Wellman Type I

Filed under: @ 11:59 am

My father has a friend, last name of Wellman, who has created a scale upon which life experiences can be evaluated as regards their appeal. Something that is a Wellman Type I is something that should be done once to have the experience, but that isn’t necessary, or necessarily desirable, to repeat again.

That’s my feeling about Las Vegas.

How does Las Vegas come into it you wonder? And WTF with the prolonged silence followed by a marked lack of capital letters and punctuation,followed by a further prolonged silence?

Well, let me tell you a story.

I work with my hands, no? I work with my hands a LOT. Both in my professional and my personal life.

Around about last spring sometime I noticed that my left hand would start to go all numb and tingly when I was doing surgery. Annoying, but not anything that required an immediate response so I ignored it.
And kept ignoring it until I started dropping instruments from my left hand while doing surgery.
So I sucked it up and went to the hand specialist who, no surprise, told me that I’d developed carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist and that I’d need surgery eventually.
Eventually being the operant term. The surgeon said it was up to me to decide when it was bad enough.
And so, comforted in my lack of urgency, I went on ignoring it.

At about the same time Patty and I started talking about a February vacation to go to the Western States Veterinary Conference so we could a. get our continuing education hours taken care of, b. get some down time so far away from our respective offices that we couldn’t be called in for whatever chaos was happening, and c. get some sunshine in the middle of February which is, as most of you know, one of the least sunshine oriented months in Seattle. (Little did we realize that we wouldn’t be exposed to any weather at all for the majority of the trip, but it was a nice thought to begin with.)

So plans got made, reservations and registrations were made, and we were all set to fly to Las Vegas for a week.

Then in December and early January my hand started getting MUCH worse. I couldn’t drive for more than 10 minutes without my fingers getting all tingly. I couldn’t braid my hair without it hurting my hand a lot, and if I tried to do anything with any strength with my two central fingers they’d lock in place for a few seconds which is more than a little bit annoying.

So off I went to the hand specialist again. And, as I recall, I said something like “FIX IT!”.
Actually I was pretty fussed because I needed to have my hand fixed, but I needed it fixed quickly and with minimal down time. It’s not convenient to my office at all to have one of the full time doctors gone for any length of time. To say nothing of the fact that I needed my hand to be back to good function before garden season starts.
So the questions to the surgeon were: how soon can you do it? What’s the down time? and What sort of long term recovery will we be looking at?
And secondarily, how soon after you do the surgery will I be able to fly? My thought there was that if he did the surgery before I went to Vegas for the conference I’d be able to have decent recuperation time away from the office during a period of time for which I was already scheduled out thus meaning that I wouldn’t need any more time away from the office.

The answers were that he could do the surgery pretty much immediately and he had no problem with doing the surgery on Wednesday and me flying to Las Vegas on Saturday so long as I promised to keep my hand splinted, keep my arm in a sling for a couple of days, and to keep the incision dry until the postop recheck.

*A brief interlude for a shout out to Dr. Miyano at Seattle Hand Surgery. I have tremendous respect for MDs who treat me like a doctor and Dr. Miyano not only treats me as a doctor, he treats me as an equal which is a considerably more rare phenomenon for any surgeon to any generalist regardless of the species that they treat. Seriously, if you’re looking for a MD for anything having to do with your limbs from the shoulder to the fingertips, I’d recommend him.*

Anyway, the surgery was scheduled and promptly done. A few comments regarding having the palm of your hand taken apart and put back together again.
1. If you need it done, do it. Postop pain and recovery period are so damn minimal it’s really worthwhile.
2. Hydrocodone is a fun thing. I spent two days (Wednesday and Thursday) stoned out of my gourd asleep in a recliner with a cat on my chest. Blazing Saddles is hysterically funny when I’m sober, it’s funnier stoned, but laughing disturbs the cat.
3. If you’re looking for a salon so you can get your hair professionally washed and trimmed for the first time in decades, it’s best to have it done somewhere that the stylists speak English. I wanted to have my hair braided for the airplane and I couldn’t do it with one hand. So I went to our local Normandy Park hair salon. The stylist, the only person in the building at the time, is Asian of some flavor (Vietnamese or Thai, I think). While she did a lovely job at washing and trimming, I could NOT get across to her that I needed my hair braided. I think she only understood about a quarter of what I was saying anyway and so I left with my hair clean and trimmed, but loose which, when you have to sleep and then get on an airplane with hair like mine, means that you might as well have your head shaved when you get to your destination. Tangled doesn’t even BEGIN to describe what my hair would have ended up like. So we went over to Shawn & Annie’s and Anastasia very kindly braided my hair for me.
4. Flying with your arm in a sling is a pain in the butt, but the sling does provide a nice available pocket.

All that having been said, my hand is markedly better. Not back to “as good as new” yet, but 10 days postop it’s WAY better than it was 10 days pre-op.

So now a few comments about Las Vegas.
I did not like Las Vegas. I found Las Vegas to be overwhelmingly loud, crowded, too bright and flashy, and wicked expensive. We got our hotel and airfare (roundtrip for two adults and six nights at the conference hotel) for $1700. That’s cheap. Meals for two people for six days cost us nearly $1000 and for the most part we were eating at the hotel restaurant. It’s not like we were indulging in Fine Dining every day.
I liked staying at the Mandalay Bay. The hotel was lovely and the service was great. Also, not having to worry about transportation between the hotel and the convention center was fantastic. I could get up and dressed and be at my first lecture in the space of 20 minutes if I felt like skipping breakfast. It was, granted, about a quarter mile walk between our hotel room and the convention center, but since that was the majority of the exercise I got all week, I didn’t mind.
The convention was very much worthwhile. I sat in on some very interesting lectures and got some very good practice tips. I also got 20 plus hours of continuing education time so I won’t have to worry about not having my state-mandated 30 hours when my license comes up in June.
I also love the networking. Talking with vendors and the industry reps every so often is a good thing. I also won some or another drawing for which I entered at the exhibition hall so since, as I recall, I only entered drawings for i-Pads, I think I won an i-Pad. I’m still waiting for contact back from the company who called and left a message on my voice mail on Friday.
The display fountain at the Bellagio was really cool, the Pinball Hall of Fame was FABULOUS (although I’d advise against playing pinball six days after you have wrist surgery), The Mesa Grill was good food, and Cirque du Soleil’s show “The Beatles Love” was fan-freakin’-tastic.

As for the rest?
Too bright and too persistently bright (seriously, it was like staring at a strobe light for six days).
Too many drunk people. Waaaaayy too many drunk people.
Don’t even _ask_ about the Sirens of Treasure Island show! *shudder*
And $$$expensive$$$.

I’m too much of a hobbit for The Las Vegas Experience to have been much fun.
Andrew, however, had more fun than I did, but since he had the fun and since he has the photos, I’ll leave the rest to him.

4 Responses to “Wellman Type I”

  1. Eric Scharf Says:

    Our first visit to Vegas ran from Sunday through Thursday. We stayed at the Bellagio. Oscar came down with the stomach flu the previous Thursday, and he was still having painful cramps for the flight down, but he was fine Monday morning. On Thursday, we visited the Mandalay Bay to see the sharks, and Nathalie said, “A veterinary convention; I wonder if Margaret is town.” My response: “She’s got more sense than that.”

  2. Margaret Says:

    Nope, apparently I don’t. 🙄

    The conference was good, but I’m not sure I’d go back to Vegas.

    Hope Oscar is feeling better!

  3. Eric Scharf Says:

    Oscar’s doing fine, but while we were out of town our dog Rex was diagnosed with entropion, and we had the surgery on Sunday. We boarded him with the rescue mom from whom we adopted him last year, and her vet figured out what had flummoxed the people we’d been seeing in Bellevue and Issaquah. Now he’s in the Cone of Shame, but his eyes look much better.

  4. Margaret Says:

    I do not LIKE the cone of shame!

    But I do love entropion surgeries.
    I can even do them now since I’ve had my hand remodeled. Difficult to do the delicate stuff if your fingers go numb every two minutes or so.

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