Prattle & Jaw

Two blogs about a whole lot of nothing

Filtering by Category: Off My Chest

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. 

Olecranon fracture: Part nine

A short post here to say that today I'm having the metal removed from my elbow! I'm very excited, but also a little nervous about the procedure. 

I thought I should share a photo that shows my full range of motion, 14 months after the accident (almost to the day).

These were taken after an evening of watching TV, so no stretches beforehand. I'm pretty pleased with the progress, but am still very much aware of it when working out; not being able to fully extend or fully flex means that I compensate with my shoulder which then causes problems there, or, alternatively, it simply means I can't do certain exercises well. Could be worse, but I'd rather have my old elbow back. 

I also can see and and feel some of the metal, and the fact that it's all still in there means that I can't mentally move on. This isn't over yet, in some way, and I think that having it removed will mean that I can lean on my elbows again (imagine!), and, more importantly, that I can finally put this all behind me. Roll on 2017. 

Anyway. There you go. I'll do an update on how the op went and any physio I have to do after. Won't be nearly as bad as before as no cutting and reattaching tendons etc., but there will no doubt be some. Am very curious to see how things are in another year's time. 

Until then! Merry Christmas! 

Olecranon fracture: Part eight

I've had a few people reach out to me via Twitter and Instagram to hear more about recovery. This makes me very happy, as it's precisely what I did and what I couldn't stop doing when I first broke my elbow. Although every break is different, it's still nice to be able to tell someone that everything will be OK, and it feels like shit now, but it will get better. 

Anyway. In light of that, I thought I'd give a very quick update. There's not that much to say though, as really, I'm just waiting until October – one year after my accident, and time to get the metal out! I'm very excited about that. I'm pretty sure it's all in my head, but I can't help but feel that the metal is somehow preventing me from fully flexing/extending my arm. Even if it is all in my head, at least when it's out, I'll know that this is as good as it gets. I can't let go of things until it's out.

I went to a CrossFit physiotherapist about a month ago to get some new stretches. It was good to have a change, and I feel as if they're doing good. They're a little less passive than before too, which is nice. 

Anyway. Life is pretty much normal bar the aches, the occasional spikes of pain, the general stiffness and the immense irritation/frustration when I work out. Ho hum. Roll on October. 

Copyright © 2014, Lara Mulady. All rights reserved.