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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

One year

It has been one year to the day. This will be my last posting. Thanks to all of you who have contributed with comments and sharing your experiences.

When I look back, the day of the accident and the following week was the worst time: the pain, the uncertainties, the helplessness, and the lack of sleep. The feeling of having the broken arm just hanging in a sling was just an appalling feeling. (Since my accident two colleagues broke their collar bone and ankle, respectively; they were back to work within a week. A humerus fracture is really something else.) But from then on, things improved, slowly, not always daily but on a relatively straight path.

Today, though, I'm in better shape than before the accident. I'm stronger, I swim better, I run faster (at least the 5k distance) than eight years ago. I have no tendonitis any longer, and the range of motion is the same in the left and right arm. I know that I'm able to overcome severe difficulties. I've also met people at the hospital and rehab who are far worse off than me.

I also experienced American health care at its best. My doctor was wonderful. He never tried to over-treat me to make a few extra bucks. He never tried to hide anything from me, may it be the level of pain of recovery time, and all his predictions turned out to be correct.

The flip side is the knowledge that I'm not immortal. I can feel it slippery winter days and I may be a bit overly cautious sometimes.

In hindsight, I there were good things about the accident. But I hope it will never happen again. And, I have not returned to the ice arena. I probably won't unless my kids want to go.

48 comments:

Another Fractured Humerus said...

Thank you so much sharing your experiences. I broke my humerus almost exactly one year after you. Your blog has been invaluable to me these first couple of weeks. I will no doubt continue to visit here as my recovery continues.

Glad to see you've made a full recovery!

kramer97 said...

Damn, that's brutal..I hope you can gt back on the rink soon at full recovery. Try some more bodybuilding and weightlifting, strengthen those muscles.

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Lexi said...

Hi, I'm so glad you've made a good recovery.

I fractured the top of my left humerus ten days ago when my bicycle slipped in the slushy snow, and your blog has given me some comfort. Thank you.

Venkat said...

Hi,
I thank you for the trouble you have taken to share & update on you experience thus far.
BTW, four weeks back I too fell down & broke my humerus bone (mid shaft) on my RH.
I have a quick question & would appreciate your comment. When did you feel comfortable going from the recliner to the bed? I am still sleeping on my recliner & wondering about the timeline it would take to go back to sleeping on my bed. I am developing pain in my L4/L5 spine region as I am sleeping in a recline position & hence the question.
Thanks for your response in advance. Your blog certainly is very assuring for people like us. It is certainly very useful & I intend to look at it as I progress through my recovery.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog along as I also fractured my humerus bone but just below the shoulder in July 2009. As a result I got frozen shoulder because the doctor wanted to make sure that the fracture had healed given the area of the break. I am in physiotherapy for the shoulder now and strengthening of my arm. It has been six months since the accident but only 4 months in physio and I am almost at full range movement now. I was a bit discouraged when reading your blog thinking that it would take so long to get better but now that I am better, I feel that it got me through this and I could understand what my family was going through.

Patience is a virtue and I discovered that silence is golden (with my family) haha...

Take care and thank you!

Anonymous said...

To Venkat,
I slept in a recliner for 6 weeks and found it very difficult to go back to my bed. So I made sure that my arm was supported when lying down in my bed and did not sleep on my injured side for another 4 weeks. Please know that it will get better. Now, I sometimes forget that I ever had broken my arm. Also remember that your break will be stronger than before. And make sure you take your calcium!

Venkat said...

Thanks for your response Anonymous. I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Could you post an x-ray pic from the last x-ray you had taken? I broke my humerus on January 17, 2009 and mine looks and feels terrible!

Venkat said...

Hi Anonymous,
I am sorry. I don't have a copy of my x-ray pic. Nowadays, these are in digital form & I guess I need to ask my doctor for a copy. I'll try to get one & hopefully I will be able to upload one out here.
That being said, here are some of the technical specs that maybe useful:
Fracture: Humerus RH
Area: Mid-Shaft
Comments: Closed fracture, Clean cut i.e. no fragments
Angle: 4th week 19.5 degrees; 6th week 5.6 degrees

handletaken said...

I just fell snowboarding and suffered a very similar injury.

Your blog is helpful in understanding what is to come - thank you for sharing your experience.

Tim from Oz said...

I'm still well and truly going through the insomniac phase (or should that read 'lost the joy of sleeping') 7 weeks after a spiral fracture of the humerus from throwing a Javelin. Your blog has kept me entertained for the past 30min as I reminisce over the worst parts of the last 7 weeks and look forward to the small goals to be achieved over coming weeks/months.

Unlike you I had the operation, but it ended up necessary as the radial nerve was entrapped by the repairing fracture. My main problems and challenges now relate to the recovery of wrist function. Fortunately the Australian medical system has come to my rescue as has my on the ball doctor and a good Orthopedic surgeon.

Thanks for sharing your journey.

ECMOMMA said...

My 10 1/2 year old son yesterday fractured his Left proximal Humerus. He was in a State Champion wrestling match. Tomorrow we see the Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon. I thank you for your blog and will keep you posted with our progress.

Humerus_2_rightarm said...

I broke mine 36 hours ago, this is the middle of the night i have had 3 hours sleep in 2 nights, is that normal. i keep getting excruciating pain ike a red hot poker inside my arm. The break was a 15 degree angle. what do i do about the pain?
adamellena@hotmail.com

Venkat said...

Humerus_2_rightarm,

I am sorry to hear about your condition. Unfortunately, the first few weeks is painful & not nice at all. Perhaps you should consult with your doctor if the pain is unbearable. I was given Hydrocodone to take care of my pain and it did a sufficiently good job. Take care & wish you the very best in your recovery.
Venkat

Anonymous said...

i broke my right humerus last August by throwing a softball. My arm healed great and i was given the ok to play again. i went and played a game on May 8, 2010 and threw a ball in from left field and heard a pop again. I went to the ER and i broke my humerus again. This is twice is 8 months. Does anyone have any idea as to why this would happpen again? I played baseball all through high school and college and had no issues.

Galvo said...

Thanks for this blog Ijust broke my Humorous,Wrist Ulna and Radius,And lacerated my tendon on my elbow also snapped off 4 transverse processors from 1-4. Looks like my rehab is going to be a slow process.mmmm I here you about the frustration of losing so much independance. my accident was caused by a collapse in my paraglider about 30m off the ground. Oh well happy to be alive I guess.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this blog. i snapped my left humerus two days ago in a dune buggy accident and now i have an idea of what to expect. of course my injury was on friday before a three day weekend so i will have to endure two more days before i can see an orthopedist.

Catey said...

I broke my humerus in a fall 5 weeks ago and I wanted to let you know how much I value reading about your experience. Thank you for taking the time to post. I found this experience be difficult both physically and emotionally. You mention anxiety about falling again, which I experience too. And also, I think the chronic loss of sleep can lead to depression. But on the positive side I have been able to get off the "treadmill" of life for a few weeks and reposition my work/life priorities. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

I broke my humerus (midshaft, clean break) and sacrum exactly 4 weeks ago. Thank you for your blog; it is very helpful. I am having some problems with swelling, but the dr. hasn't seemed too concerned about it. (I really like my dr., so I trust him.) Three days ago I tightened my brace and then over the next two days experienced the worst swelling ever--the skin on my hands and lower arm started flaking, my lower arm looked like a stump, and the pain was awful. It's doing a lot better now that I loosened the brace a little. It's back to the usual amount of swelling, I guess. Can you tell me anything about your experience with swelling?

Jan said...

First I want to say thank you so much for your blog...it helped me so much, especially in the early days. I fractured my humerus on May 24 2010.I, too, love ice-skating but it was while rollerblading that I fell backwards onto my left elbow. Not only is the bone shaft cracked from near the shoulder to the elbow, there is also a complete break across the bone and an additional free-floating piece of bone as well...a butterfly fracture. I have had a lot of swelling in the whole arm. Your blog helped me to realise that this was going to be a long journey, but that recovery is possible. Nearly 12 weeks later I still have to wear a protective thermo-plastic sleeve, and can't yet do load-bearing exercises as the butterfly piece has not yet re-unified.But I have discovered a whole new world on the internet, which I rarely used prior to the accident. Through a site called Goodreads, I have reconnected with my creative side and have been posting poems and short stories as well as reading and discussing novels and making friends from all over the world. I am now feeling much better and can go for walks and do a lot more things. I can even touch the top of my head, hang out the washing, cook dinner and scoop up grandchildren with one arm! There is hope! Thanks for your blog. Take heart everyone and see you on Goodreads?

micheledarwin said...

Hi there! I don;t know if you still receive notifications from this blog but if so - congratulations! I am 16 weeks into a severe humerus fracture but I had a major complication - radial nerve palsy. I read your entire blog - it's been very interesting to see you progress and learn what has/hasn't worked. I keep a blog, too --- http://myradialnerveinjury.blogspot.com/ -- and can'r wair for my last entry!!!

Fillibluster said...

I have just finished reading through your whole blog and want to add my thanks to you as well. I broke my humerus and radius at the beginning of August 2010, was in a cast and sling for six weeks and I'm now into week 4 of physiotherapy.

Like you, the idea of not having any sort of cast or protection for the broken humerus was unsettling to me, and even the slightest motion, such as sitting up was extremely painful for the first few weeks. I was given oxycodone, without which I doubt if I would have gotten any sleep at all.

I was able to return to my bed about a week after getting the cast off, and have gone from 4 pillows to 1 now.

What I find most helpful about your blog, now that I'm into the physio stage is the timeline. I came home from physio yesterday feeling very discouraged when the therapist told me that my progress was slow. Somehow I expect that after going through all that pain, something good should come of it, and to hear that I was not making good progress made me feel like giving up.

Because my entire arm was so immobiized for 6 weeks, I am dealing with frozen shoulder, with muscle adhesions there and in my forearm. I can (passively) raise my arm above my head, can get both hands behind my head (painfully) and can now type as well as before the accident.

After reading through your experience, I now feel that my progress is actually pretty good, and I feel encouraged to work harder on getting back range of motion.

Thank you so much. You have helped more people than you'll ever know.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog. Gives me hope that I will actually get full ROM again. I broke my right head of humerus 7 weeks ago while on a medical mission in Zambia. Had to get medical escort back to US. 3 weeks ago I fell down some stairs at work and got 2 hairline fx's in the other arm plus an excrutiating chest contusion. You think a broken arm is a simple thing until it happens to you. You have inspired me to keep a diary of my therapy progress, which starts next week.

Cover My Cast said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

For anyone reading and you have experienced a similar injury, then you may be interested in cast covers for your plaster casts.

http://www.cover-my-cast.com

Thanks

Marybelle Perrigan said...

Thank you so much for sharing your whole journey on your injury, it serves as an inspiration to all of us to power through the whole recovery process. Being sidelined from work for more than four months due to my injury, I am totally lucky that I still succeeded in my recovery and with the help of the medicare insurance quote, else, the financial burden will be extreme.

With the medicare supplement insurance quote helping me along the way and the whole experience in mind, I decided to be careful on myself to decrease the chances of me getting injured again.

Marie said...

I also loved reading this blog so much i started my own, hopefully some people can benefit from reading mine also.
mine is from an Australian medical perspective - a bit different from all you americans

http://fracturedhumerusjourney.blogspot.com/

happy healing
Marie

ShyShoegazer said...

Hello, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences. My boyfriend slipped on ice on Christmas Eve and broke his humerus and we have found this blog so reassuring and helpful.
Thank you so much x

Donna said...

I just fell and either have a fracture or a torn
rotator cuff. This is a disaster because i am a
massage therapist.
After you broke your humerus could you still raise
your arm? I can't at all so i'm scared. Going go an
MRI on Thurs. Please pray for me that it is only a
hairline fracture. Many thanks. Donna

Venkat said...

Hi Donna,
I am sorry to hear this news. I could not move my arm at all.I wish you the very best on your situation & the recovery.

Anonymous said...

Your experience has given me a new look at my healing. I broke my left
humerus the night after Thanksgiving 2010 by falling and grabbing a chair to break my fall to keep from faling into a glass cabinet, so I think breaking my arm was a blessing or I would have
bled to death. I have a spiral fracture from 2 inches below my shoulder to 2 inches above my elbos. I also had a splint similar to yours and started some light PT at 5 weeks and then got rid of my sling, "YEA" at 8 weeks.

It was suggested to me to buy a recliner which I didn't do but I
did get one of those pillows for sitting up in bed with small arms on it at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Target also has them online. I was
off the Percoset after 4 weeks. A body pillow I am told also helps.

Thank you again for all of the information, I do want my life back soon :o)

Anonymous said...

I just fx'd my mid-humerus march 1st. I'm trying to get use to being a one arm bandit. I fx'd my rt humerus and that is my dominent arm. This is one of the worst experiences I've ever been through as I am a nurse and thought I was in control of my life. Not now, this has been a eye opener. I'm grateful my husband has been so helpful and kind. I'm hopeful I can go to work after April 19th. It's been very painful I think I might have injured my radial nerve. Will have to wait and see. No one knows what this is like unless you've been through this. I was given ultram for pain, so I take it 2x aday and xtra strenghth tylenol inbetween. I've been alternating between a ice pack and heating pad. I also sleep in a recliner. thank you

Anonymous said...

i broke mine 11 months ago now, my story is in the comments somewhere, i played golf yesterday for the 1st time since the injury and finished 1 shot behind my friend who is normally level with me in ability, he was very surprised as he's played probably 30 times in the 11 months i haven't and i come back and its likei haven't been away, and the best thing is my arm felt great.

Jane said...

I had a fracture of head of Humerus. I was swimming on Hawaii and when I was going out of the water the wave hit me and I fell and broke my arm. I had to fly back home in a sling, and that was the worst flight ever for me. Doctor told me that my fracture can't heal itself and I had operation and 5 pins were inserted into my arm for a month to support it while it heals. After my operation I felt so much better, I could feel pins, but it wasn't painful. After a month pins were taken off, and my arm is getting better now. From now on I swim in the pools only, no more ocean.

Anonymous said...

Skiing accident. Spiral fracture of right humerus 8 weeks ago. I'm right handed (of course). Not healing very quickly. Delayed, possibly non-union. Dr. does not want to operate until 4 or 5 months of non-union. I'm getting a second opinion. I am very thankful that I have an understanding wife and a good benefit plan. I am getting tired of sleeping in a chair and daytime TV. My back is suffering bad.

Rebecca said...

Thank you for creating this blog, it has been some what of a comfort to read about other peoples experiences. I managed to brake my left humerus in 3 places after I hit a mogul while skiing. I am now allowed to take the brace off while I am at home which is fantastic as I can now start to regain movement in both my shoulder & elbow. My elbow is very stiff, I can only bend my arm to about a 90 degree angle. I am hoping that with ROM exercises my elbow will be back to normal soon.

Anonymous said...

it is week 11 for me. been back to work at a busy medical clinic since week 8. Ended up with a frozen shoulder which I'm going to physical therapy. Doing stretching exercises at home, pulleys and weights at home. It is pretty slow going, but it must take patience to get back to your pre-injury state. Having quite abit of pain at night when I'm relaxed so have a tough time sleeping. But this blog is nice to visit just to get info and to see how everyone else is doing. It is so helpful..

Anonymous said...

It has been 8 week since I broke my humerus (mid-shaft), and the bone is healing with no signs of pain which i assume is a good thing. Have not started physio, but can lift my arm to my chest. Despite the doctors advice, i still cannot straighten the arm and let it hang, which leads me to believe that i need physio to loosen the joints.
However, despite this, I would just like to let you know that I would have not gotten through this recovery with such a positive mindset if I had not read your blog. It most definently got me through the dark days of the first few weeks of my recovery and your recent post has most definently inspired me to achieve further goals after recovery. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

just broke right humerous seeing surgeon Friday 7/1 he said he would decide on clamp or surgery depending on xray Any advice?
I actually have been coming to work but have bad back pain from heavy splint
Any advice?

Yet another fractured humerus said...

I am 3 months in to right proximal humerus fracture - displaced greater tuberosity - which was surgically fixed. Working on range of motion and stretching all the time but feel so depressed and discouraged. I worry about getting full motion back and still suffer quite a bit of pain, particularly at night when I can't get comfortable and "throw" my bad arm about the bed. Good to hear about other people in the same boat as me although I guess every fracture/person and their recovery is different.

Adzi said...

15 months later and i'm back to almost full motion, i'd say 95%, its great, but my arm is sllightly bent, so i have a lump where the bone bends.

It still hurts occasionally, its very strong, but if i take a knock on it i get a sickly feeling, it hurts for longer than a knock anywhere else.

But i never thought i'd get back to this, considering i couldn't move it at all when i started physio at 5 months post break.

ginny said...

i broke my rt humerous head in three places on June 22. iwas walking my dog an tripped forward and my dog pulled my arm right and i fell forward. my arm is in a sling and i will find out on Thursday if i need surgery. Ihad a lot of pain on day one but only took 4 advil on and off. Imobolizing the arm really helps w the pain> i only missed three days of work but everything takes so much longer. i am lucky to be a lefty so i can still feed myself (LOL). my challenges are do i drive or not? i have an automatic and i can move the lever but im not sure its safe for me to drive. also putting on a bra is also very challenging. When did people start to drive? Also i have been sleeping sitting up on the couch> i took out the middle back cushion and replaced it w a soft pillow and i placed a cushioned foot rest in front of the couch, coffed table behind foot rest (to block it from moving). It works well. i can put my toes under coffee table to help me sit up. My ortho told me to tak sling off three times a day to a do bend elbow and rotate wrist and dangle arm and make 10 circles front and back i have been doing that and it actually feels good. i hope this heals correctly.

Anonymous said...

hmmm...heres something ive just thought of...in the past i suffered from a condition called superspinatus tendinitis which basically i got from concentrating on bench pessing without enough og the corrsponding pull movements like pull ups and especially flys and rows. now sitting here with a 10 pound plaster cast i feel it rounding my shoulders and i feel a familiar pain where the superspinatus tendon goes over the acromium process of my shoulder blade...fortunatly; concentrating on keeping my shoulder blades together and down as one does while rehabing from sst helps. if you have a heavy splint or cast, try to keep your shoulder blades together and down , with chest out, rather than letting your shoulders round. won't be easy but this could save you some real trouble in the future and perhaps shorten your rehab'

willycrash

orthopedic nyc said...

Hey, It is nice to read your experienecs here. Stay connected. Keep posting.

Lexi said...

I thought I'd drop back and report two years after my proximal humerus fracture from coming off my bike when going over an icy speed cushion.

I'm now fine - the arm and shoulder have virtually normal range of movement, and my muscles have recovered. It took AGES and lots of physiotherapy that I did doggedly each day, and I got pretty depressed. My arm got really thin and weak. I couldn't imagine it ever fully recovering. It was months before I could drive or ride my bike.

So I guess this is my message - don't worry, it's bad, recovery is slow, but you will get over this. I suddenly realized yesterday my arm was okay. I think it's still slightly improving. Best wishes to you all.

rl said...

I broke my humerus a few weeks ago. My humerus went near my clavicle. Had to get 7 screws and a plate. Just wondering does anyone know when I will be able to play golf again, like how long?

Anonymous said...

In my (non-operated) case, I wore a brace for three months. When being freed from that, the shoulder and elbow joints were very stiff. It took another month before I could play around with half shots on the driving range and two before I could hit full shots and play on the course. The operation might make the recovery faster.

Anonymous said...

Hi broke left humerus at shoulder 2 weeks ago. Bruised right down arm. Back in bed day 4. Dressed self day 19 haven't stopped working. No pain relief after day 6. Hositsl amazed as I can lift arm not too fat but going exercises 3 times a day. Yes tired but to be exoected

Deanna Wolf said...

I broke my humerus one month ago while playing baseball. I was pitching and after about 90 pitches my elbow started to feel a bit sore. The very next pitch,in the middle of my arm going to the plate,i heard a very loud pop. My humerus had snapped in half. I guess the medical term is a spiral fracture. The next day,after spending the night in the hospital,they did surgery on my arm. It was supposed to be a 2 hour operation that turned into 5. I now have a 8 inch metal plate and nine screws holding my bone together. One month after surgery i still have some pain,but i cant bend my arm more than 90 degrees. Naturally, the doc who did the operation continues to tell me im fine,but im beginning to feel like he is just saying that because he did it. I was wondering if anyone out there has gone trough anything like this before,and might have some input. Thanks