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.