Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I woke up at 4:30 this morning (the longest I'd slept in nearly a week) with the inside of my upper right arm itching furiously beneath the layers of fuzzy wadding and knit wrapping.

I scratched and scratched--carefully, as I didn't want to hit the incision--but there was no relief. So I toddled off in search of gauze pads, etc., then ensconced myself in the bathroom to perform triage.

Xray of my right humerus with plate & screws last year (above) and today (right).

After unwrapping miles of knit cotton and masses of batting, and removing the fiberglas(?) splint, I patted the itchy area with gauze squares soaked in witch hazel. When it was dry, I taped large gauze pads over the incisions on my upper arm and hand. Then I lined the splint with more gauze pads, cradled my arm into it and rewrapped the miles of knit cotton from armpit to knuckles. All using my non-dominant left hand. Then I went back to bed and slept for nearly four itch-free hours.

When I got up, I made an appointment to have the arm rebandaged this afternoon--a week earlier than I was supposed to have seen the surgeon again. Hooray! He ditched the splint, as well as the miles of wrapping, so now I am just bandaged from armpit to elbow and wrist to knuckles.

Per the Xray above right, the humerus is perforated with at least one hole for each of the 11 screws pictured here. Which means that until the holes fill in, the bone could easily rebreak--necessitating another steel plate. Ugh.

At the end of our visit, the surgeon ordered, "No lifting. And don't fall down." Not me! I'm not even picking up a full cup of coffee. And I'm watching every step.

But at least now I can bend and straighten my right arm. And best of all, I can easily type with two hands again.


Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Congratulations on your progress, and I hope all continues to go well with you. Your x-rays are really scary.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Wow! I have never seen such a hole-y bone! I hope the holes fill in fast and that you heal very quickly.

Tish Cohen said...

I can't believe you're able to type with both hands. You didn't expect that did you?

Yay, Bella!

Bella Stander said...

Thanks, all! No, I didn't expect to be able to type with both hands. I further reduced the bandaging this morning: the bulky wrapping on my hand was hot, cumbersome and hard to keep dry; wrapping on arm was also hot (and itchy again), and for all its layers didn't cover the top of the incision.

Now Max (once again asleep across my lap w/ paws on the touch pad)is my main impediment to typing. Though he makes a swell arm rest.

Eileen said...

Your bones are all- like- polka dotted.

No kung fu moves for you I think.

Mr. Obie Joe said...

The human body truly amazes me sometimes. Those are some serious holes. Do they make you "hole-y than thou" for sure?

Sorry, couldn't resist. Best of wishes for a strong recovery!

Polly Kahl said...

Wow, I've got a couple of hip replacements and have had several broken bones but this is amazing! It's great to see you're able to type and coming along so well in other ways, and also that you know to be careful for a while. The more you heal now the more you'll be able to play later. I had my last hip done 4/7 and the doc said I'll be healed enough to water ski next summer. You'll be galloping again in no time. Good luck and continued healing.