First of all... sorry for the huge blog-type post. I've been unable to use my hand for so long that my fingers are just eager to type!
Who would have thought arm wrestling could be so dangerous??
Well, whilst you lucky SOB's have been enjoying the few days of sunshine we've had this summer in your Audi's, mine's been festering away at the bottom of the drive for the past 9 weeks unable to be driven!
I was peer pressured (it didn't take much persuasion) into having an arm wrestle over the jubilee weekend. My mate had us all round at his over the weekend for some drinks to take advantage of the rare 4 day weekend, and in my drunken wisdom, agreed to an arm wrestle (I normally flat out refuse because... believe it or not... I've seen lots of YouTube videos of people breaking their arms!)
So anyway, I was asked for one, of which I gracefully declined. One more "Go onnnnnnn, just one!" later from my friend and there I was sat at the table, locked arm-to-arm. I figured it'll shut them up and I can't be unlucky enough to be one of those chumps who breaks their arm...
WRONG! I earned myself a nice little distal humerus fracture.
As you can see there's a nice little 'butterfly' fragment which is essentially a free floating chunk of bone. I'm told there's about 3 in total.
I went to A&E in an ambulance, had my fair share of laughing gas (amazing stuff - it should be sold at bars!), and was placed in a temporary cast and then referred to the orthapaedic department a week later to re-check alignment and get a more substantial cast put on.
It was decided then that I needed an operation to fix plates to the bones to align them properly. I was booked in for an operation a week later (the usual surgeon who specialises in this area was on holiday so a Professor stood up to the challenge - very good at what he does).
My operation came 13 days after breaking my arm (bone callus forms after about 14 days and begins to heal the bones together).
From breaking it up until my operation, I had two whole weeks of having to sleep sat upright in a chair. The worst two weeks of my life. As my bone was broken in half, every little movement resulted in a grinding and crunching as the ends rubbed together. I'll never forget that! Hence having to sleep upright - to allow gravity to do it's thing and keep the bones aligned to stop them crossing paths.
Here is my post-op X-ray... the image on the right was taken 2 weeks post-op (you can still see the staples going up the middle). The image on the left was taken about 2 weeks later following removal of the staples.
2 plates, 17 screws and 39 staples.
I've got myself a nice 9" scar down the back of my left arm. In order to access the bone, the Prof had to quite literally cut my tricep wide open (known as 'splitting'). Trying to tense my tricep is still quite a weird feeling, I can just feel it twinge near the elbow as I think that's the only part to have survived the knife. It's slowly coming back though...
This was when I was having the staples removed. I was absolutely bricking it! Surprisingly though, it didn't hurt.
Staples out but my arm still hasn't fully healed. As there was a large scab in the wound near the top (can see in previous pic) it prevented it from closing up fully.
I then had steri-strips on for a week which closed the gap up a bit...
And then an iodine patch on for a further week (which eventually did the trick)...
And then finally, taken just half an hour ago... here we are today...
I've had two physio sessions so far and all is going well. I'm 5 degrees off straight, and so very close to being able to bend my arm fully. Much greater improvement on when I first went 3 weeks ago and my arm was stuck at a 90 degree angle unable to move!
I'm quite lucky (I think) as it was my left arm that I broke and fortunately I'm right handed. I don't know how I managed to dodge that one otherwise I truly would be screwed!
The only downside from the whole procedure is that my ulnar nerve is having a hissy fit. The ulnar nerve is the nerve that is affected when you hit your 'funny bone' and it supplies half of your hand, your pinkie finger and HALF of your ring finger with feeling. As mine was stretched in order to accommodate my meccano set, it's decided to act up for now. Since my operation about 7 weeks ago I've not been able to feel those parts of my hand of grip particularly well / move my fingers normally (still have the range of motion, just not the dexterity to spread / close my fingers). I'm reassured it will come back, it just takes some time. Anywhere between 2 weeks and 9 months. My fingertips have already started to become hypersensitive which is different from 100% numb and I'm told is a positive change, so I'm remaining optimistic!
As the humerus has very little blood supply as a bone, it takes longer than most others to heal (at 12 weeks). I'm hoping to be driving soon though (sat in my car the other day like a saddo and practiced changing gears which I managed) and to be back at the gym 4 times a week (I'm sure tricep day will be fun... I don't think I'll do that for a good few months though to be safe!).
So there you have it guys; don't arm wrestle! Again, apologies for the mass of text and sorry if the pictures grossed anyone out.