Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Undisplaced Fracture to My Radial Head

A week ago today, I was happily walking through the cardio area of my gym, excited to indulge in my first workout since before Christmas. As I rounded a corner to head toward the treadmills, I noticed a ring of CAUTION tape, a ladder, and a couple of dislodged ceiling tiles. "Water damage" went through my mind, while my toes hit a rowing machine that I failed to notice in my path. I hit the floor, face first, elbow second, and my ego shattered like broken China all over the place. A couple of "concerned" women on the step mills asked if I was OK, and I told them I was more embarrassed than hurt. I must have been slow to get up, because shortly thereafter another woman approached me and again asked if I was OK. By now I was well aware of the blood gushing from my lip and I checked my teeth to be sure none were loose, and they weren't. I asked her for an ice pack, thinking all that was wrong was a bloody lip. She alerted the gym staff and I just sat on the floor, seeing stars, babying my fattening lip. Then, when I attempted to have a sip of water, I found my right arm refused to bring the bottle to my mouth. It hurt, a lot. I then realized I could not turn my hand up or down, and simply holding onto anything was next to impossible. Luckily, I was able to reach a friend to bring me to urgent care, which thankfully was nearly deserted, and I was in and out within two hours, donned in a sling and carrying X-Ray copies. I was told by the doctor that I was to be in a sling for ten days and I may experience some stiffness thereafter, and I needed to contact my primary clinic as soon as possible.

Thankfully, I have wonderful people in my life and I recruited help that evening for the uncompleted housework that I had been saving for after the workout. Only a very good friend will change the litter boxes and put sheets on the bed for you, and help out in the grocery store. Work was another challenge, though, and up until yesterday my typing prowess (normally a swift 55-60 WPM) was reduced to left handed hen pecking. Eating was yet another challenge, and I've concluded good way to diet would be to limit intake to your non-dominate hand, as I would always lose patience before I had the chance to over-indulge. Yet I amazed myself at how quickly I could adapt to using my left hand, and upon visiting the physical therapy clinic on Thursday, I realized how minor this injury is. I'm not in a cast, I'm not on crutches, and aside from the inability to lift and turn my right hand, I'm nearly back to normal. Nearly.

When I contacted my primary doctor, she stated only three days for the sling, a whopping seven days less than the old fart at the urgent care clinic, and I should begin physical therapy immediately. I have only needed physical therapy twice before, and both times I hated every second of it, but as the physical therapist I saw said, more work now means easier healing later. She assigned me a battery of boring exercises, four to six times a day. She measured how far I can move the injured side, and after just one set of the exercises my mobility improved. She advised me to still stay away from cardio exercise, but yesterday I couldn't take it anymore. What harm could it really do? It didn't do any, albeit I didn't try to run, just did some biking and elliptical stuff. I'm not able to put my hand behind my head for proper crunches or do planks (planks are my favorite core exercise), and certainly the sun salutation sequence in Yoga is out of the question for a while. But I can do cardio, and I can do T'ai-Chi, and today, I'm typing.

I am also going to try to conquer housework. I have three cats, and it doesn't take long for fur and other stuff to build up around the house. Laundry needs doing, trash needs taking out, and I just can't sit around anymore and watch it all build. So we shall see.


  1. Ah my friend! These are the times I wished I lived closer! Sounds like you had some good people around to help though. Here's to a fast recovery!

  2. And this is why I stay away from the gym! :)