A Wild Six Months

“Blues, despair and agony on me!
Deep dark depression; excessive misery!
If it weren’t for hard luck, I’d have no luck at all!
Blues, despair and agony on me!”

I heard that in the old Heehaw episodes when I was young….

It would seem that way with the crazy run of luck or lack, thereof, I’ve had. In May, I traveled to San Diego to visit with family and came back with a nasty bit of ‘travel crud’. Then, in June, at another family function, I caught the ring on my right hand trying to break a fall and broke that finger! That was followed by another summer cold.

In September, I broke my wrist when I missed the last step of the stairs in my garage and fell. I wasn’t paying attention to WHAT I was doing; I was thinking of what I was about to do. So, I wound up in “arm jail.”

I’m right handed, by the way.

Initially, I treated the injury as a bad sprain. I splinted and wrapped it and did all the things you’re supposed to for a sprain; rest, ice, compression and elevation….and, I continued to fish, casting of the beach with tears of pain rolling down my face.

It was the last month of salmon fishing and this girl HAS TO FISH! I did manage to land a couple salmon and break my pole during this time, too!

When the crazy bruising and most of the swelling went away, I noticed something was not right about my wrist right under my thumb, so I went in to have it seen.

An x-ray was taken but I did not hear back from anyone for a WEEK!

I called to follow up. It turns out that my x-ray image somehow got misplaced. The next thing I know, an orthopedic doctor is calling me late Thursday afternoon asking me to come in right away! I was indisposed that evening and promised to come in the first thing the next morning and did.

I broke the Scaphoid bone in my wrist. It is one of eight bones in the wrist. It’s rather pivotal to the articulation of the opposing thumb action and rotation of the wrist. I call it the “pivot private.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a very good blood supply and tends to heal very slowly or can even just simply become necrotic. So, a full arm cast it is for a while.

To be clear, this is my first experience with wearing a cast of ANY kind. I have to admit, I’d rather have the cast on my arm than on one of my legs. I would go STIR CRAZY! I would have such difficulty staying put! I’m just too active!

Funny thing about these casts is that I have personal historical knowledge about this particular type cast. See, as I was growing up, when someone broke a limb, they were put in those heavy, non-breathable plaster casts that took forever to dry. My dad was instrumental in the development of the current cast that we use today.

When I was about ten years old or so, he brought home the prototypes for us to look at. They were cream white, light and had hinges on them so you could put them on. They also developed the rocker boot for the leg cast. It was called “Light Cast,” and then, an ultra-violet light was used to dry it. The drying process took about 15 minutes. Nowadays, there is a chemical reaction built into it that causes it to dry.

That’s a nice advancement!

On a follow-up visit in October, I given a smaller “cell.” I asked the cast technician if he could make this cast blue and green. After all, it is football season. What an opportunity to represent the Seattle Seahawks on a daily basis. I have to make a positive out of this situation somehow. I’m a loyal Twelve.

As I left with my new cast, I was told to expect a copy of a referral letter in the mail because the Orthopedic doctor that saw me wanted me to see a hand specialist to make sure I don’t need a plate put in. This was in October, I reiterate.

So, through October and November, I represent the Seahawks with my cast. It drew A LOT of attention. Everywhere I went, folks would stop me to talk about it. We’ve got such a strong Seahawk fan base here! So, in good Twelve fashion not only do I share my story but impart goodwill in the form of kind words and random acts of kindness with this Seahawk cast. That’s what Twelves do and we do it all year around because there is always Blue Friday.

December arrives. I still have not seen any referral letter or heard anything about a follow up with ANY doctor. So, I call the office I was last seen at. Apparently, they forgot to set the referral up. I was forgotten! Interesting…..

The next thing I know is I’m getting a call from a hand specialist in Edmonds, WA. They aren’t ‘in network.’ I set an appointment anyway for December 20th. Then, I get a call from ANOTHER hand specialist in Mount Vernon, WA. They ARE ‘in network’ and much easier to get to AND they can see me sooner. I cancel the other appointment.

On December 17th, I was seen by the good folks at Skagit Regional Health. What a nice facility! After cutting off my Seahawk cast and more x-rays, My arm was ‘paroled‘ to a fancy brace that looks more like an arm corset. The bone had “bridged!” The doctor said I can take it off for a while a couple times a day to do simple tasks like showering, computer work and that kind of thing.

As for the cast, I kept it. It sits in my Seahawk chest. They carefully removed it for me so I could take it home.

A follow up appointment was set for January 17th. It’s an early appointment and it was a frosty morning. I left early so I could take my time getting there. The roads weren’t too icy leaving the Island but when I got into Mount Vernon the temperature dropped from 38 to 29 degrees and it was icy!

I got there at about 9:10 a.m. Imaging wasn’t scheduled to see me until 9:40, but they took me early! Even the Specialist saw me early. I was out of there BEFORE my scheduled visit of 10:10!

What service!!

The doctor also had good news! He said I can now wean myself of the brace and work back into doing my normal routine. I can get back into Yoga and using the weight machines for my upper body! The bone had healed enough!

Although I do have one more follow up appointment in six weeks, I’ve been essentially sprung from arm jail!

I haven’t put the brace on since leaving the doctor’s office…

I can get back to things like this and my photography!

2 thoughts on “A Wild Six Months

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