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Friday, November 26, 2010

End of the Clavicle Saga

As most of you know, I broke my right clavicle when I did an unplanned dismount off of Paj back in July.  Well, after months of physical therapy and doctor visits, that little mishap is finally drawing to a close.  I had my last visit with the orthopedic surgeon this week.  I'm not posting a photo of the latest x-ray because a) it freaks my loved ones out, and b) it looks just like it did in the beginning;  a drawbridge ready to let a tall ship through.   Those bones have not and probably will not knit together.  But as the good doctor says, "you treat the patient, not the injury".  And when an orthopedic surgeon tells me that in my case, surgery has a greater chance of making things worse than better, I listen.  So the goal has been to get the function back, and to get pain free.

The range of motion in the shoulder is pretty darn good.  The strength is not quite to where I want it, but it's getting there.  I learned in physical therapy that the less dominant side of your body is normally 2/3s as strong as your dominant side.  Right now, it's the opposite for me.  I'm right handed, and my dominant right side is only 2/3s as strong as my left side.  I've returned to full work in the barn, so I expect that to improve.  In fact, I went a little crazy proving to myself that I was better in the week leading up to the last appointment.  David had to go to The Big City for work on Tuesday, so I fed and cleaned for all 7 of Chuck's horses plus our horses, cleaning stalls, runs, and paddock.  Another day I cleaned pasture poo.  Another day David and I set up the lunge pen.  Each panel weighs 106 pounds, and we carried them and set them into position. 

David had previously taken down the dressage arena fence and stored it in the barn for winter.  The arena pad is not fenced off from the pasture, and we were afraid that when the snow gets deeper than the dressage arena fence (12"), the horses would blunder into the fencing and hurt themselves.  Or it.  There's still an area 20m x 40m, the size of a regulation small arena, behind the lunge pen.  But I'm getting off track.  The point is that I was nervous before the last appointment, and did a lot of work to prove to myself that I could.  This brings me to the "pain free" part of getting better.

I am off the vicodin and off Advil except when I am stupid and do too much (see above).  I'm comfortable most of the time, but aware of the clavicle, especially at night.  I would like to be to the point where I don't think about it any more than I think of my big toe, or any other part of my body.  But all in all, it's pretty darn good.  This brings me to my big beef.

I am pissed that nobody thought to tell me to exercise my fingers all that time I was in a sling.  My poor fingers froze up, and I am having the devil of a time getting them back in spite of my exercises and my pot of orange finger putty.  They don't obey my brain.  This morning a plate dropped out of my hand when I was unloading the dishwasher.  Worse, we could have had a disaster leaving Chuck's after the roofing.  I can wrap my fingers around a horse's lead, but with no strength.  When we went to load Paj on the trailer, I saw "Gallop Home" flash across Paj's little pea brain.  That would have been a great time to give a tug on the lead and remind him there was a human on the other end.  My brain told the fingers, and nothing happened.  Fortunately, Paj is all about food, and as soon as "Gallop home" flashed across his brain, "Food on trailer" flashed, and on he went.  I'm wandering again, but the point is that the finger problem could have been avoided. 

The doctor says a full recovery for the shoulder and the fingers can take up to a year, and it's up to me to get there.  The public goal is to get back to where I was.  The secret goal is to be able to ride again with that peculiar mix of strength and sensitivity riding requires.  I have a plan.  I've started swimming again.  I love swimming.  No snickering please, but I was on the synchronized swimming team in college.  Anyway, I think swimming will really help me.  And even though we live way out in the country, there is a gorgeous rec center 20 miles from us, complete with lap swimming.  My body remembers the rhythms and the stroking, even in slow motion.  And I think I might try to knit again for the fingers.

Oh, one more thing.  When I had my final physical therapy session, the therapist told me that if I ever had to go to one of those ghastly (my word, not hers) ice-breaker sessions where you have to tell the group something unique about yourself, I could tell them "I have three clavicles".  Oh ha-ha.

21 comments:

Sharon said...

Sorry I missed the part of your mishap. Swimming will be great exercise for you - for anything!
I have arthritis in my fingers, only thing that helps is warm water as in doing the dishes, which I just pre-wash, but does get them moving. LOL!

Keep up the good work!

Lori Skoog said...

Three huh? You sound like you are making the most of it. Knitting sounds like good therapy...so does swimming and squeezing a little ball when you're just hanging around. Obviously you are getting much better, to have done all that work at Chucks.

I like the round pen...good idea to put away the dressage ring for the winter.

Keep truckin'...you are on a roll to complete recovery. And thanks for checking in on my Journal.

Mare said...

Haha 3 clavicles, not bad...! Sounds like you're better...just don't break anything else, now!

Kate said...

Glad you're feeling better, at least some - I'm a big consumer of Advil - it keeps me going!

Louise said...

Well, dang, not everyone can say that they have three clavicles! I'm glad that you're doing better, and that you're doing your exercises. The finger thing is problematical, but, I've come to know you a bit through this blog, and I would bet that you'll work on it until it's fixed.

Razzberry Corner said...

Get all better soon!

Flartus said...

It never crossed my mind that you could just carry on with the bones not actually knitted together. How does that work??

You surely sound motivated, and definitely have lots of plans, so I am sure you will be fully healed within a year. Too bad for Paj, he only has a limited window for misbehaving!

Jabacue said...

Hey Terry, stay positive. That 's the best medicine. You will recover in time.
Swimming would be great. It is so good for you. I used to swim daily.....lengths, for years. Thanks, I think I'll start again along with you!
Jim

Funder said...

I'm with Flartus, I had no idea! So the ends of the bones just .. heal? Without touching each other? I think Dixie broke one of my little footbones - she stomped it two years ago and it hurt for a good 18 months - and I wonder if that's what happened to my foot.

Doing some meditation/visualization about the nerves re-connecting and your fingers getting stronger might help. Your body will heal - just keep helping it!

sophie...^5 said...

Yeah, listen to Jabacue Jim..he's a great swimmer!
Yes..Sophie had an ear problem recently...it' apparently a Labradoodle problem. Need to keep on it daily!

allhorsestuff said...

Well Happy Thanksgiving!
You sound like you can be on your way soon...glad that Paj didn't linger on the...trot for home thoughts...food won out! Sometimes those specialists have the big picture in mind...details, like everyday living escape therm. Sorry for the atrophy.

Love the round pen. What is the surface of your footing?

Zanzibah Alpacas said...

Poor you !...I once broke my wrist and had similar problems with my fingers and grip !!! Its not good....but with the will power you have I know you will.....make them work !! Your lunging arena looks fantastic......nice sand...not snow !!.....Jayne

Java's Mom said...

You'll get better, ignore the x-ray, and focus on the positives. "Careful what you complain about" is what I tell myself, it could certainly be worse. With time you will get your fingers back. Sorry, not meant to be harsh.

Texan said...

I am amazed! You really are doing so very good with all this! Having had to overcome some medical stuff myself I say BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO to you for your attitude!! This is why you will get to where you need to!! I admit your Xray does look rather alarming LOL, can see why it would distress your love ones... I think the swimming seems like a fine idea! It will build your strength all over and loosen you up too! Plus water exercise is so safe as not to further a injury... You go girl!!!!

Canyon Girl said...

I'm so glad all that work is paying off. Thanks for the quote about treating the patient. It will help me greatly. I so agree about the hand. My fingers were completely bent. I had my hand X-rayed and was diagnosed with arthritis, something I never had before. I am exercising it right now and it is getting better. But I hate to tell you all the stuff I am dropping left and right. And I still don't dare to walk Samson. He is so big and strong. I need to train him and work on that too. -- Inger

Terry said...

Thank you all. Now I move forward! Yay!

Dream Valley Ranch said...

Ouch!! At least you don't have 4 clavicles? Haha-I'm always looking for a silver lining ;) I'm excited for you that you are pain free except for when you obviously overdo it! That round pen is beautiful-nice footing!! I'm jealous that you will be swimming-I think that sounds simply lovely!

Tell Paj that the food in the trailer was the smart choice for a bazillion reasons :)

sophie...^5 said...

Hi Terry..in case you didn't see my reply re: what is ^5..it means high 5 like to hands hitting together in agreement..positive happy sign!

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

with winter coming! more aches and pains!!! chin up!
x

Sandy said...

Terry - glad to hear that there is a lot you can do and it sounds like you have been doing a lot! Hopefully you will get more and more range of motion.

Jabacue said...

Hi Terry,
No haven't made it to the pool yet! But am very close to 'joining'. I need that great feeling of swimming again. It's been a while.
Jim