Friday, August 3, 2012

That explains a lot

Another post about my arm. Eventually I will post about something else again, but this has pretty much taken center stage for the time being.  

I went back to the orthopedist office Tuesday to get my stitches out. I wasn't smart enough to read my chart when they left it lying next to me until it too late to sneak a peak. I was able to catch a few things on it, but really, I have had no idea what happened to my wrist. When I came into the ER, things were pretty mangled, and basic questions like "How long will I need to wear a cast?" weren't even worth asking. And my ortho doesn't have much of a bedside manner*, so when I did ask questions, he mostly ignored me.

Then I had my incision check about a week after the surgery and his nurse,whom I will affectionately refer to as Brunhilde, proceeded to yank and pull and twist my arm with zero regard to its extremely inflamed state. She also informed me that I had to practice turning my hand palm up or I would loose that ability and have to  physical therapy... except she didn't say it that way... it was more like, "If you are a whiny-baby and sit around acting hurt all the time, this will be all your fault and PT will be your punishment."

I tried and tried to turn my hand up (supination) constantly, but it wouldn't go. Not like when you stretch out a muscle and you are fighting the burning of the stretch, but it just flat out stopped at a certain point and that was it. I kinda assumed that it was the cast in the way, but I think deep down, I knew it wasn't the cast.

Fast forward to Tuesday, I got my stitches out and my ortho grabbed my arm and twisted it. No go. He accused basically accused me of not working on it over the last 2 weeks and told me that I needed PT. Then he walked out and made me an appointment for later in the day. I was so angry, because I worked so hard to make my arm move and he made me feel like such a weakling for failing.

So I got to the physical therapist and I'm really glad that I did. The PT explained so much to me about my injury that I didn't know. I suffered what's referred to as a FOOSH injury and it resulted in a Colles' fracture (there are some photos in the link that give you an idea of what my wrist looked like, if you want to see them). He examined me and explained to me why I can't supinate my hand one damn bit.

When I fell, broke both my ulna and radius. My radius was severely fractured in two places and the plate was used to stabilize it. But, my radius also came out of alignment near my elbow and that's why my arm can't twist at all. It has nothing to do with me being a whiny-baby or not working hard enough, the bone is fucking out of place. And all these people that have been twisting my arm and chastising me have been torturing me for nothing. But above all, this is not something I can fix on my own, and I will have to endure a lot of PT to get this working again. And I do mean endure because basically the guy has to twist my arm with one hand while pushing against the bone with his other hand to nudge the bone back into alignment little, by little. In fact, when he saw my report he look at me and apologized to me because he knew the ortho was ordering him to torture me. And this is extra fun because the tip of my ulna is still very broken and the twisting hurts it like hell too. Oh, and the plate the ortho attached to me is screwed on directly over a muscle called the Pronator Quadrus*** and that causes a ton of pain and stiffness in itself. Fun.

The PT's explanation also explained while my whole damn arm hurt so badly even though I only fell on my hand. And that's why I was willing to wait so long for the OR, cause he might have been able to numb my wrist well enough, but my elbow is pretty eff-up too and I don't think the ortho got that. It also explains why my forearm was bruised all the way to the elbow.

So I'm done with the cast. I have a brace that I only wear to go out and sleep. I'm supposed to be stretching and twisting my wrist throughout the day. I'm working really hard at it, but it's frustrating because it is clear that I have a very long way to go, and the path to get there is very difficult.

And in case it hasn't come through in the post, my mood has gone from positive and optimistic to negative and depressed. I have my arm back, but I've lost a lot of functionality and its not clear if I'm going to get it back.

*According to my PT, my ortho actually has the best bedside manner of any of the orthos in my town. The bar is pretty low.

**That isn't necessarily a knock against my ortho. Many, many people I have ran into since getting this done have offered unsolicited praise for this guy. And my PT, who knows every ortho in town close him when his kid broke his arm.

***In case you were wondering, having you muscle screwed down onto your bone feels about how you'd imagine it would feel.


Celia said...

I was too squeamy to read this, but since i spent about THREE MONTHS listening to my husband whine about his foot, you are way under par on the whining scale. Go for more. For real. Having something long term like that broken with a small child is WRETCHED. it sucked sooo bad.

Jess said...

Regardless of his skill he still sounds like a jerk. ARGH! Hope you mend very quickly and don't have to suffer too much longer.