is that they need to match the antibiotic precisely to the little bugs doing me so much harm.
So I’ll be home free soon. And for many weeks to come I’ll look even more like a human cyborg than usual with lines and valves hanging out of my arm in addition to the titanium, carbon fibre, and computerized knee I normally feature.