Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The number 34

Some interesting facts about the # 34, followed with more commentary by me, and why the heck I'm writing about 34.

  • It is the ninth Fibonacci number and a companion Pell number. Since it is an odd-indexed Fibonacci number, 34 is a Markov number, appearing in solutions with other Fibonacci numbers, such as (1, 13, 34), (1, 34, 89), etc.
  • It is the sum of the first five factorials.

And absolutely none of that matters to me.
The reason #34 is on my mind so much is that my 34th surgery is scheduled for Valentines Day next week. It is far from my last surgery, but I am not looking forward to it. The surgeon is going to cut the scarring out of my left hand--the area from the base of what's left of my thumb to the base of my index finger, and about 1/3 to 1/2 of my palm, which is mostly scar tissue.
He is going to take a very thin slice of skin from somewhere else--my thigh (again), probably --it my come from my arm. He is going to place that graft on the area of my palm he removed and cast it up for a few weeks.
All of the gains I have made in occupational therapy are going to be wiped away. The good news is that if successful, I may be able to open my hand like a normal person. This will set me up for another surgery, (#35 or #36) where he will transfer a tendon from my middle finger to my thumb--basically laying open both sides of my hand to do this. This will also wipe away any gains I make in OT between #34 the tendon transfer.
OT is hard. OT hurts. OT is vitally necessary to build hand strength and flexibility. When I say it hurts, it isn't just the 90 minutes of pain inflicted on me at the OT clinic. I hurt for the next day or so, until I have another appointment, and we inflict more pain.
I used to eat fentanyl lollipops during OT, but my days of heavy narcotics are (thankfully) passed. I don't know how much pain this graft will put me in (the donor site hurts the most, usually, and feels like a very bad burn--for a couple weeks, at a minimum. I guess one of my biggest worries is taking truckloads of meds for the pain, and then having to titrate off of them again. Titration blows goat. However, I have done it several times, and that's why I have zero sympathy for drug addict who can't get clean.
Hopefully this will be a very short outpatient surgery--the surgeon says it will be, but complications may cause a longer stay---yippee.

I'll keep you posted.


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