Monday, March 28, 2016

My Wrist Saga

I haven't mentioned it here, but back in December - on the 19th, to be exact - I sprained my wrist.  This happened in Birmingham, Alabama, where we'd stopped for the night on our road trip out to North Carolina.  I was carrying Paco's food dish to an out-of-the-way spot in our hotel room, when Paco got all tangled up in my legs and tripped me.  As I lay on the floor among scattered dog food, assessing which body part hurt the worst and wondering if I'd broken anything, Paco, naturally, was licking me "sorry sorry sorry mom, yu ok now?" - gah.  Jeff and Allie had walked across the parking lot to go get dinner, so I was all alone when this happened.

By the time they came back, I was up and had showered (which is why I stayed behind in the first place), but thought that my wrist might be broken.  It was swollen and it hurt really, really bad.  However, no bones were sticking out, plus I could move my fingers, and there was no way I was going to try and find an ER on a Saturday night in a strange city, so I took a bunch of Motrin and went to bed.

The next morning we continued with our drive to North Carolina, with me hopped up on Motrin.  As long as I didn't move my wrist a certain direction, it was tolerable.  I thought I might go to an urgent care facility there, but I really didn't want to deal with all of that, plus being out-of-state, I knew that chances were high that our insurance would end up being filed wonky and I'd be dealing with a billing mess, which is exhausting.  So I babied my wrist, and except for not getting to go bowling like Allie wanted - OH DID I MENTION THIS WAS MY LEFT WRIST AND I'M LEFT-HANDED - it didn't impact me all that much.

I finally went to the doctor the first week of January and had X-rays taken:
My wedding ring looks weird in this image!

Nothing was broken, which was a relief...or so I thought.  Based on where it was still hurting, my doctor said it was a sprain, and that I'd either stretched or torn the ligaments.  Apparently a break is preferable to a sprain, because bones heal quicker than ligaments...but that would explain why it was still hurting me so badly.  He said if it wasn't better in six weeks, I would need to see an orthopedist.

Cut to early March.  Because of an upcoming unrelated minor surgery, I had to stop taking Motrin (which is a blood thinner, a no-no before surgery).  Well, my wrist, which had never stopped hurting, especially when I did something like shake a can of Pam before cooking, or curl my hair with a brush as I was blow-drying it, began hurting like CRAZY, all the time.  Nights were the worst; I'd move in my sleep and my wrist would twist just enough to wake me up with a zap of pain, and this happened over and over, all night long.  I realized that even though I hadn't been taking Motrin every day, I was taking it often enough to have been masking the pain levels really well.  So I went to an orthopedist who is a hand specialist.

My orthopedist suspected a TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) tear and ordered an MRI for me, which showed an ECU (extensor carpi ulnaris) tear - but not the TFCC tear, which he still thought was happening based on where it was hurting and how long this had been going on.  His guess is that scar tissue might have obscured the TFCC tear on the MRI.

The bad news is that I will almost certainly need surgery to fix my wrist.  My orthopedist warned me that this would be a long recovery because there is very little blood flow to the injured area, and blood flow is what heals wounds.  I am looking at three months of being in various splints after surgery; once that is over, I'll have to have some physical therapy to get my hand and wrist moving properly again.  You know my first question, when he told me what was in store, was "can I still run?" His answer was yes.  Turns out, he's a runner, loves running, and didn't see why I couldn't run once I was feeling well enough after the surgery, even if I was in a splint.

Before surgery, we're trying one last thing - I had a steroid injection into the pinky finger side of my wrist, right at the wristbone, and I'm to wear a splint for two weeks, followed by two weeks with no splint.  Then we'll revisit the situation and make plans from there.  Surgery won't happen until May, at the earliest, because I have a couple of fun races in April and I'll be damned if I'm going to miss them because of this dumb wrist - I mean, I've been able to run all the races since January with it, so why let it stop me now?
 
Once again, I bery bery sorry, Mom.

I'm wearing a Munster splint, which immobilizes my wrist and has helped immensely with me not accidentally moving it; I don't hurt nearly as much when I'm in the splint.  Of course, the second I take it off, the pain is actually worse for a little while because it's so stiff, but I only take it off to shower, run, and type.  I can even knit with it, although I worry that after the surgery, I'll be worse off before I'm better and I will need the magical powers of Harry Potter to get any knitting done:
Self-knitting needles!   

So that's my wrist saga.  Moral of the story is that you shouldn't fall down, but if you do, breaking your wrist is the better option.  As if you have an option when you fall...

34 comments:

  1. I hope the non-surgical interventions work. As a fellow athlete and knitter I shudder to think of having to have that surgery. You haven remarkably cheerful through this here on the blog.

    On a more cheerful note I have my sock yarn and double pointed needles.I will be waiting for the other needles to show up in my mail this week along the with yarn harlots book you recommended. I have been knitting three years this fall and this is only the second book I have bought. I'll keep you posted once I start on how it goes and if I like sock knitting which I hope I do after all the stuff I bought to get started.

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    1. I'm good at ignoring things, which is where the cheerfulness came from, LOL.

      Yay you for getting all of the sock knitting necessities! Can't wait to see your sock!!

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  2. Well, this kinda sucks. Jeepers sometimes it feels like if it's not one thing, it's another. I guess the silver lining is you can still run, but honestly, this whole thing just stinks.

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    1. So I appreciate your sympathy, but I have to say that every time you say "jeepers" I get a total flashback to "Leave It To Beaver" and that makes me smile. :)

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  3. As I read, I had a feeling this was moving towards surgery. Sprains always seem so innocuous sounding, but the tendons and ligments just don't do so well on their own, unlike breaks. Good thing it isn't your legs this time. Still sucks, though. I'm sorry.

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    1. I had no idea that sprains could be so unforgiving. :(

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    2. I'm not sure why I'm blocked out of a new comment, so will reply to Lori's. Sorry Lori! :) One word...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

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  4. Dang, that is a saga. It's amazing how a 2 second incident can bring so much grief. Hope it will get back to normal. Paco is a sweetie.

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    1. Yep - one moment I'm fine and the next, BAM. Paco is a sweetie today. That evening? I was not happy with him.

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  5. OMG!!!! And I can't believe you waited till now to tell us all this...lol. Well, I know you are in pain but at least it wasn't your ankle and you can still run!
    Keep us updated!

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    1. Honestly, I kept hoping this would go away, which is why I didn't mention it.

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  6. Oh wow. That bites!! Glad you can still run and I hope if you do have to have surgery that you'll have a super speedy recovery!

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  7. Paco is such a polite dog! Sophie would still be giving me the look that says "why did you DO that to me?"

    This seems like one of those situations where no matter which way you turn, there's not a great choice. I'm hoping for a magical non-surgical cure, so you can get on with knitting and life! (although now I want some of those Harry Potter knitting needles!)

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    1. I know, exactly...no great choice on how this is going to resolve. :(

      How fun would those HP knitting needles be in real life?!!

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  8. I feel you! I'm dealing with my own wrist situation right now! Right wrist, right handed. I've been to the chiro for therapy and been released from treatment twice, but have done something to flair it up within 2 weeks of being released from treatment. I know what you mean about taking a long time to heal! Painting made it hurt and turning door knobs do too. Blerg.

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    1. Sounds like you are hurting in the same area as me...turning a doorknob is very painful! Hope you get your issue resolved soon.

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  9. sorry about your wrist! Hope you heal without surgery! Good for you for not letting it stop you! Hang in there!

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    1. Thanks - I guess I am too stubborn to let this impact me (yet, anyway).

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  10. Bummer, Shelley :-( I'm glad you can still run, and am crossing fingers that the non-surgical treatment works. I'm sure Paco is very contrite - if only he could help out with the cooking and knitting to make it up to you!

    Take care of yourself!

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    1. The only thing Paco wants to help take care of is the cleaning up of mealtime, LOL!

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  11. Ugh, wrist sprains are the worst! I fell in my driveway a few weeks ago, landed hard on my hand/wrist (that thumb pad part) and haven't been the same since. I had sprained it when I was a kid so re-injuring it in any way is awful. I feel your pain (literally). I hope the conservative treatment helps and that you don't need surgery!

    The picture of Paco staring at your brace is KILLING me. They are so lucky they are so stinkin' cute!!!

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    1. Sorry you fell - I feel YOUR pain! And yeah, Paco is lucky he's cute... ;)

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  12. Yikes! Hopefully the shot and the two weeks of being in a splint will do the trick!

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  13. Oh nO!!!I hope you don't need surgery and if yo do, your recovery time is bearable and that you can still run.

    And I hope you can somehow knit!!!!!

    I will miss your pretty projects.

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    1. If I can't knit for months, I don't know what I'll do with myself. :(

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  14. Aww, Shelley, that stinks. Hope you get through this quickly!

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  15. I always tell my patients who come in with sprains that a break is better...I'm so sorry that this happened to you. But it begs the question...what diagnosis would you have gotten in the days before an MRI? Aren't we lucky to have this technology?

    Healing vibes coming your way...

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  16. Aw, that stinks! I have heard that breaks are better than sprains, but I had no idea the recovery time would be that long. Hugs!

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  17. Oh girl, that stinks! I hope the surgery will help. Many years ago R. broke something in his foot and they didn't want to do surgery on it. They should have because till today his foot hurts every day. So my advice is to take the surgery.

    At least you can still run, that will take your mind of your hand.

    good luck and big hug for you.

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  18. OMG, forget running, what about knitting?! Thank god you still can.

    Sigh, of course this all happened cause you got tripped up on the leash! I do hope the splint helps and you can somehow skip the surgery! I actually pulled a bunch of tendons and ligaments in my dominant wrist too... do something very stupid. It's so frustrating. I hope it heals soon!

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