Saturday, February 27, 2010

Range of Motion

It feels so good to have my cast off. And while I remain stiff and sore, and I don't have my complete range of motion back yet, typing is certainly much easier now than it has been for the past 6 weeks. type type type type ahhhhhhh.

A little more than 6 weeks ago I was doing some lovely yoga stretches on the kitchen floor, right before bedtime. I stood up, and then I guess I tripped over my own feet... I don't know exactly what I did. I only know that I was falling forward, off balance, and couldn't get my feet under me to stand up. The kitchen counter was zooming quickly toward my face, so I put my hand out... and ouch. I happened to be right next to the refrigerator when this happened, so I grabbed the ice wrap out of the freezer and ran down the stairs to where Matt was typing away at the computer. I couldn't get the ice pack in it's little comfort sleeve, so between curses I asked for his help and then paced the basement in a rather manic way. I felt that if I stopped moving (or cursing), my arm would hurt more. I think Matt thought I had suddenly lost my mind.

It was late, and since I could wiggle my fingers and there was no swelling (thank you ice) I did not believe that I had broken anything. I didn't want to wake up the kids to tell them that we were going to the hospital, either. So I told Matt that if it was still bad in the morning, he could take me in for an x-ray then.

After a night of no sleep, I thought it would be a pretty good idea to get an x-ray. We are about halfway between two hospitals, and we went to Montgomery General because it was opposite rush hour traffic. Matt dropped me off at the emergency room entrance and went to park the car. The nurse at the desk asked what was wrong, and I told her that I had hurt my wrist & needed an x-ray.

There was another nurse standing at the desk, just shooting the breeze with the admitting nurse. She pipes up, "OH, my daughter fell and broke her wrist, and it was just AWFUL! She had to have SURGERY, and SCREWS put in, and it took her MONTHS to get better!" I thought, "gee, what a nice welcome committee," and said out loud, "I don't think it's broken... I'm just playing it safe." And thanks for scaring the crap out of me.

The emergency room doctor was great. She told me, after pressing here and there, that she thought I broke my radius and my schaphoid (thumb) bone. The schaphoid break is difficult to see on x-rays, so she planned on having the radiologist take a good close up. When the x-rays finally came back, she showed them to me on the computer. "Look," she said. "In these 3 x-rays, you can't see the break. But in THIS one..." and there were the break lines. Not all the way through, thank goodness, but fractures.

The nurse handed me some pills to take (I had to ask what they were -- advil) and told me that if I went to Potomac Valley orthopedists, then I wouldn't need to pick up my x-rays from radiology because the Potomac people could just get them on their computers. So Matt took me home. CVS said my prescription would take 2 hours (UGH!). I called Potomac Valley to make the appointment for the next day. "Do you have your x-rays?" they asked. I explained what the nurse said. "We can't get the x-rays over the computer," was the response.

So back I went to the hospital. Did I mention that they are doing construction there? No parking anywhere. I drove around and around the parking lot for 15 minutes before I finally found a spot. Went to radiology, gave my name, signed for the x-rays, and left. CVS finally had my prescription (pain meds) but I couldn't take them because I still had to go out to pick up Dominic from after care at his school.

When it was time to get him, I thought I'd better put that x-ray in my purse so I wouldn't forget it in the morning. I look closely at the CD -- and the name on it was not mine. *sigh* They gave me the wrong x-ray. Some lady's lungs. I called Montgomery General, and they apologized. They told me my x-rays would be waiting at the front desk.

So back I go to to the hospital for the 3rd time that day, kids in tow. I pull into the driveway (wasn't about to drive around looking for parking) and hop out, because my x-rays are supposed to be sitting there for me at the front desk. No... they are not. They send me back to radiology again.

At radiology, I hand over the wrong x-rays and ask for mine. The lady behind the counter starts yelling at me. "Who gave you these x-rays? I was looking for these, I had to make a new set! Did YOU sign for these?" On and on. LADY. I have not slept all night and I have a broken wrist. GIVE ME MY X-RAY.

I finally sign for the correct x-ray and go home. Take my meds and go to bed. The next day I go to Potomac Valley to see the orthopedist. They pop the x-ray CD into the machine and... there is only 1 x-ray on it. Not the one where you can see the breaks. I explained what the ER doctor told me, so they took some more x-rays. They did not do a close up, and they didn't get the angle right... so they did not see the breaks! Oh, and did I mention -- my wrist is not swollen AT ALL. The orthopedist is looking at me like I'm crazy. I told him I had the report from the hospital, but he says, "Oh no, I'LL call over there myself."

After a while he returns and says that based on the hospital's report, AND my pain, they are going to cast me. See you in 6 weeks. Gee, thanks.

On Thursday, after they took off the cast, this same doctor breezed into the office, checked my x-ray, pressed quickly on my wrist, and declared everything to be just great. He said I could go back to full activity. I told him that I do yoga, and that I put full weight on my hands for full arm balance. "No problem," he said. Just stretch it back and forth." He waggled his hand a bit. "It will feel funny at first." He spent about 2 minutes total in the room with me and then was on his way. They gave me a splint to wear, but I had to ask them how long I would be wearing it, if I had to wear it at night, etc.

Luckily, my friend Marci's husband is a hand therapist, and he heard the story and made time to see me on Friday. He gave me exercises to do to get my range of motion back. He recommended that I don't put full weight on my hand until 10 weeks after the injury, and recommended therapy to help with the stiffness and pain.

All I can say is, WTF, Potomac Valley? Also, if I ever slip and fall on the ice in front of Montgomery General hospital, and find that I need an x-ray, I'm going to get in a cab and have them drive me over to Holy Cross. I think that will be much safer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cabin Fever

I don't know how people who live in cold climates get along. One week of this snowdiculousness and I'm ready to climb the walls! It doesn't help that I still have a cast on my arm that needs to stay dry, and doesn't make shoveling easy.

Of course, people who live in cold climates have the resources available to deal with this much snow, and most likely would have had their road plowed by now. Or they would have just gotten into their 4 wheel drive vehicle and gone out. Not the case in Maryland.

So we've played Scrabble and Bananagrams and video games. We've emailed and facebooked and tweeted, taken pictures, payed bills, cooked cooked cooked, and laundry laundry laundry. The house is vacuumed and dusted (to an extent), but somehow, the kids' rooms remain a mess. Daniel had a cold and high blood sugar readings, but that subsided after a few days. Nora and Dominic take turns either playing nicely or screaming at each other loud enough to be heard by their cousin in California. We're all antsy.

I do have something to show for a house-bound week -- a couple of excellent gluten free recipes. Roll-out cookies and brownies. They are seriously the best gluten free brownies ever. They are so good, I think I might have to market them. And as fearful as I am of taking great leaps, that's saying something. I have no idea how to follow that path, but am encouraged to take the first steps.

After my road is plowed, that is. Until then, we will eat all the brownies ourselves.

Friday, February 5, 2010


The storm has been dubbed Snowmageddon, for threatening multiple feet and its windy, blizzardy nature. But no worries. Snowmageddon all you want! There's chicken stew already made, sitting in the fridge. The diabetes supplies are all stocked up, and I even fought my way through the grocery store yesterday for some and delicious Florida strawberries (but actually to pick up some washing machine soap). Matt's home, too -- yay!! He picked up some red wine just before the heavy snow started falling. The neighbors are already checking in for play dates & get togethers. Life is good.

The powers that be let us off at noon today, but there were so few kids in the class that it was an easy day. Maybe we'll even be off on Monday, my busy day, for a complete bonus.

In Maryland we don't get the February break that school systems in New England get, and it always seems like a looooooong stretch from winter break to spring. Hard to stay focused, short days making for short tempers, and it feels like the school year has gone on for 10 months already. As my friend Leah says, every February she says she's quitting. (I'm sure the students have the same sentiment!)

But this year mother nature has given us a reprieve. Break out the board games and pour the cocoa (or the wine). Thank you, snow. I really needed you.

A few lines from Billy Collins' "Shoveling Snow with Buddha"

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.