Wednesday, January 14, 2009

elbow, part deux

I find going to doctors depressing and confusing. My elbow is still hurting me, pretty much all the time. So I went back to Kaiser today. This time I saw an arm and hand specialist. He said it is NOT my shoulder or neck that is causing my problem. It's my elbow. Where the pain is. And exercising isn't going to make the pain go away, but it might make it hurt more. Instead, he diagnosed me with Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and Tendinitis. I have a prescription for meds, was told to go to a sporting goods store and buy and elbow pad to wear during the day, and sleep with a doubled over towel wrapped around my arm (so I can't bend my elbow at night). If that doesn't help, or I finally get tired of being in pain, I can schedule my surgery at any time. It's out-patient, takes about 45 minutes of surgical time, and has an 80% success rate. Recovery is long, because the nerve and muscle have to heal, but you are not out of commission except maybe 1-2 days. And its just a small incision at the elbow (1-2 inches).

I decided I trust this doctor. This is his specialty. He also didn't shake hands, which I think is a mark of high intelligence in a doctor. I never understood why so many of them shake hands with you at the start of a visit. He also was fairly blunt and honest. I told him I had a sleeping cast before. He said "those never work", because no one can stand them long enough for them to be useful. You can't get any sleep in one of those...

So, I'm gonna try the meds, try the elbow pad, try the towel for sleeping, and see if it helps. If not, I am going to have surgery in May (when school is over and work slows down for me).

1 comment:

Kitten Herder said...

Argh! I had so hoped this was behind you.

So, a towel as an alternative to the really uncomfortable sleeping cast, huh? Why not a really tight sleeve from a shirt that's too small? You can't bend your arm in those either, and it might actually stay on all night. It's probably more comfortable than the sleeping cast. *shrug* :)