House arrest

“It’s just like Hell”, I remember a friend telling me years ago when she was being treated for carpal tunnel and could not lift anything. She is a creative person like me, and even reading in bed semi-violated her restrictions; this was before e-readers and even laptops.

My restrictions aren’t as prohibitive as hers were. I am not supposed to lift my right arm over my head  nor pick up anything that weighs more than 5 pounds. Included in that not picking up is not exerting more than 5 pounds of force, like in pulling open a heavy door, mopping the floor, doing laundry, and other activities of daily life. I’ve even had to rethink how I get up out of bed! I can’t push up using my right arm. While I can sew, I probably shouldn’t since the fabric might be too heavy for me to lift!

I am definitely right handed. So dominant is my right side that when I tried using a contact lens for seeing up close in one eye and one for far away in the other,I couldn’t adapt, it made me dizzy and nauseous.

The really stringent restrictions were only supposed to be for two weeks, which should have ended soon. Alas it was not to be. Last Friday, I went to my Centro de Salud (health center) to have my stitches removed.

Since I had no idea what to expect, I was dreading going to the Centro de Salud. Expecting that I would have to make an appointment and then stand in a long line, I went up to the information counter. Imagine my relief when they told me that I just needed to go down the corridor and knock on the door at curaciones.  Curación is one of those words where the literal translation sounds odd to an English speaker. It means cures, but I think of it as treatment. Since someone was ahead of me, I had to wait a few minutes.

My surgeon, Dr Lechuga, put in a lovely, plastic surgeon type suture. Apparently, there are two types of stitches used to seal wounds. The ones I have had experience with are put in one by one and individually tied. The main difference, as I understand it, is that the rolling stitch is snipped at the ends and pulled out while the “regular” kind is individually snipped and removed. I think my nurse, who was young and seemed inexperienced, had never encounter rolling stitches before.

I can’t really say what she did, because I had my eyes closed. I am not curious about surgical things, rather the opposite. However, she commented that my stitches were ingrown. I am a fast healer but I sincerely doubt that my stitches got ingrown in a week. I could feel her snipping along the line, and trying to pull the stitches out, one by one.

Eventually, she knocked on the office door and got the doctor. I overheard some commentary and he finished the job. He told me that one of my stitches had opened and that I needed to return Saturday and Sunday to have them seen to. I asked if I should just go to Urgencias (emergency) at the O’Horan and have them redone. He didn’t think I needed to do that. On Sunday, I was told to return on Monday. On Monday, the head nurse told me that all my stitches were open and that I needed to see my doctor so he could evaluate me.

“I don’t understand what you are telling me, come to the office at 3 pm” was my surgeon’s response to my text. In the office I explained what happened.

He looked at my wound, shook his head and told me, “I need to replace those stitches. Just wait outside until I see my last patient and I’ll take care of it.”

On the way to the outpatient surgery, he admonished me, ” I do not want anyone else to touch those stitches. Come see me next Monday so I can check them, and the following Monday we’ll see about removing them.”

As I was laying in the bed waiting for him to stitch me up, it occurred to me that no one knew where I was or what I was doing. Normally, Duke, would have accompanied me, but I had gone alone. I really felt alone at that moment, but thankfully didn’t start crying.

So my clock has been reset, my two weeks started again. When I asked about cooking, Dr L shook his head and told me to not do anything for the next two weeks.

What do I do all day? I read, surf the net, crochet a little, visit with friends, and generally am bored to tears.

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. hola theresa,

    is your doc’s name really dr. lechuga? oh well, i guess that’s no worse than esteban algodon as i somethimes think of steve. then again maybe it is just a pseudonym-or is that even the correct word? my memory is going, going, GONE!!!!!! while in hawaii i actually bought an english dictionary as i am either becoming senile or just have too many languages mixed up in my head and sometimes i can’t think of certain words in english. or, it could be part of growing older.

    so sorry you’ve had to go through this restitching. but as you said, it’s life. mistakes do happen. too bad the nurse didn’t ask for assistance sooner. i never heard of those rolling stitches you had. mine have always been pulled out one at a time.

    hope you enjoy the pix i e-mailed you. best wishes for a new year filled with recovery-you’ve had too much to deal with. hopefully all the bad parts are in the past. just give yourself time to mourn, heal and make the best of each day. i know that’s easier said than done but it’s the best way to live.

    God be with you.

    teresa in nagoya

    just 6 months and 3 days and we’ll be headed back to the u.s. we love it here but will be ready to go home after 5 years here instead of the original 2. of course we asked for the extra time, so i’m not complaining.

    • Hi Teresa,
      Yes, it really is. It sounded funny to me at first but now I don’t think one way or another about it. He is great, and has a private practice besides working for Seguro Popular.

      I am off house arrest now, he wants to keep my stitches in longer but he said I can resume normal activities, as long as I don’t over do it. The rolling stitches are a plastic surgery stitch, it’s the first time I ever had them and probably the last.

      Christmas day was hard, I actually found myself sobbing uncontrollably, but it’s all part of life. He was my best friend and I miss sharing my life with him.

      I understand that moving “home” is often fraught with culture shock, it will be interesting to see how it goes after being gone so long.


    • NO. I. DO. NOT. NEED. A. PUPPY.

      Actually Furgus being part Maltese already has puppy behaviors, even though he is supposed to be two years old. Having a dog is a big help, I have to get up and do stuff and he is very affectionate.


  2. You have such a good attitude, I agree with you that you’re getting all the bad luck out of the way, 2016 should be much better! I think of you all the time, take care.

    • Thank you Nancy,
      My attitude certainly has taken a beating this year. My normal default state is happy, so I have hope that I will get back to normal, maybe not real soon, but eventually.


  3. Hola Theresa,

    Wow! Sounds like you aren’t getting a break. I’m so sorry to hear you have to restart your clock, especially with so many restrictions. My own, recent surgery kept me from lifting more than 15 lbs for 6 weeks, but I mis-heard and thought it was 25, and I seem to have lived to tell the tale.

    While healing up, I found this documentary on Varanasi, India and was captivated. ( I hope you enjoy.


    Kim G
    El Granada, CA
    Where we finally learned that it’s the post office’s fault that it’s “El” and not “La.”

  4. Jeeze! One of these days you have to get a break. 😉 Blessings…for strong, uncomplicated healing

  5. Time to binge watch some mind-numbing TV series. Parks & Recreation, The Good Wife, Modern Family, Orange is the New Black.

    • Jennifer Rose.
      Yeah, the situation is perfect for binge watching tv. So far I have caught up with Grimm and The Big Bang Theory. I’m in the middle of watching this season of Elementary. I missed most of season 9 of the Good Wife, so I just started to download it, I can’t wait to see what is going on this season.


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