Monday, July 14, 2014

Semi-Comfortably Numb

We’re now at the three-week mark for my right hand being largely and consistently numb. The problem is that my Florida-based insurance won’t cover anything in Utah other than emergency room visits. But the constant numbness left me worried about nerve damage, and so I finally did visit the ER last week. They confirmed my suspicions that this is indeed a classic case of carpal tunnel, and due to the numbness not relenting or changing whatsoever over a two-week period, they said surgery was almost guaranteed to be necessary. Even so, they put me in a sling and gave me a prescription for Prednisone. It’s now six days later, and there’s no change.

Let me begin by looking on the bright side. First of all, my ER visit was extremely pleasant. I was in and out in about 30 minutes or so. Maybe 45. It was one of the easiest going doctor’s visits I’ve ever had, emergency or no. In Tallahassee, a trip to the ER is guaranteed to be an all-day affair. But I guess the plethora of hospitals around the Salt Lake Valley enable some hospitals to keep relatively non-busy. Lucky for me! I’m also quite glad that I was able to fulfill my prescription. My insurance wouldn’t cover it, and I thought I’d have to shell out a hundred bucks or more to buy it out-of-pocket. But the pharmacist worked her magic and was able to sell me my pills for just under $10. I could manage that. And finally, having the sling is very nice. It’s also very awkward, but having it on masks the numbness to some extent. When I take it off, it’s then that I realize how weird and non-normal my hand feels. When I have the sling on, it makes sense that I wouldn’t feel normal in my hand—so it feels non-normal in a very normal way. Make sense?

Now the downside. I’m supposed to be following up with an orthopedic surgeon and figuring out all of the surgery details. The sooner the better, not only to avoid lasting complications associated with carpal tunnel, but because I need to be able to start using my hand again! I can’t easily type a dissertation in this condition. (I’m typing a blog, I know, but trust me, it’s tedious.) Unfortunately, my insurance just won’t cover anything in this neck of the woods. And so I don’t really know what to do about it. My insurance originally told me that if a doctor here in Utah wanted to call and work it out with them, given the situation, they could probably authorize the work. But the doctor here in Utah says otherwise and won’t even bother trying to do that. And so I feel stuck.

To end on a slightly more upbeat tone, I am getting much better at using my left hand. Eating with a knife and fork has greatly improved. And yes, bathroom issues are getting better, although that’s definitely among the more annoying aspects of my current condition. I probably shouldn’t mention that, because my left hand is doing most of the work now, I feel like it’s getting a bit more numb too. It hasn’t really been a problem before, but now I find my left fingertips going numb as I go about things—like typing this blog post. Which is why I’ll stop here.

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