Preparing for Hand Surgery – Thumb Arthroplasty



Hello Ahimsa Lifers!
Well the time has come, I am going to have Thumb Arthtroplasty in just a few weeks.
If you are a follower of The Ahimsa Life you know I have struggled over the years with Diverticulitis, Micro Colitis (Specifically LC) and Arthritis. Arthritis seems to be very common in those of us who suffer from an IBD, and to make matters worse I spent much of my career working with my hands.

I have arthritis in both thumbs. I have had cortisone injections in both hands for years, I caved in and started taking NAIADS as well, but having an IBD, it might have helped my hands but it irritated my LC (Lymphostetic Colitis) so I had to stop taking them. I have done braces, ice, heat creams and more. My doctor has been offering me the surgery for about a year now, and I really just didn’t want to do it. Last year I tore a tendon in my right thumb and was in a cast for 6 weeks, the memory was fresh and I did not look forward to being in a cast for that long again.

Fast forward to today, well, I changed my mind. Long story short, over the last year the pain has gotten worse and nothing seems to be helping.

Knowing what its like to be in a hand cast so long, I am starting my preparations for both surgery day and after to make things easier. Here are my tips.

Surgery day –

Wear sweats, not leggings. They say be comfortable and last time I went in I wore a big sweatshirt and some leggings. I was thinking the leggings would be good since there was no zippers or buttons to have to fasten and they just pull on. Was I wrong! I still needed help getting them on because they are so darn tight, they do not seem tight at all when you have two working hands. This time I am opting for a loose pair of sweats, easy to pull up on my own.

As for the sweat shirt – The arm hole barley fit over my dressing. The soft cast you leave with is bulky, really bulky, you are sore and swollen. This time I plan on wearing one of my work out tanks with big loose arm holes and bringing this nice blanket scarf I just recently purchased in case I get cold. Its just like wearing a blanket, I got mine on Amazon for $25. I love it and wear it all the time.

Shoes – you will not be able to tie your shoes, you can have some one else get them on for you and tie them, but this time I will just wear a pair of slip on indoor/outdoor slippers I have for tooling about the yard.

I don’t bring my purse or any thing important. I give my husband my id and insurance card to hold. Last time I didn’t even bring my phone. This time I think I will, but only because I want to up date all of you on the procedure and want to take pictures. Speaking of which, I plan on posting here, but if your going to get this procedure done there are quiet a few Youtube videos up of people who have had it done.

Once you are home –

You are going to want to take it easy. I created a deep clean list for the house for the week prior so its all clean and pretty when I get home. I am the kind of person who, if there is a mess tends to want to get up and clean it. So, doing this in advance will help me relax once I get home.

On that note, I am pre making some food for the freezer. I tend to cook for every one here since I enjoy it so much, and with one hand its not going to be an easy task, between every one pitching in and the premade meals it will be much easier to get through these 6 weeks of recovery and be able to eat healthy home made cooking instead of eating out.

Showers – I went to Walgreens and purchased a cast cover that just pulls on to keep my cast clean and dry when I shower. You still can’t really shower like you could with two arms, but it makes things much easier. Last time I toyed with wrapping it in saran, or tying a garbage bag around it, but those tend to be sloppy and hard to handle, and I ended up getting the cover at the very end instead of messing with a DIY project every time I wanted to shower – its worth it. Here is another option on Amazon.

Hair- OK, so if you know me, you know I used to work in  the hair industry, and I like to do my hair every day. I decided this time around to prebook appointments with my hairdresser to get my hair washed and styled at least every week. My normal routine is wash dry and iron, and I will not be doing that on my own for the 6 weeks of recovery.  If you are a wash and go person, and if you can do your hair with one hand, then no need, for me this is a spurge, but I think it will make me feel better.

Lots of sweats and easy clothes – I cleaned out my closet yesterday – part of my deep clean to get the house ready for after surgery and took the time to pull out easy clothes to wear while in the cast. Getting every thing together before hand will really help.


That is what I have doen so far, I will make sure to update after my surgery and during the recover process. If you have any thing to add to my prep list I would love to hear it.




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