Carpel Tunnel

Going off at a bit of a tangent to my normal blog posts but still relevant to my progress (or lack of) in learning to play clarinet .

For many years I have had carpel tunnel syndrome, this makes the hands go numb when not in use, especially at night.  As it got worse over the years I felt I was losing control of my fingers.  First I had problems holding a pen, then found I could no longer touch type. Couldn’t be helping with my attempts to learn clarinet but didn’t want to make excuses.

Had tests, had physiotherapy, had various wrist braces to wear.  No better. The doctors were concerned as whilst the test indicated some Carpel Tunnel Syndrome it didn’t seem enough to explain the severity of the symptoms.  MRI, another nerve conduction test and still a bit inconclusive. Finally took the plunge and had the Carpel Tunnel Release operation on both hands on Dec 15th 2016.

I did know someone who had the same operation and her recovery seemed pretty quick.  Not totally encouraged when all the nursing staff were saying “Both hands! You are going to have fun!”

Funny places hospitals, various medical personnel kept coming up to me saying “hello I’m ……I do …..” then they would go again and someone else would come up “Hi, I’m …..”  Good, great, pleased to meet you….just hope they aren’t going to test me on all these names.

Waiting in the little room outside the theatre, a medical person rushes in, not sure if she was a nurse or a doctor. “Is Stephen here?”

“I think he just went into the theatre.” Must be some emergency.

“Thanks. ” She hurries into the theatre and I hear the conversion. “Do you know what 24 across is?”  “No I haven’t done it yet, what was the clue?”

Once 24 across is sorted out the lady comes back and sheepishly says “Sorry about that, just couldn’t finish the crossword.”

24 hours after the operation

For the first 24 hours both hands were completely numb, presumably from anaesthetic.  Hands bandaged up and couldn’t do much at all.

All bandaged up after operation
3 days after operation

Quite a relief to get the big bandages off but there is a lot of pain.  Not especially where the actual incisions are, that just feels like a deep cut. Of more concern is the shooting pains down from the fingers through hand and wrist.  Unable to grip and not able to operate our round door handles.  If anyone shuts a door I am trapped!

1 week after operation

Hands are no longer numb at night and I am sleeping better than I have in years (success!) However I am still unable to do much with my hands, lots of strange pains and unable to hold or grip things properly.  Tried to drive car but needed to use both hands to change gear… this isn’t going to work!

Saw surgeon to have stitches removed and mentioned pain and problems using the hands. Surgeon said they used to keep the hands still for longer, maybe we are now trying to get them moving again too quickly, recovery may take a month.

2.5 weeks after operation

Gradually able to do a little more, can open doors now at least.  Still getting a lot of pain and find it easy to try and do too much with them and then I am in far more pain again and needing painkillers.  Getting a bit worried.


To be continued…..



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *