Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lessons learned from a broken arm

  • A car moves faster than a pedestrian. Even if you have checked and think the road is clear, things can change in seconds. Luckily, mine was a low speed impact.
  • You can have a 'nasty' broken arm without feeling excruciating pain/ having immediate swelling. But you will be certain straight away that it is broken, as it just doesn't feel 'solid' anymore. (In these circumstances, it might be wise to rate your pain as higher than 4/10, so you don't get triaged at first as having a minor injury!!)
  • There are skilled medics here in Palmie. Thanks to ED and the Orthopaedic Clinic staff who skilfully fixed things up so my bone could heal. Thanks especially to the Dr and nurse who mainly treated me in the ED for their sense of humour that made me laugh.
  • Thanks to some very kind friends and family for help and support, so I could be independent without going loopy. My sister prepared a whole lot of meal sized portions for the freezer and microwave and that was a godsend.
  • There are all sorts of things that are hard /impossible to do with one hand eg washing dishes in the sink without them spinning around, trying to do up your jacket zip on a bitterly cold winter's day, chopping up fresh veges, taking photos, handling bits of paper, pulling on some retractable seat belts in cars.... 
  • Your good-hand fingers quickly become more dexterous than you ever thought possible. (Having to use one hand to open the screw lid on the bottle of prescribed codeine painkillers the first night at home was a good incentive to discover this.)
  • You will get tired and tearful and feel exhausted sometimes.
  • Eventually things improve so much you become quite blasé about the cast, and nearly step into the shower without covering it up. This is hopefully a sign that tomorrow at clinic, the cast will be removed!!!!


  1. Margaret - you could publish this as a patient information brochure!

    Hope things go well tomorrow!

    Happy healing and rehabing that arm -

  2. Hope the cast gets kicked to the kerb tomorrow for you!
    Love the list, ye, you should publish it for future patients ;)

  3. lol Lynne.... I don't think the medics would like to read the pain rating bit- but since it seemed I initially had high pain tolerance- maybe just through adrenalin- I think 'another time' I would rate it at 6 or 7 out of 10 so at least initially they triaged that it might be broken not just bruised!!

  4. Thanks Jayne... me too.... I hope to see the cast being dropped in the rubbish bin tomorrow morning!!!

  5. Bet ya can't wait to scratch, scrub and massage the skin on your arm!! Happy to hear your so close to "well"!! Funny, women usually do have higher pain thresholds...and get ignored 'cause of it! Be Well! Karin

  6. good luck with the cast removal- it feels funny when removed and here they use a saw!

    Sadly somehow I have breaks in the bone tat will never heal for some reason, probably from older injuries on motor bikes

  7. Karin, I have just had a lovely soak then rubbed in Shea Cream my sister gave me- feels very nice. Have limited finger movement yet, but am using the left hand gently to help type this so that is progress already! I didn't think I had a high pain threshold- but maybe I was in shock...
    Simon, they use a saw here as well, but it works magically, without cutting the skin... The Dr was very pleased with my X-rays... bone seems to have joined up well.

  8. Hey, this is a great post Kiwi! You'll soon be out on the trails having adventures again!
    Lovely magnolia in previous post. Here, we are forecast to have our first frost tonight, and it is still August, many people are still on their summer holidays!