Sunday, October 18, 2015

I'm down a wing...but I'm not out!

Hello, all

It's been two months since I posted last. I hate to have to make excuses, but take a look at this:

September 26, 2015
I have had issues with this wrist since I broke it at the age of 16 ice skating. I wasn't just fooling around...I was an honest to god skater, I swear. See?


Then in February, 2012, I broke it again. I wasn't skating this time, but I did perform some unintentional turns and flips before I fell down.


My family and I were in Germany at the time. We'd just moved there about six weeks before. My husband isn't miltary, but he works on military contracts. He's an IT guy. Smarty pants. Smarter than me. You don't hear about him falling in the shower and breaking his wrist, do you? This is what it looked like after my first trip to the ER. The first doctor said she didn't think it was broken, and wrapped me up in this contraption. This is sort of a cast...but temporary. Turns out they put it on waaaaay too tight, and I wound up going back the next day.

The second physician that saw me just shook her head when she looked at my chart. Then she ordered more x-rays and decided that yes, it was indeed broken.

Don't ask me to point it out. I haven't got the first idea what I'm looking at here.
Although she saw a break, she told me that because I was over the age of 35, it was inadvisable to put me in a cast.  She wrapped it up in a ACE bandage, then put it in another brace. I was told to wear it for six weeks, (except while showering) and that it would be healed after that time. 

I don't look all that upset by it. I was in Heidelberg, Germany. I can't imagine being upset about anything while in Heidelberg, Germany.
I did as I was told. I wore it for six weeks, and then babied it for a long time afterward. If I lifted things that were too heavy, or wrenched it any way, it bothered me for a while, but for the most part, I was just fine.

Fast forward a few years...

At the beginning of June, 2015, my kids and I decided to move a rather big, incredibly heavy couch from the lower level of our house to the upper. Did I mention that this couch is big? Oh, and did I tell you how heavy it is? It forms a big 'C', and comes apart into three sections. Three very big, very heavy sections. Anyway...my wrist had been giving me a hard time again, so I was wearing a brace that I'd bought at the pharmacy in the hopes that I could protect it a little. My kids did the lion's share of the moving, but it really did take all three of us. Unfortunately, I hurt myself again...but this time it wasn't just my wrist; it was my elbow, too. I'd done something inside my arm that caused my pinky and ring fingers to tingle, so I called my general practitioner, and went to have it checked.

My doctor said there was something definitely off about my x-rays, but was not able to tell me exactly what it was. She referred me to an orthopedic surgeon...


...and on June 11th, I came back from his office looking like this:

This, by the way, is said big and heavy couch. At least a small section of it.
The surgeon I went to see happened to be a hand specialist. Right away he said that when I broke it in Germany it should have been casted. It healed incorrectly, and the frailty of it was a direct result. He told me that I'd pinched a nerve when I helped move the couch, and gave me this stunning looking padded sleeve to wear for three weeks. His physical therapist made me a brace specifically fit to my wrist and arm out of fiberglass cast material, and I was given a cortisone shot. I was very uncomfortable for several days, but the cortisone kicked in and helped some. He thought it worked so well that when I went back in July, he gave me a second shot...and a different brace. It was summer time; I was out hiking and enjoying our Jeep...hanging out with my daughter during soccer camp, and the first cast was beginning to smell...well, not so sweet.

I was also sporting some interesting looking tan lines.
The second shot hurt a lot worse than the first, and after a sleepless night, I was prescribed some painkillers. I was still using my hand. As a matter of fact, I finished writing A Skye Full of Stars with the second brace on. I even managed a wonderfully eventful fifteen hour long release party for the novel on Facebook. I did well...but although the pinched nerve had healed, my wrist was still a painful mess.

The surgeon says that the two big bones in my arm have come together at the top. There is no space between them, and they're grinding. That is causing me a great deal of pain. There is also a very large tendon on the outside of my wrist that should be sitting in a groove in the outer bone. Because that bone isn't where it should be, the tendon is no longer in that groove. Basically, it's just hanging out, loose and unprotected. It's healthy, but according to the MRI I had done, it's inflamed and very, very irritated. That is also causing me a lot of discomfort. There's another tendon up at the base of my index finger that's swollen...and, according to my MRI report, there's a handful (pun intended) of other things wrong in there...but damned if I can understand the medical jargon.

I was given a third shot...this time where the bones meet beneath my wrist. This one was the worst one yet.

Thank goodness for warm blankets and cat cuddles.
Not even codeine helped much with this one.

I called and got another appointment a week before I was supposed to go back to the doctor. It hurt too much, and I needed it fixed. He says that there are three different surgical procedures that can be done...but he's not excited about any of them. He says that they've proven in the past to do more harm than good...and he's worried about limiting some of my movement.

He decided to conduct a bit of an experiment. It really hurts when my wrist is twisted. (I haven't been able to take the top off a jar in years without pain.) He wanted to see if he could lessen my discomfort by immobilizing my wrist...making it impossible for me to turn it, twist it, or move it all. This is how he did it:


Yep. On September 29th, he put me in a cast.



It's Tinkerbell green. It's cumbersome. It's difficult. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I hate it because...well, it's a cast. It's hard to sleep in, and it's really thick at the elbow so that I can't twist the lower part of my arm. I have to do everything left-handed. And showering?


Yikes.

I went and had more than a foot of length cut off my hair because it was nearly impossible to wash it one handed.

I haven't driven myself anywhere or tied my own shoes in three weeks, and it's taken me days to type this blog post one handed.

But...I also love it. Why? Because my wrist doesn't hurt.

Oh my goodness.

My wrist doesn't hurt. It's the first time since 2012 that my wrist doesn't hurt.

I go back the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday. He said that one of the procedures he could do was to fuse the heads of the two bones together. Then he could make another groove into the outer bone and place the tendon inside of it so it would be protected. I would lose some movement. If he does this, I won't be able to twist my wrist. I would be able to type, though. I could get used to doing everything else differently. We'll have to see what he says in a couple of days. If he does decide to do surgery, I kind of hope he lets me keep the cast until then. My wrist is protected in this bright green cocoon. It feels safe. There is no pain.

I have certainly been slowed down by this injury...but not at all stopped. I just started another 12-week round with a new Goodreads review group. I'm working hard to get some more reviews for A Skye Full of Stars! I've just recently gotten the chance to beta read the sixth book in S.L. Shelton's Scott Wolfe Series, (insanely good!) and I'm still editing and proofreading for Booktrope. I've been working with author Jennifer Sivec on two different projects...one is finished, one I'm still in the process of editing. I've begun writing Under a Southern Skye; the third book in The Gannon Family Series, although what I'm doing most right now is a whole lot of research. I'm also crafting a guest post for author E.C. Moore's "Honest to God True Stories" series on her blog, From One Bird to Another, which will be featured on November 8th. And I'm teaching. Homeschooling is still my biggest priority, and fortunately we have a pair of incredibly awesome kids who have done everything they can to make these last several months as easy as possible for me. Both of them, as well as my husband, have been as patient as can be...and scold me when I need it for trying to do too much. (I'll admit...I'm going a little nuts.)

I'm going to try to start blogging at least once a week. We'll see what happens. I may be facing surgery soon, so I'll take it as it comes...I will be doing some author spotlights, posting some reviews Alabama Skye and A Skye Full of Stars have recently received, and I'll be putting some reviews up I've written for some of the amazing books I've had a chance to read lately. Of course I'll be including any personal author news...and keeping you updated on what's happening with my wrist. Until then, I leave you with this:

The Wings
Still smiling! (and not completely crazy. At least not yet.)