The Actual Surgery…With Real Photo’s – Yikes!

It’s done, however this post is way behind. My apologies! My voice recognition software was on the fritz. Well and to top that, the painkillers I stopped taking just 2-days ago would have likely made for a disaster post…Or perhaps a better written and hilarious story.

On December 11th, my brother arrived earlier than his scheduled time. That’s typical behavior, because he usually needs to open the refrigerator to see what’s new inside,  make a snack, and drink directly out of a bottle or carton. Prior to his arrival, it was a fairly easy morning. I took a shower and did my hair. I wanted to be somewhat presentable while staying in the hospital. I made my bed, emptied the dishwasher, and set things out that I would need when I returned home. I desperately wanted to drink a glass of water, however we all know that was strictly prohibited, so I didn’t.

We arrived at St. Joseph Hospital around 10:20 AM. Things went smoothly with check in. In a matter of minutes we were upstairs, me lying (wearing that hideous gown) in my hospital bed, Travis in the chair texting, and the epic movie BIG on the very small hospital pre-surgery room TV. The nurses were pleasant, however my IV didn’t go in smoothly. It was actually dreadful, probably because my body needed water. Dr. Purdy came into the room to discuss the surgery. She was wearing her scrubs, smiling, and saying some cute joke about how awesome my wrist was going to be after this. Her specific words were “bionic”. Karin, my physical therapist, came in shortly afterwards to collect my phone (I asked her if she would observe the surgery and she excitedly accepted.) for the remarkable pictures you’re going to see below. If you have a weak stomach, I will suggest that you just move on from here. The raw and real aspects about this disease will be illustrated in the photos. Get Ready!

Like in my previous post, I was pretty nervous – okay, scared actually. I mean who doesn’t get a bit nervous when someone else is taking control of your “state of being” by using anesthesia. UGH!

My surgery was a bit delayed, so I told Travis he could leave. It wasn’t long after that they wheeled me into the surgery room. I had that very short conversation with the anesthesiologist and like magic, I woke up in a different room. The surgery took a little under 4-hours. Apparently, it went smoothly. Whew, thank goodness I don’t have anything else to report.

I don’t remember much detail from the actual moments just upon opening my eyes, except for the fact that I saw some very special people in my life. I couldn’t tell you how long they had been there, when they actually arrived, or even what they were wearing exactly. There are fragments that I do remember… My friend Jessica was there smiling as usual and I do specifically know she was wearing heels. That is very typical for her and I can always hear her footsteps. I know Karin brought me a dozen roses tightly formed in a vase. Karin met Jessica and they spoke about ‘whatever.’ I think I asked Karin about the surgery photos and she said we could go through them later. Sometime after seeing Jessica and Karin, I believe my brother came in. I don’t think Travis stayed very long. Karin and Jessica stayed with me for a little while. They both actually helped me through an anxiety attack, which is something I do specifically remember, but won’t give any detail about. I know for a fact that Jessica was the last person to leave after I feel asleep. She was also the first person I saw the next morning with a coffee delivery just for me. I do in fact remember very specifically what she was wearing – a red button-up blouse with a white and black small box pattern skirt and red heels. This I know because she was bright and lively, unlike the drab hospital. She also looks pretty dynamic in red and I know I told her so. What are friends for?!

It was a tough night in my lonely hospital room.  At one point I woke up and forget where I was. Once the haze became clear, I did remember that I had to keep pressing my morphine drip button to make sure I stayed ahead of the pain. I had a fairly large post surgery wrap, which ended just under my armpit.  I remember one nurse that night being very sweet, but I remember the nurse aid being terrible at her responsibilities. I know I kept telling her how to do her job. (Probably project managing…Well Da!) The details about my hospital stay were terrible, so I am going to skip that and just move to the pictures.


Make it Count by realizing advances in surgical technique can be amazing!

So here are the descriptions of the photos below:
1. Post surgery dressing
2. Thumb joint opened showing degeneration
3. Thumb titanium plate for the MCP fusion
4. Exposed wrist joint
5. Wrist joint opened showing massive destruction
6. My new “bionic” titanium rod for a complete wrist fusion
7. The Ulna head prior to removal
8. The actual Ulna head after removal revealing degeneration and massive destruction
9. Final prep before stitching begins

Ashley Stevenson