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Saturday, November 05, 2011


Just an update

I have seen the doctor again. His conclusion:

- My symptoms are very unusual.

- The X-ray images are inconclusive.

- The working theory is that there are fractures on both forearm bones in my elbow.

- The cast is off and they advised against another one because too much time in a full-arm cast and your elbow freezes up.

So I have a sling instead. Downside, it gives me a headache because my arm is apparently too heavy for my neck. Upside, I can now reach the shift key so capitals are part of my world again.

General downside: still can't pick up my son, so still having to depend on family support.

So, topic of conversation:

I've ended up sewing alterations to both my supports: I had to sew up the frayed end of the padding on the cast, and to sew a fleece sleeve to cover the scratchy velcro on the sling. What things do you alter, and why?

Well, I can't say that I've ever broken an arm, so I can't help there. However, if you're expecting to want to minimize use of one hand for a long time (like, I dunno, >2 months?), and you like learning [certain kinds of] new things for the heck of it, you could check out the Dvorak one-handed keyboard layouts.
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Thanks, but to be honest, I'm not really the kind of person who enjoys learning that kind of thing. By the time I had my head around it, my arm would probably have healed anyway.

I can type okay as long as I can rest my broken arm on a table at the right height; if I didn't have a toddler to care for, I wouldn't be very inconvenienced. It's just all those two-handed jobs, like picking him up, changing his clothes and nappies, putting him down in his cot, putting him in his pushchair ... all stuff I can't do without hurting myself, and possibly dropping him into the bargain.
My experience of doctors is that they get annoyed or confused when one doesn't have a bog-standard set of symptoms. (Part of this is from the time pressure on them to deal with as many patients as possible.) Good luck!
The doctor was perfectly nice in this case, I'm glad to say. He just told me to come back next week.
Well, in my youth I once altered a denim jacket within a few square inches of being completely unrecognizable. I still have it, and it is possible, after close examination, to determine that it was not entirely sewn together from patches featuring various punk and heavy metal bands. Does that count?
I totally confused my doctor by taking my medication EXACTLY the way I should. Apparently the standard dosage is predicated on the presumption that people will not take it properly.

So, reduce the dosage, more blood tests. Rinse and repeat.
If your sling is causing you pain, you might see if you can adjust the fit. Small changes in the length of the straps can make a big difference.

Another helpful thing is, when you're sitting down, to have a pillow on your lap to support the weight of your arm in the sling, rather than relying just on the sling to hold your arm. It gives your shoulders a break.

It might also help to see if you can get some occupational therapy. There may be tricks and tools for doing necessary tasks that are known, but which you haven't had a chance to learn. An OT might also know exercises to strengthen your skills with your other arm, so you can enjoy more independence.
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