The broken wrist diaries: surgery

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So we’re into my second week of having just one hand and I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not only can i now make a cup of coffee and breakfast one handed i can now also shower some, wash AND dry my hair and apply make up. I’ve even left the house for a walk on my own – it’s amazing how you adapt so quickly. So this blog post is just an update for anyone that cares (i know id definitely be the nosy type to read one of these blogs online if i came across it). I guess it’s also a blog for anyone who might have gone arse over tit like me and ended up in in a similar situation.

So to recap, it starts like any bad story: in the gym. I’m toe tapping away on a high box in a circuits class, i catch my foot, fly backwards and take my entire weight on my left wrist which now resembles some sort of weird squiggle. It didn’t take a genius, this wrist was broken.

So im rushed to the royal (by my sister), given an x-Ray and the nurse explains I’m suffering from a ‘nasty fracture’ which is professional speak for you’ve fucked it up good and proper. They put me on gas and air and pull it DEAD hard so it’s straight again and then wrap me in plaster cast and send me home a bit dazed and emotional. This was Friday 14th February – happy valentine’s to me.

I had an appointment at trauma and orthopaedics in the royal for Thursday 20th Feb where they changed my cast and x-rayed me. They saw that my wrist had returned to being bent (the swelling had reduced and my plaster cast had become a bit loose) and was now pointing 20 degrees in the wrong direction. The doctor explained that I’d smashed my wrist into a ‘few pieces’ and likened what was once the smooth surface of my joint to a ‘cobbled street’. He said it’s one of the worst breaks he’s ever seen in someone my age (usually occurs in elderly people) and that to have shattered my bone so badly i must have hit it really, really hard (i fell from a height so kind of makes sense) which is all v reassuring but hey, what’s done is done, right?! He explained that they wanted to operate quickly before the bones healed in the wrong position and before i knew it i was booked in for my op on the Friday.

So Friday arrives and although it’s only minor surgery, I’m not gonna lie i was shitting my pants. I was told to arrive at the hospital at 7.30am but want taken down for surgery until 1.30pm which meant a surreal wait in a room with Eamon and Ruth on the telly and other people with various broken bones just kinda awaiting their fate. Eventually, it was time to go down. In had a quick catch up with the surgeon who proceeded to look at my x-ray and tell me that I’d ‘done a good job of this’ (i mean, in for a penny and all that i guess) before explaining that they were going to insert a plate and screws to connect the bone back together. The anaesthetist informed me that they would put a nerve blocker in my armpit so my arm would be numb when i woke up. She told me  not to panic that it was gone completely (lol, something i would definitely do). And with that i put my belongings into a blue bin bag, put on my sexy hospital gown, slipper socks and this weird kind of fabric shower cap (a LOOK) and headed into theatre.

If you’ve ever had an op before you’ll know that theatre is scary. There’s machines beeping EVERYWHERE and you’re told to lie on the table in the middle and relax. The lovely nurses talk to you about holidays you have booked and where you work and what does my partner do whilst simultaneously taking my blood pressure and jabbing an anaesthetic needle in my hand. It’s ALOT. However, as it goes, the anaesthetist couldn’t find my veins because they were ‘too small’ (idk what that means) so after several attempts at jabbing my hand with a needle they decided to send me to sleep with the gas and air mask. I was sceptical that this would actually knock me out but after a few deep breaths through the mask, i was gone.

I woke up to the nurse saying my name and because of the gas i felt chilled AF. I couldn’t feel my arm and the only pain was the super annoying drip in my other hand (i hate these things). I looked at the clock, it was 4.20pm. Id been out for just under 3 hours. After about another hour a bed became available on the ward so i was taken down to recover. I had a cuppa and some toast (i hadnt been allowed to eat before the op so i was READY).

 My blood pressure was too low for them to let me go home so i stayed another hour, praying to the blood pressure gods that it would go up – i did NOT want to spend the night. I explained to the nurse that the catheter in my hand was really knocking me ill (im super squeamish) and perhaps that was lowering my blood pressure. She agreed to remove it, i drank loads of water and lo and behold, my blood pressure was normal again. My mum arrived and sister arrived, i had a wee (you have to have one before you’re discharged) and i was ready to go armed with codeine and various forms and information sheets. Our first stop was maccies for 5 chicken selects and mozzarella dippers and the second was my bed. What a bloody day.

After the surgery, my arm wasn’t placed back in a plaster cast, just a tight bandage to encourage movement. I was allowed to keep my sling but ive been told to limit its usage because it can cause stiffness of the shoulder and elbow. And I’m slowly getting more confident without it. Not to put anyone off, but i woke up in the night after my surgery and i was in the worst pain id felt since I fell over. Weirdly, it kind of felt like some had cut open my arm and fitted some metal into it and sewed me back up. But not to worry, there’s what a codeine and paracetamol concoction is for and this passes. I’m now on day 4 post-surgery and the pain is so much more manageable. I can move my fingers up and down and even flex my wrist slightly. Before the op i had little to no function and feeling in my fingers and zero forearm mobility so the slightest movement is such a relief. As my granny would say: it’s amazing what they can do these days!

I’ve been told to expect a slow but steady recovery so despite my restless nature I’m taking things slow. I’m trying to get at least some steps and fresh air in per day and I’ve arranged to work from home as of next week. In the next couple of weeks I’m having physio at the hospital as well as having my scar assessed/stitches removed/dressings changed. It’s honestly amazing what can happen in a split second and whilst my life might be on hold slightly for the moment, i know in the grand scheme of things this is nothing. If anyone is in a similar situation just be patient, give your body a minute to heal and you will be just fine!

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