Hospital Happy Dance « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Hospital Happy Dance

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Cell phone image created by my younger daughter Alissa Morris.

Hand Report; Hospital Happy Dance

That’s me dancing in my room on Tuesday evening in St. Charles Hospital on Long Island. Why the happy dance? I had, with the help of younger daughter Alissa–who was visiting with my younger sister Arna–and older daughter Jennifer, BAA Executive Director and IT specialist–via cell phone, just gotten on line with the wireless hotspot from my Verizon Motorola Droid cell phone! Whoohooo.

So how did I wind up in the hospital? I flew to Hartford, CT on Saturday, May 14. Joe Peters who was attending the Sunday seminar kindly met me at the airport and drove me to the hotel in Storrs on the UCONN campus. Joe also did yeoman’s service handling the BAA sales table on Sunday. The infected hand remained infected. The swelling was about the same. Hand surgeon friend Steve Garren, plastic surgeon Dr. Ivan Turpin (who contacted me via the blog), and several other medical friends advised that I get to the hospital asap after the program unless the new antibiotic that Steve had suggested on Friday worked miraculously well. It did not. With a most appreciative audience in excess of 150 folks, the program went well. Having my arm in a sling to elevate the hand did not hamper me until the late-afternoon Photoshop session.

During a late morning break a very concerned and caring woman named Patricia came up to chat about my infection. I removed the bandage and the splint and she noted some redness on the dorsal surface of the palm that I had missed. She told me that she had had an infection after trigger finger surgery, and held up her right hand as proof. The last digit of her middle finger had been amputated and two adjacent fingers had been somewhat mangled. Needless to say, she got my attention. I was ready to leave for the ferry and head to a hospital on Long Island. As part of me did not want to skip out on the afternoon session I opted to ask for on-the-spot medical help.

Drea Koval, a veteran ER nurse and John Vose, an experienced EMT stepped up to the plate for me. Noting no heat to go along with the redness, no red streaking, and good capillary refill in all five fingertips each felt that I would not be in additional danger by staying. So I stayed. In a strange twist off fate, it turned out that I had awarded three of the top contest spots to images created by Drea Koval while John Voss garnered an honorable mention in the Birds category,

Once the program was over I high-tailed it down to the New London-Orient Point ferry catching a ride from Pat Welch, a kind seminar attendee who lived not to far from New London. I was met at the ferry terminal by my two sisters, Arna the younger, and Ilene the older. I decided to head straight to the hospital. The ER was not too bad and after evaluation and a bag of intravenous antibiotics they were ready to send me home. I suggested that I be admitted and be seen the next day by the surgeon who rebuilt both of Ilene’s thumbs so that he could irrigate the infection as Steve and Ivan had suggested…. I am guessing that the ER physician did not take kindly to my self-evaluation as my idea did not fly. They did tell me that Puopolo’s office would be expecting my call the next morning at 9am. I took a cab to my Mom’s and was asleep by 3am.

Ten seconds after first seeing my hand Dr. Puopolo said, “We need to get you into the hospital tonight. Surgery at 7:30am on Monday to put in a tube and flush and drain the hand.” It is now Sunday at 9:49pm. Though I will not see the doctor until Wednesday morning he did relay the following great news: “The tendon itself is not infected.” I am in a splint with lots of bandages in place. The local is starting to wear off but I have not requested any pain meds yet. As the surgery was much more extensive than the original surgery I was given a general anesthetic; I came out of it fine but for the feeling of a sore throat that comes with having a breathing tube inserted while you are under. The staff has been great and I have great confidence in Dr. Puopolo. More news tomorrow. 🙂

46 comments to Hospital Happy Dance

  • Hey Artie, I did not know about your hand. I’m glad it is over. You have a good Guardian Angel around you, more than one I think! Cheers, Raul

  • avatar Gerald Kelberg

    A saying attributed to Oscar Wilde – ” He’s very fond of nature, despite what it did to him!”

    Keep getting better! Regards, Gerald

  • avatar DM Images / Rob

    All the best Artie!

  • avatar Gerald Kelberg

    Hey Maestro,

    Looks like you really messed up with that hand recovery! Hope it all gets a lot better real soon. Best wishes, Gerald

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Gerald, There are only three types of business, my business, your business, and God’s business. The infection was God’s business. I am doing my best to get better but have not messed up at all yet as far as I know :).

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks Patricia, I have been thinking of my Dad often; he went through the last 57 years of his life doing things with his one hand, his left. And he as right-handed before he was hurt on Okinawa in ’44.

  • …betadine and the spirits are your friend. Can’t help but wonder if you are aware of your father’s constant love and support as you move through this challenge…spirit dances for you…p.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Dr. Ivan, The left hand has been elevated 99.9% of the time. I did the dance for ten seconds to celebrate getting on line. The challenge now is identifying the bird–I mean the bug–that is causing the problem. I am exercising in betadine baths 3X per day with range of motion increasing each time. Is it the stiff swollen ligaments around that first knuckle that is causing the impingement? later and love and thanks to the many for their good wishes. artie

  • Best wishes Artie… all the best Alister & Juanli

  • avatar Dirk Krist

    Man, you need to get a haircut. That is scary.

  • avatar Juan Carlos Vindas

    Hello Arthur!
    Hopefully you will be fine soon. Take good care of that hand, we amateurs need more inspiration coming from you!

  • Artie,

    So glad things are working out, and they seem to have finally gotten things under control. It was truly an honor to meet you Sunday. I have only been photographing for a couple of years, and have you to thank for inspiring me to keep learning as much as I can.
    I look forward to seeing you again, free of splints and casts !!

    Be well,

    John Vose
    Your friendly neighborhood Paramedic

  • avatar cheapo

    Glad you’re in good hands, (no pun intended, but it’s funny anyway!). But please please please tell me you’ll put your own clothes on and not wear that hospital vest in the street!!! OMG!!! ;¬)

    Best wishes, Pete.

  • It’s nice to read all the well wishes for you. Take care and see ya soon!

  • avatar Bob Handin

    Artie Glad you are taking care of that hand. You need them both to get those fantastic pics. We all want and need you fully functional. Best, Bob

  • avatar Charlie Young

    Take care,Artie. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  • avatar Peter Noyes

    Very sorry to hear about your hand. The good news is that you seem to have a positive attitude and apparently there will be no major damage to your hand. You are a very fine person and your life should be full of sunshine. You will be in my prayers and I wish you nothing but the very best.
    Keep your positive outlook and attitude and may God watch over you.

  • avatar Indian River Photo Club


    All your friends and fellow members at the Indian River Photo Club wish you a full and speedy recovery.

  • avatar Ivan

    Alissa’s picture was great but I am sure Dr Puopolo expects you to keep that left hand elevated. By the way, what are you doing with that left hand? 🙂 Glad you are feeling better.

  • avatar Ilija Dukovski

    All the best Artie, get well soon.

  • avatar Peter Noyes

    Artie,Very sorry to hear about your hand. The good news is that you have a positive attitude and it sounds like there won’t be any serious damage to your hand. I will keep you in my prayers and wish and wish you nothing but the very best. Keep your positive attitude and may God watch over you.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Hi All, Thanks for the good wishes. The initial culture on the fluid from last Sunday showed no growth (even though I had only been on the first antibiotics for less than a day). The harvest from yesterday’s surgery is being cultured as we speak. I learned after last night’s post that identifying the culprit bacteria and eliminating the infection might be somewhat of a challenge. Right now the hand seems much better though it is still under wraps and I have not yet seen the surgeon (that as of 8:15 am Wednesday). In the meantime I have no pain post surgery and have have not needed any pain meds. All five fingertips are pink with good blood flow and when I extend that middle finger inside the 1/2 cast there seems to be no pain. Dr. Garran by phone from CA is optimistic about my outcome.

  • Wishing you a speedy recovery, Artie. Watch out for those infections, they always seem to end up worse than the original condition.

  • avatar Patricia

    So relieved you broke out to take a stand for your hand. You deserve the best advocate (yourself)…As you know, l learned the hard way. Trusted my superiors too completely…best hands are your own…now turn your energies to the good fight….glad to have had the benefit of Arthur Morris day Sunday, but moreso to have convinced you not to let down your guard and concern…anyone offer you a last of leeches yet… 🙂

  • Wow, what an unexpected ordeal for you. You got some great advice, and most importantly, took it. Artie, you are an icon, valued friend and exalted teacher to so many of us, and we are all very relieved you are doing better. Hang in there, we are all thinking about you.

    Best personal regards,


  • Mon o man this turned out to be a bigger ordeal than planned! Hang in there…

    We’ll need to see an animated .gif of the before and after!! 🙂


  • avatar Chris Cooke

    Hi Old master! I have been following your treatment with interest and showed the transcripts to my Specialist who has been treating the torn tendon and Ligament in my right ankle for 3 years (Rupture of the Posterior tibial tendon and rupture of the Anterior Talofibula Ligament)

    The first question he asked was did they culture the tissue sample to identify the particular bug prior to beginning the Antibiotic therapy and did they take your Diabetes into consideration?

    I am assuming the answer is yes to both in which case I wish you all the best and that with your determination you will beat this bloody bug.

    All the best Artie and remember “illegitimi non carborundum”

  • I emphasize Kens words!

  • You should listen to women more often – infections as you know are not nice – I guess the decision is still up to you – do you want to take some time off and heal or keep going and who knows what might happen to your hand or arm – take time to smell the roses-dam it- , you deserve it to yourself and to your family. –

  • Best wishes to you, get well soon,Artie and take care of you!

  • avatar John Drouilhet

    Dear Artie,
    Sorry you are having difficult times now. However having been exposed to your fighting spirit on Midway last month, I know you will do well. Hang in there. Aloha, John

  • avatar Jay Gould

    Mate, if I could give you a “hand” I certainly would! Hope you have a speedy recovery; finally!

    Weird,first post disappeared into cyberspace.



  • Get well soon Artie.

  • avatar Jamie Douglas

    Dance magic dance. Get well soon.

  • I’m sorry to hear that the hand is still in the healing process. 🙁 I hope it is better soon, and it is good to see you so cheerful in the picture!

  • Glad you got the treatment you needed. I had a hand infection from a cat bite this winter, and wish I’d gone to the doctor right away, because I ended up in the emergency room too. But I didn’t need surgery – antibiotics did the trick. Anyway, hope everything goes smoothly, and your trigger finger gets well soon!


  • avatar Sid Garige

    Get well soon Artie. All the best for a fast and full recovery.

  • avatar Sidharth Kodikal

    Wish you a speedy recovery Artie. Get well soon.

  • Hang tough.
    If I can help out some how let me know.
    Get well, be well.
    Your Pal,

  • I’m glad you finally got excellent care. I feel the physicians in FL are not as caring as those in the sophisticated areas of the north. I’ve seen that first hand. Sorry to hear about the surgery again, but happy you got taken care of. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  • avatar Paul Smith

    Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!!

  • avatar Paul Smith

    Best wishes for a full ands speedy recovery!!

  • Boy, if I were a nurse and walked into you like that….I don’t know……sort of Jack Nicholson like.
    I hope you are better soon. I’m sorry you have a hurt paw.
    Michael & I send our love.