How difficult is it to look after yourself wh... - Pain Concern

Pain Concern
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How difficult is it to look after yourself when completely on your own having had surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome?..

sargrith
sargrith

It needs someone's answer, for which I'd be greatful, who has had this operation fairly recently. I understand the bandage stays on for 10/14 days.

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Hi, I had carpal tunnel surgery approx. 6 yrs ago on my right wrist. I had local anaesthetic so was able to leave day ward approx. 2 hours later. I had my wrist/hand bandaged and had a sling. It pained me quite badly the first 24 hours but gradually improved over the next few days. I took pain killers as prescribed. My wound healed very well and i had stitches out approx 10 days after operation. I was able to cope quite well on my own, i used to put a plastic bag over my hand and taped it on so i could have showers. Drying myself was difficult, i used to put on a towelling robe and sort of drip dry!! I used to wash myself and my hair with good hand, but drying my hair was a problem for a few weeks. Once the stitches came out i had the wound covered with dressing sticky pad and i used soft pvc disposable gloves when doing housework etc to keep the wound clean. My wound healed very well and I had no infection. It was awkward because i am right-handed but i managed very well. Its a good idea to get some nice ready meals in because doing vegs etc was difficult. I have to say that after suffering a lot of pain with the carpal tunnel problem, once i had the operation it felt so much better very quickly and i was very glad to get it done. I hope your operation goes well and if you prepare yourself before you should cope quite well, lynda xx. Ps - i could not drive for 6 weeks and could not use my walking stick in that hand either.

sargrith
sargrith in reply to Hidden

HI Jockety.Many thanks. I'm a 87 year old man about to have first of two carpal tunnel ops.best wishes

Hi I have had carpal tunnel releases on both hands within the last 2 years.

The bandages came off within 5 - 7 days, with a dressing over the wound (all surgeons do things slightly differently). The stitches were removed at 14 days and I was then allowed to drive if I felt able. As soon as you are home start wiggling your fingers. Take the regular analgesia they give you, even before the local anaesthetic wears off, so that you have some pain relief in your system. Take it regularly. Keep wiggling and flexing those fingers. As soon as the bandage is off start the exercises they will have shown you and if you have a stress ball, start gently squeezing it. Trust me it will help you get your movement and flexibility back quicker, but be gentle.

As for being on your own, some things will be tricky. You don't realise how much you rely on both hands. Try buttering a piece of toast or bread using one hand. It escapes all over the place! I was fortunate in having someone who could make a sandwich for me before they went to work, but you could get frozen ready meals, as already suggested. Don't buy cans as even with a ring pull its hard to open. Trust me it can get messy! Don't get anything that needs too much cutting, you have one hand to do it with. You could batch cook beforehand and freeze soup into Tupperware.

Washing hair is difficult, but doable. Just takes longer. I would wash my hair over the bath before having a shower as the instinct for me would be to use two hands and I didn't want to risk it or accidentally get the poorly hand wet.

Never leave needing a wee till the last minute, getting your knickers down with your non dominant hand can be tricky!!! I lived in PJ bottoms/track suit bottoms for a while as easier to get on and off than jeans and things with buttons and zips.

Most things are possible, just a little difficult. Don't get frustrated with yourself. The surgery for me was so worth it. And I hope it is for you as well.

Good luck x

sargrith
sargrith in reply to CathyA

Hi CathyA. Thanks for your advice.I'm an 87 year old man about to have the 1st of the two carpal tunnel ops.

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The very reasons I have never had it! :-(

Being disabled, I can't even make it to the toilet without using at the very least a stick and the other hand on the furniture!... I would need 24 hour nursing care!

I would be surprised if I could leave the house within 8 weeks, if I hadn't starved to death in that time!

sargrith
sargrith in reply to Hidden

Hi picton .I'm about to have the first of my two carpal tunnel ops. I'm a 87 year old man.fortunately very agile having only just stopped playing badminton due to two complete tendon tears of my left shoulder with the other shoulder one about to suffer the same fate. So I guess I'm also in the handicapped catagory to some small degree.Sorry about your predicament.Best wishes

sargrith
sargrith in reply to sargrith

Whatever are you on about .i've just answered Pictons reply to my question

Hidden
Hidden in reply to sargrith

I would say the problem you need to take most care managing is to NOT upset the shoulders, if you can still manage to stand up and get out of bed without arms then you should be OK, that's what will do the damage; if not, then you need to plan something to get round that! Easier said than done.

sargrith
sargrith in reply to Hidden

Perhaps picton you should consider the operation for CTS if you could perhaps go into full time care until the wound heals.why not make enquiries.Best wishes and good luck.

Hidden
Hidden in reply to sargrith

I have newly diagnosed Kidney stones to take care of before that! CTS is just like a minor itch compared! Yes really! :-(

If you would struggle due to disability you need to speak to the hospital before going ahead with surgery and they would arrange for someone to come in to assist you a couple of times a day with your meals so that you wouldn't starve to death.

I also use a crutch to move around and a physio saw me before I left the ward and bought me a gutter crutch to borrow so that I could still mobilise even using my bad arm. There are ways around these things. You just need to be honest and ask for help BEFORE you have surgery. They can't do anything afterwards.

Good luck.

Hidden
Hidden in reply to CathyA

I had previously just done an instant analysis how much it would affect me, and it was so much a no-no that I almost instantly threw aside the option for surgery, I could sooner go hang-gliding than be without my hand and wrist, it was so impractical I just laughed off the option and I thought little more about it but seeing this thread has put me into a bit of a major panic about how even a minor new injury could be so devastating to my life when I look into the actual detail!

I should have thought about this sooner as a year or so ago, I chopped off the very end of a finger (due to the numbness of the CTS) and even that was amazingly debilitating, mainly in that case because of the pain every time I moved it, surprising for how minor it was - you would never believe how much pain a finger that you thought was almost totally dead can actually have!

Couple of times a day! If that's the level of help available, then that would be neither use nor ornament, I would have to find and pay for a nursing home for the duration - the first couple of weeks at the very least: otherwise even the very simplest things I would even fail at: who would get me to the toilet during the night, it would have to be nappies! I can't even get out of bed now without both hands & arms, (certainly without a large risk of injury, and that's dead easy to do now, as it is); how would I get downstairs, (which I generally can do relatively easily, I have never yet even considered a stair lift) my disability is manageable with only moderate upper body strength, but without being able to use my upper limbs or even one of them, I would be wheelchair bound, that is IF I could sit in a standard wheelchair, (which I already have and only very occasionally use) which I can't for more than about 30 or 40 mins maximum as sitting upright it is one of the most uncomfortable positions for me; then how would I get out of the chair etc... then even when I could use my wrist to a small degree, say maybe a couple of weeks on from the Op. - yes, a gutter crutch would be of use, once up and moving but I would need to get out of the chair etc. first, and without someone to be there, I would be stuck! I can call on "some" help from others, but that's not the sort of help that is capable of lifting me up out of a chair, they aren't even strong enough to push me in a wheelchair and I am only 16st!! 6 weeks or more without driving would be life changing just on it's own - I need a decent wrist and hand even to get into a Taxi, it's hard enough now!

Having seen the help my Father got in his latter days, (and he was in hospital for most of the worst ones) it doesn't inspire, I hadn't realised quite how fragile my current existence actually IS, not just over the CTS surgery option! Dear God, it's funny the things that wake you up! I need to do some very serious thinking about the situation and future options :-(

sargrith
sargrith in reply to CathyA

Hiu CathyA. Although I have the rather painfull shoulder problems which now restricts me with my home and garden I am otherwise quite active and am sure by what you have mentioned I will manage.after the CTS op.Many thanks and best wshes.