Monday, August 9, 2010

Saga of the Broken Arm: Update

If you come to this blog to get to know me inside and out, I have a special treat for you today.  As you may have read here, I was in a bike accident and shattered my shoulder back in April. I thought I'd give an update.

The accident and ensuing surgery pretty much knocked me out of commission, but I've been going to physical therapy, building flexibility and strength, and, while I'm still not at 100%, I've come to realize that I may never have a full range of motion in my right arm.  Still, I'm much better and have exceeded the expectations of both my therapist and my surgeon.

Last Thursday, I went for a follow-up with my surgeon who had great things to say. He also took these X-rays.  The engineering is impressive.

What you're looking at is a titanium plate secured to my right humerus with nine screws.  The break is completely healed and looking good.  To answer your questions:

1. No, I can't feel the plate.  It's under so much tissue that one can't feel the edges.  But the night after surgery when the anesthetic wore off?  Boy, I felt that.  Worst pain of my life - worse than the actual accident.

2. I will not set off metal detectors at the airport unless the TSA turns up their sensors to maximum sensitivity.  I've actually been through airport security a few times since the surgery and had no problems.

3. I have an eight-inch scar from my armpit to almost the top of my shoulder.

4. Yes, it still hurts, but it's an ache, rather than a sharp pain. Advil helps a lot. I'm still going to physical therapy to build strength and can now get dressed by myself, drive a car, and change an overhead light bulb.  I still can't sleep in a bed, though (I spend the night in a reclining chair).

But here's the most fascinating thing: on that second X-ray, the doctor showed me that I developed extra bone growth over the break.  It's not unusual for the body to over-correct after an injury and it won't get in my way, but it's pretty cool.

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