Saturday, February 06, 2016

Five miles

I haven't ridden my bicycle for a week now.  I know... a long time!

So this afternoon, after I went uptown to run a few errands, I got my bicycle out and rode five miles.  I can ride with one hand.  I can ride with no hands.  The wind was really strong today so no hands was not possible.  But riding with one hand was.

Five miles is my limit for now.  I was ready to be done riding once I got back home.  Still, it was nice to get out on my bicycle after so long.

And, yes, I still do have a broken collarbone.  I figured riding wouldn't damage the bone any more  ...unless I would fall on that side again.  Which I did not.

My neighbor Curtis came over this morning and helped me carry my recliner back into the house.  Tammy had banished it from the house years ago as it didn't match her furniture.  The pre-op nurse suggested I sleep in a recliner for a few days after my operation.  I'll see.  At least the recliner is in the house in case I do need it.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Collarbone xrays

Early this morning I had two more x-rays of my shoulder done and spoke with the doctor.  The break is large and complex enough that surgery was recommended and a plate installed.

My friend Ted had a collarbone break in the past from a bicycle accident and he said his break was fixed with a pin which was removed after four weeks.  A pin would not work on my break.  My break has three bones and the alignment of the break also would not allow a single pin to work.

The Kalispell hospital is busy. I was willing to go to the Whitefish hospital so the doctor can do the surgery first thing Monday morning.  The sooner the better.

Early Monday morning.   36 years ago when I had a plate installed to fix a broken arm I went in to the hospital the night before and stayed for two or three days afterwards.  Not these days.  I get to the hospital at 6:30 am.  Surgery is about an hour later.  I should be released to go home by late morning / early afternoon.

I most likely will have some meds - mainly for pain.  I tried to get a prescription today so I don't have to go to a pharmacy to get the meds after the operation but that is not possible.

There are plates made for collarbones.  Curved and different sizes.  My arm plate has six screws through my bone.  I asked how many screws for the collarbone plate.  Eight.  Maybe ten.  Great.  Just great.  The most pain I have ever experienced was six screws screwed through my bone.  I'm not looking forward to eight to ten screws.

I had to stop at the hospital for "pre-op".  This mainly was getting registered, answering a few questions, and get the correct soap in which to shower the night and morning before.   I also had to tell them what kind of sandwich and what I wanted on the sandwich.  They will send me home after the operation with a sandwich so I don't have to cook that night.

Here are the two x-rays taken today.  One is straight on. The other x-ray was taken low and angled up.

As you can see, not a pretty break.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Collarbone and bruising

I was feeling decent today so this afternoon I shoveled snow from the driveway for an hour.  I pushed the shovel with my one good arm.  Later I fell asleep on the couch.  When I awoke my collarbone felt painful.  I don't know if this was because of the earlier snow shoveling, falling asleep sitting up with my head slumped over, or the position I sat on the couch and how my back pressed against the couch.

I felt better after a shower.  The doctor moved up my next appointment from 3:45 pm Friday to 8:30 am Friday.

Here are today's photos of my injuries.  My ribs feel fine so I was surprised to see the bruise.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Moving hay with a broken collarbone

Late this afternoon the cattle finished eating their big bale of hay.  Usually when the hay is done they congregate in the corral and wait for me to bring them a few small bales of hay.  Today they lounged under several large pine trees in the north pasture and chewed their cud.

I closed the corral gate and decided to see if I could carry a bale of hay to their feeder.  I was able to carry a 55-60 lb bale with my good arm.  I carried another bale to the feeder next to the barn.  I thought perhaps since the muscles interconnect in my back the weight would aggravate my injury.  But it didn't to my surprise.  But then today is a better day than yesterday pain-wise.  The most annoying thing with my shoulder today is all the typing.  The typing and mouse work is aggravating my shoulder.

By now Beulah saw me and stood outside the gate.  She called the others over and I opened the gate and let them in to eat the hay.  I closed the corral gate again. Then I went work with the tractor.

First I had to use the bucket to clear away snow for the new feeder location.  Past practice makes perfect as I now can hook the bucket onto the tractor using just the tractor.  The snow did cause a little problem as some snow got compacted between the bucket and one tractor arm.  This prevented me from latching one pin.   I had to tilt the bucket and with  a screwdriver scrape the snow away.

Once I was done clearing snow I switched to the bale spear.  Usually I lift the spear onto the tractor hooks.  Can't do that now.  After a few attempts I was able to hook the spear onto the tractor then latch it with pins.  The spear is lighter than the bucket and moves away more easily when bumping the tractor arms against it when trying to get the arms hooked.

So nice I have a tractor to move the hay bales!!!

Once I got the hay bale's twine unwrapped and the bale set on the wooden pallet I used the tractor to lift and move the metal feeder.

Usually I tip the feeder over the bale by lifting the bottom end.  However I need two arms to do that.  Below is what happened when I used only one arm.

So I had to use the bale spear to push the feeder so the far end would drop over the hay bale.  Did I mention how much I like my tractor?

I think I cleared enough space in the pasture for another bale later so I left the bale spear on the tractor. I just need to remember the spear is there when I get firewood and not trip over the spear sticking out of the pole shed.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Orthopedic surgeon visit

Today I saw the orthopedic surgeon.  First time visit, lots of paperwork to fill out.  I am left handed with left collarbone break.  Worst than usual handwriting.

The shoulder today is more swollen.  This morning cleaning the wood stove then a shower was more activity than usual. I found than even though I only used my right arm the shoulder muscles are somewhat connected to the left side too and I felt pulling on the left side sometimes when using my right arm.  Therefore more pain.  I took two ibuprofen.

Break and swollen area

While waiting for the doctor the nurse had put up one x-ray image of the break. One bone looked to under the other bone by several inches.  The doctor told me no, it just looks that way due to the view of the bone.  The bone barely overlaps.

We discussed surgury vs letting it heal on its own.  He thought the bone could heal on its own without loss of shoulder function.

Surgery and installing a plate will not speed healing.  With or without a plate I won't be able to lift objects for the same amount of time.

Surgery and a plate will ensure the bone is straight and aligned.

I am concerned the bone will move before it completely heals.  That is why my arm was re-broken by the doctor and a plate was installed 36 years ago.  I was set back six weeks of healing time.

Plates are still fastened by screws.  I had hoped a glue had been invented in the 36 years since my last plate.  Those 6 screws caused me the worst pain for two days that I ever felt - by far.

A plate will make the bone more rigid and does not allow for flex.

The plate will not break in another fall but there is a chance the bone at the end of the plate will break, especially if the bone does not flex.

I would have a scar and the plate may be noticeable as the skin is thin in that area.

In the end we decided to wait till Friday.  He'll take another x-ray and then I'll decide if I want surgery.

Here is an interesting article on the pros and cons of surgery vs no surgery.