Other Side of the Stretcher (Ganglion)

I don’t even recall how I first noticed the bump on the top of my right hand near my wrist.  But I’m going to guess it didn’t just “appear” overnight.  Eventually I started noticing I had numbness and tingling in my pointer, middle, and ring finger of that hand especially early in the morning, and occasional pain and stiffness if I held a pen in my hand for too long.

The funny part, is that it didn’t even occur to me until now to get it checked out.  While working (onco) one day, I showed one of the other RNs and asked about it – her immediate response was “that’s a ganglion!”.  A what?! “You have to whack it with a book.  Drink a few glasses of wine tonight, and get your sister to smack your hand with a bible… err, an old nursing text book. You probably don’t have a bible at home” (ha ha, she knows me well).  I approached one MD while he was on the floor — his evaluation: “it’s part of your joint”. *insert rolly eyed smilie here*. I’m not a doctor but even I know it’s NOT part of my joint (not even close). Finally, I ‘harassed’ another MDs that rounds on the floor.  She just looked at it and said in her accent “that’s a ganglion cyst” and proceeded to give me options to get rid of it.  She took down my information and referred me to one of the better plastic surgeons here. (One of the few perks of working with good doctors).  The cutest part was her calling my cell phone and leaving me a voicemail with her cell phone number to call her back about the appointment she made for me.  It all happened so fast also, which was nice and effortless on my part.

Naturally, my sister and I youtubed “ganglion cyst on hand removal” one night.  Pretty darn gross. If you’re a freak like me, youtube “Hand Ganglion Cyst Excision (Dorsal)” and watch. Fantastic.

The appointment was set for today.  My manager was nice and gave me a day off (paid…. vacation) as I was scheduled to work dayshift today. Another perk: I was able to sleep in this morning. ahhh. (haha Sarah!!) Anyways, as the title of this entry suggests, I now better understand why the general public complains about the hospital.  Could I find a stupid spot to park at 1230pm?! No meter parking left. The rest are all handicapped spots and taken.  I was hoping I would not have to use my parking tokens, but alas, after driving around the parking lots for a good 8 minutes, I finally resigned myself and parked on the rooftop of the north tower where I normally park when at work. Drive through the gate to see there are only handicapped spots left (I contemplated parking there, but then my conscience got the best of me; gdaaamit) and this parking spot that was clearly meant for a smart car.  I managed to squeeze the SUV in, but every part of me cringed at the thought of some idiot leaving a dent in my doors. After this traumatizing experience (and I hadn’t even made it INTO the hospital yet) I felt that much more empathy for my patients and their family members.  And that doesn’t even include the parking fee $$.

I make my way to the ambulatory care unit (which is located on both the 1st and 2nd level of the south tower).  Wait in line with a “pick a number”, only to find out the doctor I have the consult with is located upstairs on level 2. Sigh. Upstairs I go to see the waiting room is PACKED full of people who all clearly look like they don’t want to be there, and grab a new number. Double Sigh. Have a seat. Wait.  And wait. And wait. It’s warm and this guy across from me with a black eye and left arm in a sling keeps staring at me.  Fantastic.  She finally calls my number and I register. Wait again. And again. Listen to a few random strangers talk about how ridiculous the parking fee is at the hospital. I silently agree in my head.  Check Facebook. Boring. Check Twitter. Nothing new.  A short male nurse finally opens the door and calls my name.  Alas. He shows me to a stretcher, asks me to have a seat. Says “Kimberly, right hand eh?” I nod my head.  He then checks something off on the paper, smiles and winks at me.  What. The.  Was that meant to be friendly? It turned out creepy.  And completely unprofessional on his part.  Tsk tsk.  All the while, 2 medical students and a resident (?) are looking at an x-ray of a hand (his name, and personal information clearly visible on the computer screen in my curtained-off area).  They leave soon after but don’t bother closing the x-ray that’s on the screen (eeeek!! confidentiality broken).
Another little wait, and the MD finally comes behind the curtain with a different set of medical students following him like lost little puppy dogs, introduces himself and starts questioning me about my hand.  He stated he could surgically remove it, however it will leave me with a scar and a high risk of permanent nerve damage due to the location of the cyst.  He believes if it’s not bugging me all the time to leave it as is.  But finally says it’s my decision, and left me his office number (and cell, haha) if I decide I want it removed or if the symptoms get worse.

All in all, a pleasant experience, however I definitely prefer being on the other end of the stretcher.  I am happy to be healthy and not needing to utilize our healthcare system at this point in time.  This experience definitely reiterated how impatient I really am.  Included driving the park lots, finding a spot, registration, waiting time, and time actually spent during the consult — a little over an hour.  Not too bad.

PS, I don’t think it’s much of a decision.  I cannot risk permanent nerve damage on my dominant hand. I’ll “suffer” for the time being.

Image

(Not my hand, but looks somewhat like this)

♔ Kimmie.L

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Esthetic Tip: True Age via Neck and Hands

One of my Esthetic professors stressed an important point I had never really thought about. We spend all this time and money to keep our face looking luminous, youthful, and smooth, that we often forget about one area that can be a dead giveaway for your age; our neck and hands.  This area below the chin is exposed to just as much sun damage and harmful environmental stressors as the rest of our bodies, yet we neglect to provide proper care.

So the real question is, what can we do about this?

You can panic, run to your nearest department or drugstore, and spent major $$$ on specialty creams and serums for the skin on your neck, when in reality there’s a simple solution to combat this issue. Extend your regular products used on your face downwards.  This means exfoliators and moisturizers – you can most definitely utilize these great products on the neck and decolletage area (upper chest).  Choose a moisturizer with Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) in it to act as a chemical exfoliator as well. This will promote cell turnover, supporting the structure of the skin to keep it soft and smooth.  Ahhh.

What else can we do? Sunscreen. Slather it on, ladies and gents. Many of us, including myself, don’t even think twiceabout not using it — when it’s the one thing we shouldn’t be leaving the house without! Don’t bother with just using sunscreen in the summer months either; winter for us Northern gals is just as bad, if not worse, than the blazing sun and sand on the beach.  Many moisturizers and makeup products label the inclusion of “15 SPF” … but in order to properly protect our precious skin, ensure you use a sunscreen with full protection.

Final thoughts: hydrate and protect whatcha got.

Can you recommend any specific products you’ve used that has made a difference

Product I can personally recommend:

Eucerin Plus Smoothing Essentials – with AHA.  Fast absorbing, non-greasy. Leaves my skin feeling smooth due to the AHA acting as a gentle exfoliator.

♔ Kimmie.L

Keep Your “Pearly Whites” Pearly and White

I’ll be the first to admit; I love coffee.  So when people say skip the caffeine in order to maintain gorgeous, white teeth that everyone lusts after, I laugh.

So no, you don’t have to switch to Chardonnay or give up your daily cup to keep your smile sparkling. Use these simple tips instead!

• Chew sugarless gum, or have a quick swish with water after you eat or drink to eliminate stains. So grab those reusable water bottles and packs of Stride gum, and enjoy your cuppa!

• When drinking dark-coloured fluids such as coffee, or pop, try to keep them from touching the front of your teeth. A simple way of ensuring this is to use a straw a la Mariah Carey.

• Snack on celery — or carrots or cucumbers.  These foods require a lot of choewing, which steps up saliva production and flushes away stains.

• Floss!! It helps to erase those icky stains between teeth. Plus helps freshen breath, as food particles often get stuck between teeth and start producing an unpleasant odour.

• Stop smoking. Tobacco is the top tooth stainer — and you don’t want all those at-home whitening trays to go to waste. They’re not cheap!

With these simple tips, you can ensure you’re camera ready anytime. It’s your life; smile!

♔ Kimmie.L