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Friday, April 29, 2011

I can type! I can Blog!

Hey everyone! Look at me! Two handed typing like a normal person. (score!). And I got my hair up in a pony tail for the first time this morning. (score!). Next goal….contacts.

Matt (fortunately) doesn’t read this blog. If he did, I would get a lecture even more severe than last night. After telling him my current life woes (which are in order: 1. Not being able to type, thus not being able to blog; 2. Not being able to put my hair back; 3. Not being able to put in my contacts; 4. The possibility I wont be able to run or ride for a few weeks), the following conversation took place:

Me: WAAAAAA!!!!!
Matt: You are being melodramatic and fussy.
Mel: More sympathy less lecturing.
Matt: You aren’t going to get sympathy for being stupid.

After “kinda” promising to ask my doc about the ½ marathon (any guesses what he’s going to say to that, considering he hasn’t seen me or my xrays yet? *rolls eyes*) I decided to do “research” instead.

Research, meaning “google”.

Turns out this is a common injury among bicyclist. Opinions about running with a fractured radius ran were split between “it will be perfectly fine”, to “you will cause yourself permanent damage”.

I figure that this means I get to chose my own reality….and I chose to run.

There is some logic to this. First most of the people who were having problems running had compound fractures or fractures that were displaced. People with fractures like mine were running 1-2 weeks afterwards with no long lasting issues. Chances are, it will be fine, as long as I don’t fall down again. I’ll wrap it in a stiff bandage so I’m not tempted to use it, and as a reminder NOT to instinctively use it (like what happened in the truck the other day and I went to honk the horn at someone pulling out in front of me. Ow!).

One thing that everyone agreed on is that PT should start as soon as possible or you will never gain full ROM in that elbow. Lots of people were put into a sling by the ER doc, only to have the ortho take it off ~3 days later and start PT. I’m almost a week into the injury, and since my instructions were to keep in on for a couple of days and then “move according to pain”, starting today I’m trying to use the arm as much as I’m able, without making it hurt, for short durations (for example – 30 minutes out of the sling, 1 hour in the sling). From what I’m reading, overuse of the arm could set back the healing, BUT since the injury was minor to begin with and I’m not likely to make it worse a week into the healing (as long as I don’t do something like stupid like pushups), it may actually be worse to keep it immobile any longer than strictly necessary.

I may go into the doc on Monday and learn I’ve made a terrible mistake by taking it out of the sling and it’s going to take an additional week to heal. Or I may go into the doc on Monday and find out that I made a terrible mistake by keeping in immobile and I will require additional PT. I’ll risk the latter. Especially because that’s the last thing I was told by the ER doc and loss of function is much scarier than delayed healing.

And this brings me to an additional beef. When you go to the vet for an emergency, you leave with written discharge instructions. I’ve NEVER gone home with my horse confused on what the plan was for healing.

I didn’t get anything from the urgent care. Nothing written out. Unclear instructions that I kept asking them to clarify. I even brought Matt into the room with me because I knew I wasn’t in a great mental state (shaky, stressed, emotional) and he remembers the visit better than me (for example, I’m suppose to be icing – something I don’t remember being said, but he does). When the office called me the next day to let me know the radiologist saw a break (neither of the on-call docs that night could see it), I had a hard time understanding her (thick accent) and again got off the phone slightly confused about what I should be doing in terms of follow up care. It’s OBVIOUS what I should have done, standing here 5 days later. Yeah, I should have stood up and asked for a different receptionist, grilled the staff until I got specific instructions, asked them to write them down etc – but I wasn’t exactly entirely cognizant and it’s hard to make good decisions when you are in a lot of pain, taking pain meds, and stressed, and dealing with an entirely new situation (I’m not in the habit of breaking essential bones – fingers and toes and that pointy one in your wrist don’t count…)

So as a result I’m confused. I was never told to follow up with my primary care doc, and when I asked that question it was a shrug and “it might be a good idea”. I was told it should feel “significantly better in a week” and “full recovery before the end of May, when you lose your insurance”. However, all of these (oh so detailed) instructions were given before we knew it was a break. At the visit, I was told to stretch and move it a couple of times a day. When I was told it was a break the next morning, the instructions got even vaguer. “keep in a sling a couple of days to a week” (and NOT do any of the stretching recommended the previous night). The other instruction was “go according to pain” – which is the one straw I have to hold onto right now that my decision to take it out of the sling and try to gently stretch the elbow (without pain) is the right one.

I’m probably totally overacting. Maybe this was just fine and standard for the medical industry. If so, I’ll stick to my vets. And when I’m a vet – I’ll make sure that none of my clients feel the way I did when I left urgent care. And I’ll certainly be more prepared next time in an emergency situation that involves MYSELF. I won’t be leaving without written instructions, even if I have to stand there crying in front of the desk from frustration. And I won’t be afraid to tell someone “I’m having trouble understanding you. Please put someone else on the phone”. I was lucky at the Corvallis ER last summer, but obviously I can’t count on that every time.

Time to put the arm back in the sling, so that’s it for now. I have a ton of new posts bursting out my brain (errrr….I mean evernote) – I’ve been trying a little experiment and the post will be titled “Don’t laugh at my ugly-ass shoes”. AND guess what? – I’ll be showing at Pebble Beach this summer!


  1. Good to see you typing two handed!

  2. I totally agree with you about human er and pet er. I've worked in animal er's over the years. But when I broke my humerus november of 2006 I got a splint and a prescription for pain meds and sent home. Nothing about when I should have it rechecked or if I should call my regular dr.
    Well the next day was horrible. The bone broke basically in half and you could hear it grinding from across the room. Luckily my mom was with me so we called her ortho dr. I got an appointment that day. They were completely horrified that the er sent me home, the ortho I saw was even the one on call at that er. So I finally got real directions, unfortunately I was told no riding for at least 6 months. He actually told me I should stay away from horses completely. We didn't tell the dr about me going out every day to groom in the snow and ice. And after months of healing and pt I finally was almost back to normal. I ended up also having my shoulder dis-locate from not being able to move my arm the muscles weakened. So 5 years later I still have problems with my shoulder. The break is fine. I'm glad that you were advised to keep moving it. None of the research I did even suggested I do any movement.
    Good luck and keep up the great work!


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