Monday, November 10, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 16 and 17

Time flies when you're not an invalid.

At my follow up I pretty much told my doctor that I'd rather not have surgery and would instead go the long route of stretching my arm back to where it needs to be. I get a little more back every week and I think I'll eventually get to a point where I'm happy.

Last night I thought I'd give the bow tie a shot and I was able to do it. A lot of the difficulty was getting my arm, wrist, and hand to work like they should. The wrist is plenty flexible but at certain angles when my elbow is bent I feel a little more tightness than is comfortable so I subconsciously bend everything the wrong way.

Bathing is getting very close to normal. I can wash my right armpit with very little effort though getting all of my back is still a mostly one handed ordeal but I'm working on that with some new stretches I've begun at therapy. Everything else is piece of cake. I can even dry off pretty quick without fear of breaking my arm.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still mowing the lawn with one hand. I'm just not mentally ready to put any real strain on it and probably won't until I hit that magical six month mark. Even then I'll probably go real easy on it.

I played guitar for a few minutes today. It felt completely normal. I never thought that would happen.

Picking up my son and getting him to my chest isn't at all difficult anymore nor is lowering him into his crib. I'm still missing muscle in a few important areas so I crawl around on the floor after him like a three legged dog. Perhaps some day I'll be able to straighten my arm out enough to do that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 15

I finally got the green light to abandon the brace. This is especially good because my arm was getting too big for it. I slept incredibly well last night save for the sick baby that kept waking up.

I've been making steady progress with physical therapy but steady also means slow. The shoulder has done better than the elbow for the most part probably because there wasn't as much damage except lack of use.

I'm still stretching out scar tissue in the elbow. The fact that it's getting gradually better leads me to believe I can recover without surgery. The hardest part is that stretching one way makes it harder to go to the other so I spend a great deal of my time stretching it back and forth to keep it loose. There are some days when I can't do this but oddly enough I have an easier time after taking a day off. There may be something to that. Muscle pain is not like it was thanks to the beef I've been putting on by picking up my heavy son. My muscles aren't quite there yet so any real stretching is done with the other arm since I'm not quite strong enough to pull things all the way towards me.

I can manage with what I've got currently and may just do another month of physical therapy before continuing on my own. My goal is to still be able to tie a bow tie by the end of the year. I think I can do it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 14

Little by little I'm getting muscle back. I was able to put my 1 year old in his crib last night which is probably a huge relief to my wife who has been doing it all on her own for the past four and a half months. We're going to have to work out a rotation so we can split duties.

I'm still wearing my brace when I sleep and when I do any strenuous activity which means I'm pretty much just wearing it when I sleep. It's getting smaller and smaller as I build up muscle in my arm.

On the recovery front, my pre-existing elbow pop that I was really hoping would be gone after my injury has returned which is either a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. It's a lot better than the elbow click I had a few weeks after the injury. Rather than feeling like the elbow is out of socket. Now it's back to the feeling like  knuckle pop which is somewhat soothing. It doesn't make a noise but I can feel it. I did it last night while I was rolling over. It didn't hurt at all but it scared me. It was easily one of the most annoying things in the world.

My shoulder is still being a bitch. I know it's getting loose because now instead of incredible tightness I've got my old shoulder pop back which was an old problem as well. Like the elbow it's just the way I've been since my mid twenties and doesn't hurt at all. I'll take it as a good sign.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 13

Little by little I'm returning to normalcy. As far as range of motion I'm still working on my three trouble areas which are extending and bending my arm at the elbow and getting my shoulder moving correctly again. I think the combination of physical therapy with a therapist and my own efforts at home are going well.

As far as straightening my arm it's been a slow battle but I do have some very good days. I have to keep these joints moving frequently to keep them from stiffening back up. Working in both directions at the same time makes is a little tougher as they seem to be against each other. Once I get one really stretched it's like the other has farther to go.

Bending my arm has gotten pretty good. My goal for the end of the month is to be able to tie a bow tie. I can get my hand into bow tie position but my dexterity is still a little off. I have to fight to urge to bend my wrist all funny. My hand is capable to doing most all of what it needs to do but I've gotten so used to bending my wrist in order to get my hand to my mouth and face. It really bugs my wife. I've made the most progress here which makes me really happy.

The shoulder is the rough spot. I can extend my arm almost straight up which is a vast improvement but going out to the side is still rough. I thought it was my elbow but it's apparently a muscle on my back that needs stretching.

So here we are, stretching constantly and taking ibuprofen from time to time.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 12

I'm going to change things up since my recovery is entering a new phase. My doctor has cleared me to start physical therapy and abandon my arm brace except for when I'm sleeping or doing any strenuous activity with that arm.

A month ago things weren't looking very well. I had very little elbow movement and the joint clicked like crazy. He was fairly certain that surgery would be needed to correct it. A month later and I've managed to get a lot of movement back on my own so the rest should be doable with physical therapy though I may never get back to 100% of my range of motion.

Last weekend I've been able to pick my son up and over the last few days I've been able to hold him in the "bad" arm. I still can't get him in and out of the crib but I think with enough work over the coming weeks I should be able to. There's simply not enough muscle to pick that giant up and not being able to completely extend my arm makes it difficult as well. I'm also going to hold off on loading and unloading him from the car just to be safe.

My assessment with physical therapy is tomorrow morning so I'll have a recovery plan for the ROM and muscle restoration. I'm going to have them take it easy since I've already met my deductible for the year and would rather take it slow. I think we were too aggressive with it last time.

I will continue with passive stretching at home like I've been doing since over the past week I've gone from being able to point at my head to washing my hair.

I don't completely trust my arm yet but I hope that will improve with time. When I take my wife and son to Disneyland next year I should be in pretty good shape.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 11

I think it was a good idea to take it easy this time around. I'm changing diapers without too much trouble these days. I can lift the beast with my left arm just enough to get a fresh diaper underneath without feeling any pain. There is a little discomfort from not having any muscle. I've also started some very careful baby lifting. I stand him up using mostly my right arm while steadying him with the left. He does most of the work. Then I can lift him a short distance to my lap for reading.

I've worked out a lawn mowing method since I still can't hold the mower with my left hand while pulling the starter. I put a clamp on the throttle and then pull the starter. The mower moves since I can't hold it in place with my bad arm but I get it started after a couple tugs. Thankfully it's self propelled so I can maneuver it with one arm.

This is hopefully my last week with the brace. With any luck I can start physical therapy next week. I've been moving my arm as much as the brace will allow. It keeps the bicep constricted so this isn't always easy. I've gone from being able to point at my nose and head to being able to hold a Kleenex to my nose and wash my hair. As always I'm still careful when I'm in the shower since I don't have the brace on. I can also touch my right shoulder and apply deodorant with my left hand. Exciting stuff.

Shoulder is also getting better. I can't point my arm straight up in the air but I can get my elbow up almost as far as my right arm when I bend the elbow.

My range of motion isn't great but it's usable. My brain knows what the arm is supposed to do but the fact that it won't makes certain tasks difficult. It's like my arm doesn't have any depth perception.

I've been lifting a little more than the 2lbs I've been restricting myself to. I can do about a half gallon of milk and I can carry my 32oz water bottle without any pain or discomfort. I'm not doing anything with actual weights though just to be safe.

At this point it's just the occasional pinch from the brace. I should have gotten a large instead of the medium which would have made things a little more comfortable but it's likely a bigger brace would have sucked as well. I don't get those warning pains when using my arm anymore so I can move about freely. Every now and then I bump my arm and the panic sets in but I'm getting better about that. I'm sure a few months from now I'm going to hit my funny bone and have a heart attack.

Range of motion and zero muscle are the current challenges. Both can be corrected with physical therapy though so really the name of the game is being as helpful around the house as I can without overexerting myself.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 10

I've got a busy week so I figured it would be best to do this a tad early. I'm getting better every day and have been working as aggressively as I can on my elbow without risking any damage to the upper arm. While I'm at work I work on bending the elbow since I don't really need both hands to do it. I've gone from being able to point at my face to being able to feed myself M&M's somewhat quickly. Straightening my arm hasn't progressed as well but I think that's due to the scar tissue. In the evenings I massage the muscles and tendons while straightening my arm. I've been keeping track via photos and I've definitely gotten it straighter. Two weeks from Monday I'll probably be done with the brace and will begin physical therapy. I really hope my progress with the elbow is enough for the doc to say I won't need another surgery. The shoulder is still weak and tight but it's getting better as well.

My hand is pretty much all better with the exception of the thumb and middle finger still being a little weak when I spread my fingers. I can type just fine. Flipping somebody off is a little tougher.

Besides continued brace wearing, I've been working on movement. I can almost face my palm up completely which is where I was before the second break.

The only pain I feel is from stretching like before. My forearm will be numb for several more months as the nerves heal very slowly but I can feel enough to where it's not annoying like it was before.

The brace makes a lot of this really tough. It's probably prohibiting a lot of my exercise but I'm still paranoid about the break so I suffer through it. I don't wear it when I shower but that little bit of fear keeps me from using that arm in the shower. I can reach most of my hair but I'm not about to start scrubbing away and have the arm break while I'm nekkid. The hardest thing now is feeling okay but not having the strength to do anything.

With any luck, my x-rays will come back good and I'll be able to start building up some muscle so I can hold my son and let the wife start relaxing again. I promised her a weekend getaway from me and my son as soon as I can get him in and out of his crib safely.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Here, have some money...

I'm a dreamer. I dream of not working. I think if I had a considerable amount of money I could pull that off. I know I've blogged about being crazy loaded before and this is no different. But on mornings like this where work sucks just a little more than normal, I take a breather and ponder a better life.

There's a knock at the door. My wife yells at me to answer it because she doesn't have any makeup on. Expecting a door to door sales monkey, I put on my best angry face and head to the door. Instead of a poorly dressed kid trying to sell me a newspaper subscription because it's 1985, I'm greeted by some people carrying balloons (because I'm five years old) and a gigantic check. "Congratulations. You're filthy stinking rich. What are you gonna do with the money?"
"I'm moving away from that asshole next door." I reply while gesturing towards my neighbor's house.

After the hoopla ends and my wife and I are left sitting there with our jaws in our laps I begin taking into account our good fortune. What next? Oh crap. I forgot I was working today. "Hello work. I'm rich now, so I won't be working anymore. I don't think I need to tell you where you can shove this job."

We're not sitting on a pile of cash just yet since we haven't deposited that giant check so really we'd probably just go about our business as if it was a Saturday. I'd play with my son while my wife takes a look at her Amazon wish list. My guess is that our boy has some new toys on the way and maybe a Keurig so we can stop drinking powdered coffee.

I think our next step would be to make good on my first declaration. My wife would show me houses she likes but that would take awhile. It would be hard not to go on a shopping spree but I think we're pretty grounded and really indecisive so it would take us awhile to make any spending decisions.

We might hire a nanny to help out until my arm is better.

I'd go get a haircut.

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 9

It's now been two months since my second break and three months since my initial injury. I'm still reasonably paranoid about breaking my arm again as is my wife. The occasional nightmare brings it all back. That being said, I'm doing reasonably well. I've been working on stretching the elbow very carefully. I went from being able to point at my nose to actually touching it without too much issue. I'm hoping within the next week I'll be able to scratch my nose with my left hand without thinking about it. Extending my arm is another story. It seems to be stuck where it's at. Sometimes it feels pretty straight but when I look at it I get a little depressed. That being said, it doesn't hurt when I extend it anymore. If I ever want to get back into yoga though, I'm going to have to either get it straight on my own or have it surgically corrected. I can deal for the time being.

Changing diapers is fairly easy now. I still have to lift his legs with my right hand and slide the diaper underneath with my left but at least I can do it. I still don't have the muscle in my arm to lift him up.

I still have a few more weeks in the brace before I can start physical therapy. In the meantime I'm working on curling my invisible weights and getting my elbow to bend a little more each day. I've been focusing on the elbow since that's the oldest injury that needs rehab. My shoulder is very stiff and has a tendency to pop when I try reaching for my right shoulder. This means putting on deodorant with my left hand will continue to be a bit of a struggle and washing will continue to be a one handed ordeal.

I'm not doing any strength training save for lifting incredibly light things. I can manage stuff under 2lbs so that's what I do.

Muscle discomfort under the brace is pretty rampant since I have to find a balance between supporting the bone with the brace and allowing room for the muscles to do their thing. I still have a little bit of pain in the elbow which comes from stretching. Every few days I take a break to let things calm down. I'd rather not take ibuprofen just because it makes the pain more pronounced when it wears off. I've been uncomfortable for three months now. A little soreness is easy to ignore. Straightening my arm is pain-free.

There aren't too many challenges. After three months I've gotten pretty good at doing everything with one hand. Keeping things moving is tough since I'm pretty stationary all day at work. I'd like to be able to pick up my son but the wife and I have adopted a better safe than sorry policy and I won't be picking him up until I can do it without discomfort.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 8

A few days late on my weekly updates but I'm sure you'll all survive.

This last week has been pretty solid. The arm pain from the break appears to have vanished and I'm using my arm a little more. Having a working hand has also been helpful. I can type once again which is probably the best thing. I'm still afraid of a pending break so I'm careful not to lift more than a couple of pounds just to be safe. It's been two months which is about in the middle of the recovery cycle for since I've been banking on 12 weeks for recovery. One month to go.

I'm still facing a month with this thing on my arm. I like the peace of mind I get from it since it protects my weak arm but I also makes bending my arm difficult. I'm still working on straightening my arm. I know they'd like to just me open and fix it that way but I'd like to get it straightened out on my own. I'd rather have six months of painful physical therapy than to face the prospect of having to start all over again with a gimpy arm.

I've only just started lifting my arm at the shoulder because I didn't have quite enough muscle to do it without a lot of discomfort. It's definitely tight but it should loosen up with use since I didn't damage anything up there.

Most of the pain I feel is muscle and joint pain from stretching my arm and occasionally in the bicep. The shoulder doesn't hurt per se but it is very tight. I've got most of the feeling back in my arm but I can tell the nerves are still working their way back up towards the wrist.

The lingering pain my left thumb is finally gone.

Sleeping has gotten a lot easier and I've even moved back into my own bed. I can sleep on both sides now but I don't stay on the bad arm for very long. I'm still very cautious while showering because I don't trust my arm without the brace. I'll continue doing all my washing with just my left hand. I'm actually pretty good at it.

Bending and straightening my elbow is a chore but the more I do it the less it hurts. Same goes for the shoulder.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 7

What a difference a week makes. Well... not really. I've mustered up the courage to move my arm and have done away with the sling. I sleep most of the night on my good side and don't wake up nearly as much as I used to. I may be moving back to bed with the wife. I'm also typing this with two hands although I have to put my keyboard in my lap.

I had my follow up this morning and it wasn't what I was hoping but there are silver linings on those storm clouds. I'm healing and the bone hasn't moved at all since the day I broke it. I can start getting on with my life since I have a lot of hard bone now but I still have to take it easy on account of my stiff elbow. I changed a diaper the other day and can do more of that. I will have to avoid picking up my son though since I'm not supposed to be torquing my arm. Pain won't let me do that anyway.

I've got to wear the Sarmiento brace for another month to protect the bone and prevent stress on the bone. During this time I can lift whatever my arm will allow. The trick will be avoiding pain. As long as it doesn't hurt when I do it I should be fine. Lack of muscle and elbow movement will keep me limited in that department. No physical therapy until after my next follow up. At the end of September I will go in for more X-Rays and possibly a CT scan though the latter will be a bit later since that's more in prep for surgery. Yes surgery. My doc wants me back on the table the first of November to release the elbow.

I was hoping for arthroscopic surgery like they do for tennis elbow and other minor set backs but I have a lot of scar tissue that needs to be removed if I'm going to be able to straighten my arm. It's not going to do it on its own. It would have been nice to be able to do this a month ago but break number 2 really screwed it up for me. They'll have to open me up again like they did the first time and will be cutting away all of the scar tissue in order to allow the arm to hang straight. He will likely remove the two screws as well just to get me as close to normal as possible. There are risks, of course, releasing the elbow. The bone can break again while taking them out I'm sure. Fortunately the risks are small and any breaks would be easily corrected with smaller screws and plates which wouldn't hinder my recovery in the slightest. Sarcasm.

I should be able to get right back to PT after that and should be right as rain before the new year. That means I'll be good to go for Disneyland but not so much for the rest of the year. I should be about 75% though so Jill won't have to struggle with everything.

I only get twinges of pain at the break site when torquing my arm which I don't do too often. I get some elbow pain when bending it and twisting my wrist. I'm supposed to keep doing my exercises to get rid of that. As the arm heals the torque pain should subside. Swelling has been almost non existent since I abandoned the sling.

I still can't do things with my arm like prepare elaborate dinners and such but I've gotten so used to doing everything with one arm I hardly notice. Really, it's all about the emotional challenges. I'm trying not to focus on the rest of the year and instead just take things day by day. I'm going to get better.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 6

Six to twelve weeks is what I was told. No, I'm not better but I do feel better. I just hope I'm not at the halfway mark as far as healing goes. I'd much rather be at the halfway mark on the recovery front. I've got one more week before I go back to see if my arm has done any healing since I had the hard cast removed.

I have a love/hate relationship my with my brace. I love that I can take it off and that my arm can breathe for the most part. I hate that it takes me a good day to get it comfortable. Too tight and my arm and hand swell like crazy and the bicep hurts when I move my arm. Too loose and it feels like bone will break again at any moment. Like usual my doctor didn't say one way or another which was better. As always it's "whatever's comfortable." Either way, I want this thing on my arm until the bone is no longer at risk to break. With any luck I'll be able to start PT after my next appointment. I'm still concerned about the prospect of another surgery to release my elbow. I don't want to delay my progress but I don't want to be going to Disneyland with a stuck elbow. I'm going to have the X-Ray the elbow so he can see where the lock is. I'm hoping the surgery recovery would line up with my current recovery so I don't have to take any more time away from taking care of my son.

Fear is a powerful motivator. After the first break I felt fairly invincible and was very aggressive with trying to regain the strength in my arm. I've been told time and time again by my doctor that it had nothing to do with the second break but I'm very paranoid now about using my arm. I know it works because I've certainly jerked my arm plenty of times now avoiding various hazards. There was no pain or very little pain during these maneuvers but they're still plenty scary.

Since I know the muscles that are left work, I've been doing very minute movements. Typically an inch or two here and there. The hard part is convincing my brain that the arm works. I will do this until I feel discomfort in my upper arm.

Lower arm is still a little sore from time to time and elbow is stuck at the same spot but getting a little looser.

Sleeping isn't as bad now. I still have to start sitting up but I  gradually remove pillows until I'm in a more normal position. I can lay on my side but not on the bad arm. I wake up a few time and switch to my back for a little bit but no more sitting up all night.

I remove the sling when I'm sitting. I still need to support my arm when I move about but I can stand and let my arm hang for a bit. This will be tough as long as my elbow is stuck. It will probably be awhile still until I can abandon the sling.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 5

A little from column A and a little from column B. I'm definitely not progressing like I did on my original injury but I knew that was probably going to be the case. Carrying this mostly dead limb around is getting fairly annoying. I start my day in decent comfort but by the end of the day my arm is pretty sore at the elbow and where the break is. After my son goes to bed I can hop in my recliner and relax. This is a big help.

I've got two more weeks until my next milestone. I try to raise my arm under its own power occasionally. I know I can do it because a few bumps have caused me to react by moving it. That hurts of course but not very much. I think more than anything I'm just afraid to move it. I don't feel as invincible as I did before the second break. I'm going to have to get it through my head that the arm can move safely once I get the go ahead from my doctor.

This last week was a slow one. I hope things pick up.

This begins my second week with my Sarmiento brace. I was fitted for a medium but they probably should have gotten me a large. There is still quite a bit of swelling around the elbow so I keep the brace a tad looser so my arm doesn't swell too much. The straighter I can put my arm the less it swells.

I was told I could sleep in whatever position was most comfortable. That of course means sitting up still. For the last couple of days I've been able to lay on my good side with a pillow supporting my bad arm for a few hours. My elbow is still very stiff since I wasn't able to complete my physical therapy. I can gradually straighten it out to about 120 degrees which is a little less than the 125 degrees I could do before my break. I've got a ways to go before I can do 180 degrees again.

The elbow is very stiff and clicks quite a bit when I try to straighten it. I've been told that will improve with use which of course I can't yet.

Showering is easier now that I don't need to bag my arm up. I still need to be careful because I have to go in with my arm unprotected. I keep it in my shower sling very close to my body.

Sleeping is the biggie. I'm hoping to be sleeping regularly in the next couple of weeks. It all depends on my X-Rays in two weeks.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Not All Doom And Gloom

I realize that all of my blog posts have centered around my injury as of late and it's probably made for pretty boring reading. As crappy as my predicament is I've gained a bit of perspective.

As bad as I have it it could certainly be worse. I can't hold my son but I can still hold his hands and kiss his face even when he doesn't want me to. Soldiers deployed overseas don't get any of that. People missing limbs don't get to hug their kids like I'll be able to do soon. I know my situation isn't permanent.

My wife has been the real trooper through all this. She's emerged as a very strong mother and I'm proud of her. I'm sure she'd throw me out if I ever did this again so I'll be very, very careful from here on out.

Graham's gonna be okay. He'll come out like his wife, stronger and wiser.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 4

Four weeks on and I'm slowly getting better. They took more X-rays today and removed the hard cast. The doc says that he can see hard bone forming on the X-ray which is good. I was hoping he'd say that I've miraculously healed but no suck luck.

My shoulder isn't as sore as they said it would be but my arm is very weak. I have pretty good wrist and hand movement but that's about it. I can lift my forearm about a half inch before I start to feel any discomfort. My arm feels like it weighs about 100lbs. It looks like I haven't lost very much muscle but that's because I'm still pretty swollen. My hand is not which means the brace isn't too tight.

I'm wearing a Sarmiento, cuff brace which is substantially more comfortable and better still can come off for showers. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it on without help and off so that's a bummer. I'll give it a shot then bug the wife. More than anything I just want a clean arm. I'll be in a sling for at least another three weeks which is when I have to go back in for more X-rays.

My doc has always been a tad wishy washy on what I should be doing with my arm. I explained that I'm a very motivated person and that I will overdo it if he doesn't give me specific instructions. No pain, all gain is the advice. I should only move as much as the pain will allow and no to try to work through it. I have to continue using stress ball to work the muscles in my forearm and hand. Lifting my arm requires a lot of effort but the real trick is lowering it. Much like swimming or hiking, I have to stay mindful about the trip back. I can't just let my arm drop because that hurts so I have to be able to lower it slowly. Doc suggested spotting myself using my other arm just to be safe.

My elbow still clicks like crazy. It doesn't hurt but it can be alarming. I was told that it's norma and should subside once I can start therapy.

As always, getting back to normal is the big deal here. I've got at least another three weeks of not doing anything. I can use my hand but without a supporting arm it's difficult. I can clip my son's finger and toenails so I can sort of help. I won't be happy until I can do diapers again. I won't be super happy until I can pick up my son.

I was told that I didn't have to sleep sitting up and could lay however I was comfortable. Comfort was not on the menu last night. I got about 5 hours of sleep. It wasn't really painful but every little movement produced a pressure sensation in my lower arm. I'm going to go back to sleeping upright for another week and see how it goes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 3

This is the beginning of my last week in the hard cast before switching to the Sarmiento brace. I'm not entirely sure what that will mean for me on the recovery front. It would be great if my arm will be strong enough to where I can remove the brae for showers but knowing my luck it will have to stay on for another week before I can do anything. I'm really hoping that my x-rays look good and that I'll closer to the six week end of the recovery spectrum rather than the twelve week. I think I've done a very good job of taking care of myself. My last injury was fairly healed at four weeks and I was able to begin therapy pretty quick. I'm keeping my fingers crossed but not getting my hopes up.

Nothing new treatment wise. I've got one more week in this cast before I'll have anything new to report.

The arm pain is pretty much gone. The elbow joint is still pretty clicky but it doesn't hurt when it moves. I don't feel the humerus moving anymore. I'm sure it might still move a little here and there but I don't feel it. Every night there's a sizable itch in the same spot. It's possible that it's due to the nerves waking up but it's also pretty gross in there. I have rather hairy arms so I'm sure it's not very pleasant.

Sleeping and showering are still a chore. I should probably shower more but it's a pain so I avoid it. I've found that Wet Ones do a pretty good job with my armpit. I can get in there and give it a good cleaning before deodorant. I can also get stick deodorant in there without any discomfort. I go on frequent walks with the wife and kid when it's not too hot. It still makes my arm itch but I'd rather get in a walk than sit around. I'll be very happy when I can bend over again.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Happy Place

Things suck for me these days. My job sucks and I've been nursing an arm back to health for almost two months now. My neighbors suck to the point of where any weekend they're home is a ruined weekend. I manage to not blow my brains out by looking at my wife and son and going to my happy place.

It's a place I'll never get to fully realize but I get to go there in my mind.

I wake up on a Thursday morning. I feed my son and eat a bowl of cereal. I won't be going to work because I don't have to. I have enough money so I don't have to work. I look out the back window and instead of neighbors having a beer at 9:30AM I see a modest property surrounded by trees. If I opened the window, I'd only hear nature.

Jill gets to sleep in.

I play with Henry for a bit and then get cleaned up. Henry gets some lunch and a nap then we all go downtown to Ted and Wally's for some ice cream. We went to the zoo yesterday. We'll visit the botanical gardens tomorrow.

No mansions. No sports cars. No yachts. Just comfortable living with all of my focus on my family. That's my happy place.

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 2

Two weeks in and time is crawling. I had my first follow up on Monday.

They removed the splint and switched me to a hard cast in order to let the weight of my arm keep the bone straight as it heals. My X-rays looked "good" to my doctor but it still looks awful to me and my wife. We were assured it's healing well. My arm has good alignment so I've got that going for me.

The worst part about the second week was forearm and elbow pain. There was a lot of joint movement but once the got me in a cast with my arm at a 90 degree angle (the ER team couldn't quite get it to 90) the elbow clicked and it felt great. There is still a little bit of movement with the humerus but pain is just an occasional pinch. I'm still going without pain meds. The worst sensation during the second week is the nerves in my arm coming back online from my original injury. It would give me a nice flash of pain several times a night though I haven't felt any since the switch to a hard cast.

I still have to sleep sitting up and will continue to have to do so for the next two weeks at least. I managed just two showers during the first two weeks which I'll readily admit was pretty gross. My wife and I have a needy baby and there just isn't much time for me to fuss with bagging my arm up. My cast is much smaller than the mess they had on my before so it should be a little easier to wrap up. I have rather skinny arms with pretty much no fat or muscle on the bad arm from seven weeks of little to no use. The bottom of the cast is pushing against the bone which is very uncomfortable. I'm currently fashioning some additional padding to support my arm there.

My hand is also very swollen so I have a stress ball that I squeeze but it doesn't do much for me.

As I said above, I'm not taking anything for the pain since I don't feel much. If I could lay in bed all day and sleep I'd dope up and enjoy the ride but I have to work and help around the house which I think is better than being a zombie.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spiral Fracture of Humerus - Week 1

I'll be doing a more focused blog on my recovery this time around. There's not very much info out there on breaks so hopefully somebody in my situation stumbles across this and finds it helpful.

Week 1
I'm hoping the first week will be the hardest so I can say the worst is behind me. I spent the first two days in the hospital sampling various pain killers and felt pretty lousy until I got home where I just felt sort of lousy. My biggest initial challenges were pain management and nausea. The latter is typically caused by stress in my case. This was my first morning where I was able to eat without the help of meds.

For now I have a few splints secured with elastic bandages keeping my arm from pooping into various painful positions. I didn't really pay much attention while they put them on. I have my first follow up appointment next week to have it changed. I dread getting it done.

The bones still shift though it's usually pain free. My heart still skips a beat whenever they shift. My arms and legs occasionally jerk at night as I fall asleep. When the bad arm jumps it's pretty painful but it's gone after a minute. I have to stand up straight to keep everything feeling good but it makes my back sore. I'll be getting back into yoga when I'm all done.

My body wants to stretch in the morning but this hurts a lot so I resist as much as my body will let me.

Since it's been about six weeks since my original injury I'm still fairly good at doing everything with one hand. Opening jars and such is still tricky but I manage. It may be longer this time before I can use my other hand to help with the twisting.

Sleeping is also difficult since I have to do it sitting up. I have a lot of pillows but it's still rough.

Using the restroom isn't too tough.

Showering is another story altogether. I'm committing to two showers per week until I can move my arm without pain. The entire ordeal takes me about an hour to do on my own. I start by wrapping a towel around the top my splint and wrap. I use masking tape because it rips easier. O then put a large garbage bag around that and then duct tape it to my body. Duct tape will stay put in the shower but it's tough to take off. Once I feel that I'm wrapped well enough, I use the crappy sling I was given at the hospital. I keep the shower nozzle pointed at the wall just in case. The less water coming onto contact with my protective layers the better. A sponge with a long handle is good for getting those hard to reach places. There's no good way to clean your good arm so I just get what I can. After I dry off, slowly, I can take a less damp, soapy wash cloth to my other armpit and dry it quickly.

I went on a short walk yesterday. It was exhausting but I managed. The only downside is that I have a partially swollen hand now. I made a glove from a compression sleeve that I had leftover from my last injury and it's keeping things as tidy as possible. May wait a day or two before another walk.

As long as my arm doesn't move it doesn't hurt so I haven't been taking anything for pain.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Square One

Just as things were getting back to normal, I experienced what has been described to me as a freak accident. I was replacing the sheet on Henry's mattress in preparation to begin sleep training him and moving back into my own bed. While stretching the sheet with my good arm and holding it with my bad arm there was a pop and suddenly I was on the floor watching my arm and hand twitch.

I screamed of course but didn't pass out incredibly. I told Jill to get Henry in the car and to stay away. I put my elbow back myself, thinking it was just a dislocation due to the extremely tight joints just slipping. my upper arm was also bending strangely but I had no reason to believe it was anything other than a dislocation. I held it all in place the best I could and made my way downstairs. Jill drove me to the emergency room.

Once there I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity. They finally got me into a room where I would spend the next three hours. I accepted morphine straight away but it didn't help much. I was quite cranky with the staff due to the severe pain. My father in law arrived and kept me calm while I waited. Jill had to get Henry home so he could be fed. The x-ray techs brought a portable machine this time but it took a lot of effort to get a shot of it. The two girls were very patient and nice. Moments later I'd be told that my humerus was broken. Again.

It was a spiral fracture that began near the end of one of my screws from the last surgery. It had apparently been weakening the bone until it just couldn't take it anymore. I would have to be admitted to the hospital. An army of nurses came in and got me splinted. My screams were so loud, my wife could hear me in the waiting room.

Once they had me adequately wrapped, I was moved upstairs to my temporary home. I painfully made my way into the uncomfortable hospital bed. I was given a shit-ton of pain killers then said goodnight to Jill. My heart broke as she left and I cried quietly as the drugs took hold.

The next morning was about what I expected. I was sick from the meds and couldn't do much of anything. I was visited by my doctor but was too out of it to comprehend anything. He came back when Jill arrived. I managed a bite of a hamburger and some soda but I couldn't bring myself to eat. I would later fill one and a half puke bags. Thanks, drugs. I was able to eat some jello after that.

They tried to put an immobilizer on my arm but my arm had too much stuff on it for them to fasten it. They hurt me quite a bit and I was very mean to them. They sent in another guy to help me get the sling back on then I passed out. I continued to be mean to everybody since I didn't know what they had done to me the night before and didn't think they were fixing anything. The head nurse came in and got me a doctor to speak with. I still wouldn't understand until later in the day. I was given a much lighter pain killer and slept better that night.

Friday morning I was doing better. I had calmed down and was able to use the restroom with less pain. My nurse helped me to a recliner in my room which was a little better than the bed. I slowly ate some cereal so I could take some more pain meds. Jill sent me a photo of her and Henry. I cried again but had to compose myself so I could heave the nurse bring me Kleenex. Jill called at that moment and I continued to sob like a baby. She talked me down and told me she was on her way with clean clothes. Once she arrived I perked up. We got me dressed and discharged.

I was happy to be home but I knew that this was going to be the beginning of a very long road to recovery. I see me doctor in a week and I will hopefully have a better idea of what to expect during the coming weeks.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

One Month

I wrecked my elbow a month ago and while the recovery is ongoing I'm in decent shape.

I've abandoned the hinged brace because it was keeping my arm in a bad position which was what was making my wrist sore. I'm in physical therapy now and after my first appointment I'm feeling pretty good. She got things mostly where they should be and now I have to keep moving it a certain way to keep it that way.

The muscles are still very tight but I'm getting more motion every day. My hand still doesn't work right and I'll be very upset if I need another surgery to correct it. Some days I can almost straighten my fingers but it's still really weak.

I've resumed most of my Henry activities and have begun wearing my wedding ring again. I still have trouble getting him into positions after picking him up since my arm still has a way to go until I can bend it but just being able to do most of what I used to be able to do feels good.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Halfway There

It's been three very long weeks since they fixed my arm but I still have at least three weeks. The doctor said six to eight weeks but I'm confident I'll be in pretty good shape by week six.

Pain is minimal and more in my forearm when I twists my wrist wrong. I have to be careful when washing my hands because lefty still doesn't work very well.

I'm much more active than I was a week ago. I can do simple tasks like opening doors and jars without much trouble and I can change diapers and dress Henry without too much trouble which takes some of the burden off of Jill. I still can't really pick HENRY up except to get him on my lap, stand him up, and lay him down. I can't move him from room to room.

I've adjusted to typing with one hand but I'm not very fast. I've tried using left hand but only my index finger works correctly so I'll have to wait for my hand to be working correctly before I'm able to type or play guitar. On the plus side I can touch my nose pretty easily and I can slowly apply deodorant to my right armpit with my left hand.

I've also gone back to wearing my compression sleeve. The swelling had gone down and I was getting a few degrees of motion every day but after laying on my arm wrong the night before last I had some more swelling. I'll be icing it down today and taking it a little bit easier on myself.

More than anything I want to get better so life can get back to normal. As much as I want to push myself to do as much as I can and heal up sooner I know I've got to let this one run its course.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Getting Better

I got my stiches out on Tuesday and had the half cast removed. I just wear a compression sleeve and a hinged arm brace now which has improved my daily life quite a bit.

I can take a shower now which is awesome. My arm was so nasty underneath all that stuff so it was good to scrub it down. I still have to be careful around the incision site which is fine because I'm too afraid to scrub it. The best part is not having to bag my arm and clumsily bathe in the tub. I still have clean myself with one arm but it's better.

My arm is still very weak due to muscle and tissue damage but I can change Henry's clothes and diapers with minimal struggle. I still can't pick him up which means Jill still has to suffer. I can only lift about two lbs.

Typing is still a challenge sine I can only make a fist with my left hand. As the nerves and muscles heal I should get all of that back. My only other issue is the limited motion of the arm and the swelling. I really want this compression sleeve off.

My job until my next appointment it to touch my nose which is still really hard. I hope I buff up enough to do it so they can give me more motion in the arm. Day by day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Still Broken

I had a better day yesterday. I'm on Zofran for nausea now which Jill thinks is psychosomatic. She's probably right. I'm a pretty anxious person to begin with so I'm just watching the clock/calendar while I heal.

My hand still doesn't work very well but that's to be expected. I was told to move my fingers so that's what I do but it's exhausting. Every now and then I move my arm in a funny way and it hurts. That's probably also making me anxious.

I took a bath last night because I get dirty really quick now. I'm going to try to make to next week's appointment with just one more deep cleaning. Hopefully whatever they  do on Tuesday will improve my mobility. This half cast and gauze  wrap sucks. The itching where my stitches are also sucks.

I just want to fast forward. My anniversary is on Tuesday and the only thing I'm giving my wife is another day of having to take care of Henry on her own. I'm a shittastic husband.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Broken and Shaken

I've decided to blog my recovery. It's been very difficult thus far so maybe putting it all down here will help. This should at least be better than replaying it in my head over and over.

On Monday the 2nd I was killing time while Henry took a nap and managed to lock myself out of the house and in the backyard. I didn't want to wake Henry so I decided to hop my 6' fence. I knew it was a mistake before I hopped down but I did it anyway. I immediately slipped when I landed. I knew that I had dislocated my elbow and probably broke a bone or two.

I was between the houses but I heard my neighbors next door and yelled for help. An ambulance was called and I was taken to the ER. Four hours later I was released with my elbow back in place save for a broken bone that was not. I would have to wait until the end of the week to get that fixed.

The moment I fell I immediately thought about Jill and Henry and what this would mean for them. Jill is capable doing all the baby stuff but having to be the sole caregiver was what really worried me. I then thought of Henry and how much all of our time together means for me. Depression set in pretty quick and all I could think of was what I've done to the two people I love the most in the world.

By Friday everything was back to where it should be thanks to a couple of long screws. Jill's parents have helped so much during all of this and there is probably no way we'll ever be able to thank them.

I went back to work Monday but I've been suffering quite a bit. I've cried for my wife and son more than I'd like to admit. I thought I was reacting to stress from my injury but I'm fairly certain it's mental. I've been having difficulty eating which I know will hinder the healing process.

I'm trying to take it day by day but all I can focus on is the minimum of 6 weeks of recovery. I've always been a fast healer but this is very different. I didn't have people depending on me before and now I can't do anything for them.

I've been trying to keep my fingers moving but that's very challenging as I can really only make fists. It's as if I'm being restrained. I've got everybody I know praying for me and Jill is managing but I still have to do my time.

I hate myself a lot right now.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Song of the Day

A couple of years ago I embarked on a journey to post a crappy song to Facebook every day. I managed to do just about every day with just one or two repeats. Part of the problem was picking a song each day. I had to first think of a song that sucked.

This time I'm going to do a good song every day. I did a crappy song before because more people can behind garbage for some reason. Instead of making my selection every day I'm doing it all up front to guarantee that nothing repeats. It will probably take me a year to come up with 365 songs.

I don't want to just go through my iPod and pick the songs I like to listen to personally. There are a lot of great songs that I don't necessarily want to listen to each day but I still regard as being pretty darned good. I love NWA's "Straight Outa Compton" but I'd rather not have it in my rotation.

The idea is to get as broad a range of music as possible. Don't expect to see a lot of today's Top 40 stuff because it's pretty much all shit. I'll do my best to get recent stuff on there but it's going to be hard to find stuff that doesn't irritate me.

I've got about 25 so far. 340 to go.