Prattle & Jaw

Two blogs about a whole lot of nothing

Olecranon fracture: Part ten

Someone on Twitter asked me today how my elbow was and I realised I never updated this after I had my metal work removed. So here I am. 

I had my metal work removed in December. This operation was in a different hospital than that I was original operated in. A shame, but that's the way things work.

I was told that having the metal work removed was standard practice by my original surgeon at Bispebjerg Hospital, but as the appointment came closer and I had my first check ups, I was told it wasn't in fact standard practice, and they typically only removed it if it was causing problems. I did have problems, but they weren't life-changing, only uncomfortable: I could feel and see the wire on my underarm, and as a result I couldn't lean on my arm - or my elbow for that matter. It felt tight in my elbow, and every now and then I felt a pain that felt like something catching on something, I presumed muscle on metal. They seemed a little frustrated to do the operation, particularly the surgeon, but operate they did. They managed to take out the wire, the pins and the screws, which was great to hear as originally they thought they'd have to leave in the two little screws.

I left the hospital a few hours later, 100% flesh, blood and bone. It felt good.

I had some expected stiffness, and some awesome stitches (14 compared to the original 21), but within a few days I could brush my teeth. After a week, I was almost back to normal. The only thing stopping (my post-accident) full motion was the incredibly tight stitching!

At Christmas, my aunt, a doctor, removed the stitches. A day or two later I was back to normal. I should point out that before this operation all swelling in my arm had subsided and I had no numbness around the scar. It did, however, hurt as I mentioned before. Doing something repetitive, e.g. some forms of exercise, occasionally gave me an excruciating sharp pain that shot through my arm. Since my metal has been removed, I haven't had any of this discomfort. It's wonderful!

Now, a few months later, and I'm still doing my exercises. I should think I'll be doing them for the rest of the year, easing out another mm here and there. I feel a little numb around the scar, but I've no pain, rarely any weird cracking, zero sharp pain, and zero catching pain in my elbow. I'm extremely happy I had it removed. 

I'm basically back to normal – albeit with about -10% extension and about the same flex. I can live with that. The only negative now is that I'm overcompensating with my shoulder so have had some issues with my rotator cuff – but nothing that can't be fixed. I'm working on adjusting myself constantly, and remembering not to over stretch my shoulder. 

I've had a few people reach out to me asking when they'd be able to move their arm, and telling me how horrible it is and how helpless they feel and I hope they believe me when I say that it will get better. It's silly though – I know they won't: I certainly didn't when numerous strangers told me it would get better. I panicked. Thought my break was somehow worse. But it wasn't. It took time, but here I am. Pretty much back to normal. Except now I'm a lot more wary when I pass between a bicycle and a parked car. 

I've added some lovely photos for the curious. I can't figure out how to add captions, so the first one is same day of op, the second a couple of days later, and the last, moments after my stitches were removed in the kitchen of my parents' house. 

Copyright © 2014, Lara Mulady. All rights reserved.