Monday, November 19, 2007

Take Another Little Piece of My Arm Now Baby

Backstory: I play adult kickball. We covered this earlier, but if you're a new reader, I'll indulge you. Yes, adult kickball is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or compassionate Republican. I was playing in a kickball game in mid-September and I should have slid into second base. I didn't, wiped out, and suffered a concussion, amnesia, and a broken arm. Didn't know about the broken arm until two weeks later. I have a radial head fracture: there's a pesky chunk of my radius bone at the elbow that has decided to stay separate from the rest of the bone. Think New Hampshire as relative to the United States.

I've had two follow up visits with my orthopedist (that's him in the pic) and my arm's just not healing. That darn bone fragment's as separate as it was 10 weeks ago. So, he's decided to operate. He did say at first that surgery was just an option. He said I could try living with the pain and going about my business and I was all for that. As long as the pain isn't indicating I'm doing MORE damage, I figured I could deal. But then he added that he thinks I won't be pleased with my range of motion or the pain and that I'll be back begging for the surgery. So, surgery it is. He's pretty pleased with the mobility I do have and I gave him an atta boy by adding that everything he's told me has been backed up by the internet. He laughed and I added that I was confident in him anyway, but once I saw Wikipedia would follow the same course of action, that just pushed it over the top for me. He responded sarcastically, "I wrote that entry!"

He seems like a really cool guy and he teases me about kickball, so that's a good sign. I also discovered today that he's run a full marathon, so you know he's just moved up in my opinion. He said it was the worst experience of his life, but I think that's because he ran too fast. He had a great marathon time, but I told him he should slow down like me and it's not so hard. I'm really digging the fact that he runs. At the very least, he's active and can appreciate the fact that I want to go back to being active. But I'm also confident that he has great stamina, commitment, and can hold his urine and/or bowel movements when necessary. Just in case this simple surgery takes longer than it should.

Here's the fun part: he's going to cut open my elbow, take out the broken piece, shave it up a little bit, put in two screws, put the broken piece back, and add a BONE GRAFT FROM A CADAVER if necessary.

Yeah, that was the part that gave me pause. He tried to reassure me and added that they use a reputable company, that we're not in NY (where some poor woman just received HIV and hepatitis from a donated organ), and that the odds of contracting HIV or hepatitis from a cadaver bone graft was approximately 1 in one million. Now, I respect that. And I realize he's just talking about a sliver of bone. But my father had this crazy ass sci fi surgery in the '90s and when they gave him the required list of potential side effects that had NEVER occurred with the surgery to date, including stroke, staph infection, cerebral spinal fluid leakage, and death, among others, damned if his body didn't think it was a To Do list! It took four years, but the darn thing checked every one off.

So, I realize it's unrealistic for me to think that something might go screwy. (No pun intended). But based on my experience with my Dad, I know that anything's possible. I guess if I leave the hospital with all the right body parts, I should consider myself lucky! And hopefully I'll have a healthy sliver hitchin' a ride with me for the rest of my days. And should I receive a graft, thank you to the person who selflessly donated him or herself. :)

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