The Best Reality Check

I’ve started, and restarted, a post about all that went wrong with the pump explant surgery I had back in July, I’ll likely never publish it. But, for the moment – and in the spirit of looking ahead – I just wanted to express gratitude for my recent reality check.  

During the past few weeks, I’ve gone through the stages of grieving.  You might ask why. During the surgery, the “alleged expert” that put the I.V. in my right hand messed up, badly.  As anyone who read my chart could have told her, it was essential to be careful during the insertion because a bad I.V. is how I developed RSD in my left (dominant) hand.  Anyway, when she started the process, the pain was way more than it should have been.  I looked over at her and she was nervously stopped, talking quietly to the anesthesiologist in the room.  When I started to react, “That doesn’t feel right! Please take it out!” I felt hands on my shoulders, restraining me from trying to sit up, and then the room started spinning.  “Is there medication in that already?” “Yes.  Just relax.” The next thing I knew, I was in recovery. 

I could hear people talking.  I heard my husband asking about my hand.  What about my hand? What was that? As I started looking around, I saw and felt the problem.  My right hand was swollen, sore and the IV had clearly infiltrated. 

An infiltration “occurs when I.V. fluid leaks into surrounding tissue. It’s commonly caused by improper placement or dislodgment of the catheter.” (Reference http://www.nursingcenter.com). Thanks so much for that, person whose name I won’t use in this piece.  
They acted like it wasn’t a big deal. “Just elevate it.”  Yeah, ok. I was too groggy to deal with it at the time.  But the weeks since have gifted me with tremendous clarity.  

Once the swelling went down, and a few weeks had gone by, I started having pain. The kind of pain I know too well.  The kind that took out my left hand.  It was devastating.  I’ve also dealt with a version of restless leg, except it’s my arm and hand, for a long time.  Since that stupid I.V., that condition is amplified.  The need to constantly move my hand and fingers, as if the pain and irritation will stop after I stretch my hand out, for the 20th time in an hour.  It doesn’t.  

The glaring reality is that my right hand has been my “good hand,” my “strong hand,” since the injury to my left.  I sew, lift, carry – all with my right hand.  The sewing is the hardest to cope with.  I love to hand sew.  The little details, all made more beautiful because I’ve personally put every stitch into the item.  That’s all up in the air at the moment.  

Last week, I woke up to the most excruciating burn and weakness radiating from my right hand and arm.  I had to wake my husband up, it was terrifying. My hand was swollen, warmer and a slightly different color.  It felt like the after effects of a bad sprain. 

After crying for the better part of the day, raging for a lot, scaring the heck out of my mom (& sisters) during a call to check on me, I sat with my thoughts and realized something.   

All of the crying, anger and frustration in the world will not change the situation. My hand may never be the same.  Sewing may be a huge obstacle.  Maybe it won’t. But spewing non-stop emotion over it won’t change the facts.  I haven’t made peace with it, I’ve just got to keep moving.  

It was after a conversation with my beautiful and wise teenage daughter that I decided to finally register for my classes. I’d put it off for weeks.  She asked, “What’s stopping you from signing up?” I responded, “Fear.” Then she asked, “Of what?” And I told her I worried about losing sewing, [Sidebar – if you ever want honesty, talk to a teenager. Or maybe it’s just my daughter.  She’s always real, I often rely on her opinions.  “Is this haircut really bad?” “No, just maybe style it —–.”  Does this outfit look ridiculous?” “There’s something weird about the collar.” You get my point. She’s my oracle of truth, LOL.]. She encouraged me to not limit myself.  I could sign up and, if things weren’t as they should be, I could always change my mind. 

Somehow, having that conversation with her made me realize that I can worry about the future or I can attempt to move toward the future.  I’ve reinvented myself many times.  After being diagnosed with lupus, then RSD, I learned to be a chameleon.  I had to!  If one has any intention of really living – and obstacles are able to be overcome – one must reshape the future. 

Yes, it’s a difficult situation.  And, don’t get me wrong, I am still furious.  But it happened, so now what?  Now, I take baby steps back to the path I’d started on pre-surgery.  A path that makes me happy.  I can get help: moving costume boxes, carrying what needs carrying and even sewing if necessary.  But I alone have to start myself back up again.  And, as always, I will.  ❤️

Peace & painlessness, 

Beck

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