What’s been happening…Medical Drama…Cubital Tunnel

As I finally got total function back of my hands from having bilateral carpel tunnel release…I now have cubital tunnel in both elbows.  It didn’t come to me as much as a surprise but it is a pain to deal with all the same. 

Most of the time, it feels like I hit my funny bone…you know the pain, electrical shock that runs down to your fingers when you hit the side of your elbow?  That’s how it feels most of the time now.  This all started this year, it’s progressed rapidly…much like my median nerve compressions.  Now it’s my ulnar nerves.  Most likely this has to do with the years of clay, metalsmithing, lampwork, and computer time…because I don’t have any of the other underlying causes like diabetes or RA issues.  There’s a couple more but my family doc has cleared me for all of them.  Part of this is ergonomics and part of this is repetitive movements.

I’ve been though the EMG and Nerve Conduction Studies…these aren’t that bad but they are still uncomfortable.  I have been though the anti-flammatory meds and the splints.  I flunked conservative treatment so it’s surgery time.  There are certain activies that increase the numbness and pain…computer work, being in a car, using a dremel or anything that has vibration, lampworking, painting, photography, and the list goes on and on and on.  In other words, anything that bends my elbow. It’s even tough to blow dry my hair. So I’m opting for surgery.

Cubital tunnel is an ulnar neuropathy…here’s some info about it if you are interested. I did a lot of information searching about the surgery and didn’t really find that much.  This is also one of the reasons for this post.  When I went searching...it was a zip.
Since I have already had carpal tunnel surgery, I somewhat have an idea.  One of the first things I’m getting ready to order is some sort of cast protector.  My right arm will be in a long dressing for a couple of weeks.  I didn’t know about these for my carpal tunnel surgery and I wish I would have. Taking a shower with a huge bandage on your hand or arm is a PITA.  There is no getting around it.  It’s just one of these things that the doc’s office doesn’t tell you about.
My ToDo list before surgery:
Order a cast protector (for a long arm bandage, if I want to take showers)
Get the house in order
Organize my post surgery area in the living room with pillows (my elbow will have to be elevated over my heart) and anything else to keep myself comfortable.
Find some ice packs
Have as much stuff as possible to keep the boredom away (this was a major issue during my carpal tunnel surgeries)
Find a iPad stand
Figure out how to cook and eat left handed
Make sure I have enough clothing that manage one handed and will go over a large bulky long arm bandage.
Even some of the simple things like opening a tube of toothpaste is difficult the first couple of days. Do-able but depending on the type of surgery, it’s harder than it was post carpal tunnel surgery.  Well, it was for the first couple of days.
Wearing tight jeans with zippers, don’t even think about it.  Loose fitting clothing with elastic is almost a must unless somebody is going to get you get dressed every time you want to pee.  Even pulling your pants up takes some practice.  Again, this is mostly for the first couple of days.
I will be having surgery next week on the right elbow.  Where I'm not looking forward to it, it's time to get this all taken care of so I can go back to real life. :-)
After both elbows are done and healed...plus depending on the surgery and PT...I will then make the decision if I am going back to lampworking or not.
Later Gators,