For the last 5 or 6 days I have felt an aggravating pain under my cast. I was pretty sure the cause was the end of the metal pin that had been inserted to stabilize my reconstructed carpo-metacarpal joint. There were 2 options for how to deal with it. The first involved booking an appointment and going to the cast clinic, having my cast cut off, having the pin readjusted and getting a new cast put on. The second option involved moving my hand as little as possible and taking Tylenol and Advil again, and toughing it out till Monday. I chose to tough it out. But I was really looking forward to my appointment on Monday. My memory of my cast removal last July was pleasant – a relatively comfortable procedure, aside from some mild discomfort when the pin was removed. I don’t remember any bad after effects. This time was definitely different.

I arrived at the cast clinic in the best of spirits as I anticipated the removal of my cast. After a very short wait, the vibrating wheel was put to work and voilà – the cast was gone.

cutting the cast

cutting the cast

cutting the cast

opening the cast

opening the cast

opening the cast

pulling the cast open

free at last

Tape was removed from the incision. Dissolvable stitches left a clear view of my surgeon’s beautiful handiwork. Low and behold there was the short end of the metal pin digging into my hand – exactly as I’d imagined. I cleaned the skin and met a new doctor working with Dr. Beveridge for the day – Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown actually pulled out the pin, with a kind of “tear the thing out quick” approach. Worked like a charm. If I hadn’t had my camera out, I’d have missed it completely!


pulling out the pin

and it's out

hand without the pin

So far so good. I had dreaded the pin removal but it was so quick and painless that I was shocked – in a really good way! The doctors checked my hand, said something about it looking good, and then they both disappeared. Then things started  to go awry. I needed to have a temporary splint made, and the nurse who made it had no personality and was totally insensitive. I say this because the minute she took my hand and pressed the splint against my  thumb, I nearly went through the roof. I was in such pain that I was lifting out of my chair. I made a gasping sound as I tried to catch my breath. I didn’t understand how or why I was such pain. The nurse looked me straight in the eye and said, “I’m not even moving it.” Now, I’m not sure exactly what she wasn’t moving, and I didn’t really care. I just wanted the pain to stop. I was nearly in tears, and the nurse just ignored me. I think I have a high pain threshold, so this was very difficult for me to deal with. I was feeling  quite shaky by the time I left the clinic – probably shouldn’t have driven but I had to get home.

getting my splint

my temporary splint

I took Tylenol as soon as I got home, and had a long nap in the afternoon. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I was hurting when I moved my arm and I had no strength in my fingers. I couldn’t use my left hand at all. It was ugly. Fortunately things are improving rapidly, and as of today I’m feeling pretty good. Still not over the trauma, but getting there.

I want to say that on my various visits to the cast clinic I have had absolutely excellent treatment from nearly everyone on staff. But I don’t like the nurse who did my splint so I’ll leave her name out of this.

4 thoughts

  1. I’m an artist, too, of sorts, and am 3 weeks from my CMC surgery. (My cast is pretty miserable right now.) So glad I found your blog, and can see your progress a little farther into this process. I make quilts, win awards with some of them, write books about how to make them and travel and lecture and teach others how to make them. I’m also an amature photographer and have really enjoyed browsing you photo blogs. Thank you!


    1. Good luck with your recovery. I hope you find my medical posts to be useful and encouraging. I am so thrilled to have had great results from these surgeries. I should add a post soon about the great help I’m getting from my chiropractor – help I wasn’t aware of with my first surgery. Will be following your blog to chart your progress and your work. Let’s keep in touch!


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