Sunday, March 7, 2010

Looking Back................ the Diagnosis

Part 1

Once the docs got to see the X-Rays of the injury I'd received falling backwards off my Arabian horse, they could tell what was really going on with my arm and shoulder. I had a compound fracture of the humerus right below the ball portion of the bone. The tendons and ligaments were wedged in between the two pieces of bone.

A big part of the incredible amount of pain I was experiencing was because of the positioning of the tendons and ligaments between those pieces of humerus. Any movement caused the two pieces of bone to move thus pinching the stuff caught between. With all the nerve endings available at that important juncture of the body, the immense pain was a given considering the circumstances.

In addition my shoulder was indeed dislocated. That also caused added pressure on the already displaced muscles, ligaments and tendons of my arm and shoulder which also translated to considerable pain. The combination of the two injuries upped the pain I was experiencing exponentially according to the docs. All I knew was natural childbirth had been easy next to this injury. Now the question was what were they going to do about it.

According to the docs, they had two choices. They could put the shoulder and bones back into place manually OR they could do it surgically. Manually meant one doc would take my shoulder and the other would take my hand. They'd pull as hard as they could to get things back into place. Surgically meant they'd knock me out and probably do about the same thing only they'd use some instruments like vises and pulleys maybe to assist in the process. Orthopedists use all kinds of things to work their magic.

To be honest I didn't get into a detailed description of the surgical process with them. The word surgery was enough to turn me off. I hate being put under and the word "knife" is not my friend. I will avoid surgery at all costs if I can.

Dave immediately told them surgery was what WE wanted not knowing it wasn't what I wanted. It's my body. Dave soon found out he didn't get to make that call. I jumped into the conversation and let them know I didn't want anything to do with surgery. I didn't want to be knocked out or have surgery, either one.

I asked the all important question, "Can you give me more drugs?" I needed something stronger because there was still way toooooo much pain. I couldn't even imagine what it would be like with them pulling on my arm. I'd wanted to eat the radiologist and all he did was move the thing. Yet, I was willing for them to have a tug o war with my arm and shoulder if they could give me something stronger to ease the pain.

Dave nearly fainted as the words crossed my lips. He tried to convince me that surgery would be easier but I was having none of it. If they were going to treat me that way, Dave was leaving.

Now I am a coward when it comes to dentists and doctors yet even the thought of being alone through this procedure was not enough for me to change my mind. I was NOT going under the knife for something that could be fixed another way.

The docs told me they could indeed up the anty with stronger pain meds so my choice was to go for the manual repair. Once the decision was made Dave headed for the waiting room. I can't say that I blame him. I wouldn't have wanted to watch them do a painful procedure to him either. Knowing me I'd have probably fainted and made more work for the staff. I'm not sure what Dave's response would have been but with him in the waiting room, I didn't need to worry about that.

I remember hearing the docs prescribe the drug and dose to the attending nurse. Then I remember the nurse repeating it back to them incorrectly. According to her understanding I was only getting one tenth of the dose the docs ordered. The docs did NOT notice the mistake but I heard it like it had been broadcast over a bullhorn. The numbers kept repeating in my mind.

The thought of not enough pain killer freaked me out. I wasn't about to lay there and let them pull on my arm without enough drugs. I kept interrupting their conversation until someone listened to me. They were busily making their preparations and not really paying attention to me. The thought of fleeing crossed my mind but I'm not really sure I could have moved if I wanted to.

I hung in there trying to get someones attention.I did manage to get the nurse's but she didn't really listen to me. She insisted that she had heard the doctor's orders correctly. Now I really was beginning to panic.

Finally I got through to the docs with my question about the drug's dosage. I asked them to please repeat the correct dose to the nurse and to have her repeat it back to them. They did as asked and it fixed the misunderstanding with the nurse although she never did admit to getting it wrong in the first place. At least I was getting the correct dose after all.

I watched the nurse putting the corrected dosage of the drug into my IV. Then I heard the docs ask if everyone was ready. The last thing I remember was one doc's hands took my shoulder as the other's picked up my hand...............

To be continued..........

This picture is of my foundation mare, Scandalous. It was taken about the time this accident happened.

The Treatment

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  1. Please tell me they gave you conscious sedation (Versed) so you wouldn't remember anything. My arm is throbbing just reading this story.

  2. I hear you about not wanting the surgical repair. But yikes I would have been terrified especially hearing the nurse muff up the dosage!

  3. My sister had a severely dislocated shoulder and had the same "relocation" operation. The hours of pain she endured while the emergency room people did the X-rays and finally got around to fixing her made me know I never want to dislocate my shoulder.
    I'm sorry you had to suffer through this. And, I'm with Dave in the emergency waiting room while they pull and rotate.
    Thanks for visiting. I'm here everyday even while not updating my own blog.

  4. You're pretty brave. I would have had them knock me out in a minute. This had to really hurt. Glad you stuck to your guns with the nurse.

  5. My hubby opted for the manual reset, too! No surgery for him! His arm healed up just fine and he hasn't had any problems with it! I've been reading your blog all weekend while we had cold and dreary weather down here! I just couldn't STOP! You have some fantastic stories! I can tell how much you miss Scandalous. My mare, Beauty, died last summer and I still miss her. It was a stupid, freak accident.