So, it’s just two days till I pop under the knife for my Ulnar Nerve Release, and The Fear has finally kicked in.
Don’t get me wrong, I was scared before. But as of today, when I have just sensibly re-read all the literature on the operation the hospital gave me in May, I’ve now developed this weird pit in my stomach.
I’ve been quite flippant and silly when referring to the operation really (“Mum, don’t you be getting me to sign any legal documents in the 24 hours after my operation, and don’t be expecting me to operate any machinery either HA HA HA HA”), and I honestly don’t know why I’m scared at all.
I’ve had anaesthetic before and my tiny streak of common sense is reassuring me that will be fine. The surgery itself is very minor, and I should only be in theatre for 30-45 minutes. As for any complications of the operation, well I don’t think it’s going to be any worse than it is now. The seemingly endless list of bad-time-possibilities reads as follows:
Complications of anaesthesia
General complications of any operation:
Infection of the surgical site (1 in 300 risk)
Specific complications of this operation:
Continued numbness in ring and little fingers caused by damage to the ulnar nerve or its branches before or during the operation.
Return of numbness caused by scar tissue that forms after the operation (1 in 8 risk).
Numbness in a patch of skin just below the elbow, caused by damage to the nerves during surgery (1 in 50 risk) or by scar tissue after surgery (1 in 20 risk), which apparently usually settles on its own but can be permanent.
Tenderness of the tough-guy-scar.
Severe pain, stiffness and loss of the use of the arm, the risk of which is less than 1 in 100. Doesn’t sound ideal, does it?
The problem is I just don’t know how lucky I feel, punks.
I am pleased the operation has come round now though. I mean, in two weeks I will have had this pins and needly thing (or cubital tunnel syndrome/ulnar nerve compression, or whatever) for a year – I don’t really want it anymore at all. In the early part of this year it went away, then came back just in time for me to find out I was going to have an operation for it, which was good timing.
But now, it seems to have got quite a lot worse. The other day, the pins and needles which usually last for around 30 seconds to a minute, lasted for about 10 minutes and were really painful. All the advice on it says to straighten your arm – unfortunately, if I had that luxury my ulnar nerve would not need releasing in the first place.
I feel like the end of May, when my biggest concern was not being able to wear nail polish, was a simpler time. I don’t even know what my biggest worry is, I just feel uneasy. I am quite looking forward to my new scar though – is that normal? I think with the scar, and the ‘rock chick’ nail gems my lovely pal Bryony bought me for my birthday, I’m going to look dead hardcore. Just call me Scararm.
On Tuesday, I will need to arrive at the hospital by 7am, and my operation will be any time between 9am and 5pm, which is a long time to not eat or drink. It’s also a long time without access to Facebook and Twitter, but that’s by the by. I’m not allowed to eat anything except toast after 9pm the night before, and nothing at all after midnight. And I’m only allowed clear sugary drinks or water up to 6.30am in the morning.
I haven’t got anything ready – I don’t even have any appropriate slippers to wear to hospital, and I haven’t decided what books to take. I could be in hospital for eight hours, so I need to make sure I have plenty to occupy me. Fortunately I’ve got a four-month backlog of Glamours which should tide me over.
I think there’s nothing else for me to do really, other than remove my nail polish. I have, rather amusingly been instructed to not shave my inner arm UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. I don’t know what circumstances would cause anyone to do this ever, and I’m certainly not about to change the habit of a lifetime.
I think I’m just going to put Selena Gomez’s new song on repeat and forget about all this. Please all look forward to some loony Facebook and Twitter updates on Tuesday evening, won’t you? But please don’t send me any contracts during that time.