Doctor’s appointment today. It took a while in the waiting room – almost an hour (unusual for this doctor) but when she came in she was almost bouncing, waving my file in the air and saying “X-rays look great”.
It was good to her say it like that because I was pretty much freaking out the entire hour sitting in that little room. I was worried that I was not healing right or something was not connected right or the tip of my elbow was broken off or something since it had been hurting.
“Let me show you the X-rays,” she said.
It was a good sign that she was excited. She sat down at the computer terminal and brought up my images and said, “Every time I look at your images, I take a deep breath. It would not have surprised me to see that the hardware didn’t hold. But it did.”
She pointed to places on the X-ray where the fracture line used to be on my distal humerus. “It’s no longer visible. It’s healed”. She brought up last month’s X-ray to compare it to and frankly, I couldn’t tell, but the line was apparently partially obscured by the new metal hardware I will forever carry around.
“We still need caution,” she continued. “The arm is still weak, but the metal has held the arm together and allowed it to heal. Now we can move to phase two.”
Note that my arm had been in a splint for more than 7 weeks by now (with the first break last June it had only been in the splint for two weeks). It’s been immobile except for the occasional shower and even then, I was extremely careful not to move the arm.
I’m relieved that it has healed but no less paranoid about reinjury. The arm is not strong, and it hurts when I move it in some ways. I can feel the metal or scar tissue preventing movement. My state of mind has only mildly improved.
The doctor wants me out of the splint permanently – not even at night. I am supposed to start gently moving the arm. She does not want to send me to physical therapy. She wants me to move the arm naturally without doing any heavy pushing or pulling on it.
The doctor seems to be as paranoid about my arm as I am. She’s being abundantly cautious (no professional physical therapy after it’s been immobilized for two months?). We both know that the next step if it was to fall apart would be either fusion (you can guess what that is) or TEA, total elbow arthroplasty.