I spoke to the doctor who operated on my arm over the phone yesterday. The original surgeon in Ottawa who took five hours to piece my shattered elbow back together with screws. He took a look at my most recent x-rays and agreed with the surgeon I’ve been seeing in Moncton:
My bones just aren’t healing.
Mind you, there was very little cartilage left to heal, so this isn’t a surprising development. It was expected from the beginning. The surgeon I spoke to yesterday said the bones he could piece together were probably cut off from oxygen for too long and never had much of a chance.
He agrees the screws should come out. Having three screws sticking in all directions in a joint that’s constantly moving isn’t exactly comfortable. However, he also agrees that my bones will likely fall apart without the screws holding them together.
Which brings us to the big question at hand – should I get that piece of my elbow, the radial head, completely removed?
I’ve been diligently doing my research and even though getting a piece of my skeleton removed gives me the heebeejeebees, I think it’s probably the best choice for me right now.
My Ottawa surgeon said I could wait several more weeks to see where my progress in physiotherapy goes. Unfortunately, it has slowed significantly recently and I’m being cut from three sessions a week to just one. Any more significant progress at this point, four months out of surgery, isn’t that likely.
I’ve read that getting your radial head removed can cause more pain in the long-term, and my Ottawa surgeon couldn’t guarantee that wouldn’t happen. He did say it could give me more wrist rotation back, which is something I’m dying for. But he also said it wouldn’t make weight bearing activities any easier.
Specifically, push-ups are officially out of the picture. Like, officially. Forever.
I can’t say I’m that upset, because who likes push-ups? But that also means no more chaturangas. And more importantly, no more ashtanga yoga, my love.
It’s sad news to hear. I secretly want to defy all odds, but I also don’t want to set myself up for failure, because failure at this point is too depressing to deal with. This is the first time in my life a physical limitation will keep me from ever doing something, no matter how hard I train or try.
It goes beyond fitness too. What about carrying groceries? Moving boxes? Lifting my own children someday?
It’s really strange to feel like a “sick” person all the time. Spending so much time at the hospital for physiotherapy and x-rays doesn’t help. Even though I’m otherwise healthy, spending a large chunk of each week surrounded by sick people makes me feel like one too. After all the time and effort I put into being healthy, it feels so strange to have something so wrong with me. To know that no matter how hard I try, my body just won’t work.
I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding my “disability” from other people. I do it on purpose, because not having full use of one arm isn’t something common enough that others can understand right away. Just the other day I stuck my left hand out to accept change from a cashier, only to remember too late that I can no longer turn my palm up to get the coins. It’s surprisingly embarrassing for me. With my anxiety, I hate the idea of having people wondering what is wrong with me.
Anyways, I’ve consulted with one more surgeon from Halifax who I will hear from today. But it seems as if this next surgery will happen in the coming weeks. I’ll be losing a piece of my body, but hopefully gaining something in the end.