Saturday, August 11, 2007


last thursday i went in to see the ortho specialist. good news, no need to set the bones, use pins, or do anything involving the word surgery. bad news, the cast i got is a "long arm" cast, which covers my arm from below the shoulder down to my wrist (actually over my palm, w only fingers and thumb uncovered). i was told then that i'd likely be in a cast up to 8 weeks, the long arm one for 2-3 weeks, and then a shorter one, from below the elbow to the wrist, for the rest of the time. 8 weeks takes me to the end of september. bleah.
(that's a mirror image. it's my right arm that's all mum'ra'd up.)

the long cast didn't seem unforgivably awful the first day or two, but after four or five days, it was extremely un-fun. the pain at the fracture gradually diminished, but the itch factor beneath the cast rose exponentially. i was warned against using any sharp implements to scratch underneath the cast, using talc/baby powder, or any sort of liquid or lotion, as all would cause irritation, and possibly even cuts and scratches, which in the primordial microclimate of the cast would likely end up getting infected.

a very excellent assistant at the doc's office suggested using dust-off, cannisters of compressed air, typically used to clean keyboards and electronics, y'know? to "scratch" at itches, and that definitely helped. i went thru two new cans in four days and ended up making a staples run just to reload on them.

you've gotta be careful to keep those cans upright when you're using them. i think i gave myself a bit of frostbite when i apparently tipped the can while shooting up w dee ay-uh and it spat some of its compressing liquid coolant or whatever it is onto my arm beneath the cast. freaked me out. felt the so-cold-it-kinda-burns-ness of it, removed the cannister nozzle, flexed my hand, fist, open hand, fist, open hand, over and over, until the cold, and then the numbness, passed. i waited a bit longer after that, keeping my arm still, freaked by the warning label on the cannister, featuring, in bold extra large type - "FIRST AID TREATMENT... In all cases contact physician."

or... "PRIMEROS AUXILIOS... Comuniquese con un medico, en todos los casos."

and of course there was the fear of somehow jostling the arm and shattering it into frozen pieces inside the cast (sometimes a good imagination is your own worst enemy)... i finally tried the cannister again, no tipping, to see how the air felt against the hopefully not hypothermic skin. it seemed fine, so, it must be fine, right?


heh. reminds me of the best warning message ever (fictional, alas)... IF SWALLOWED, CONSULT A MORTICIAN. haha =) courtesy of the simpsons, and some kind of crazy glue that bart used to attach a fake nose to his face.

after five days w the cast, it got to the point where i'd spend two hours trying to subdue the itch factor before i could get comfortable enough to fall asleep. even then, sleep would be interrupted by uncomfortable positions of my arm and then more itching. frickin frackin madness!

during one of these sessions, i came up w something that helped a little more than the air blasts. i started going in to rub at the itches (that could be reached) using a q-tip. the range was limited, of course, but it brought some decent relief... for a spell. i figured out a way to one-up it a little later and used the q-tip to rub in some lanacane bug bite/itch relief lotion. it wasn't an instant fix, but i think it helped me subdue the itching sooner than i would have without it.

anyhow, a week later, i went in for a follow-up visit. i had the arm, with cast, x-rayed. the doc showed me the x-rays and said that everything looks good. the bones haven't shifted at all and the fracture is healing. she couldn't say when the long arm cast would come off, tho. my arm would have to be evaluated again in a next visit in 1 to 2 weeks. fine.

so, i went to make a next appointment at the registration desk and it turned out that the only available slot was two weeks later. bleah. that means, best case scenario, i go in two weeks later, get x-rayed, everything looks good, and i get to crack this cast off, hopefully get a chance to steamclean my withered chicken skinned arm, and get fit with the shorter forearm cast, which i'll hafta wear for 4-6 weeks.

some best case.

i explained to the doc about the q-tipping, and she shook her head at that, which i kind of expected. cuz, sure, its tipped w cotton, but the rubbing, as satisfying as it feels, is still about scratching at skin that's already irritated, unwashed, and sun-starved. i also mentioned the lanacane and got a finger wage for it. kinda expected that, too, as it's a lotion and any moisture is just more organic building blocks to add to the mutant arm creature soup.

i've been working from home since the injury. partner joe's been super good about divvying up the work so that he deals with more fast-track, fires-to-out-out type requests, and i get to work on stuff more suited to my current gimpy pace and capabilities. i did make it out to nahant for a day at the beach (thanks K and D!). it was that outing that got me to figure out i could use packing wrap (y'know, the saran wrap stuff on a roll w a handle) to seal off the top of my cast.

for the beach trip it was to keep sand out. back home, i realized that it would also be a perfect seal for the whole garbage-bag-over-the-cast arrangement needed to shower w my frac'd up arm. not very easily applied - you try package wrapping a trash bag around your right arm using just your left - but so far, very effective.

with vball out of the picture, i'm working on knocking off some of the collected shows on the dvr. summer fare, old and new, includes MAD MEN, THE CLOSER, RESCUE ME, TRAVELER, MY BOYS, EUREKA, and the ever lovable DOCTOR WHO (now with new hot sidekick). i've also managed to get a bit back into the movie-ing swing of things. half and half solo outings and groups. i'll hafta get around to tapping out some review-rambles... soon... eventually...

keep on keepin on~

1 comment:

zorknapp said...

I'm backtracking on your blog, coming out of my work hibernation... Good to see that overall, things aren't as bad as they could be. ;)