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.