Friday, January 04, 2008

Breaking your Wrist in Japan

Ongoing coverage

As this is still a rather unique experience for me and I happen to live in Japan, I'll be reporting my struggles in this sinister endeavor, from treatment options, to doctors, to anything related to Japan and wrist injuries.

After thoroughly searching the YouTube and discovering some rather disturbing people (ones who actually try to break their wrists), I found the closest equivalent to my accident. Watching videos of people breaking bones is so wrong... well, enjoy!



You don't notice the wrist at first. It's your fingers; they won't bend properly. They're the ones that feel broken, twisted in an awkward inward shape, almost beyond your control.

Upon further examination of the x-rays and discussion with an orthopedic surgeon in Texas, I can only conclude the doctors in the Kagoshima ER did not really care if I recovered full use of my wrist, so long as I remained alive to avoid lawsuits. Granted, every injury is different and nothing is an exact science, but the fact remains that I'm 25, I plan to keep using my wrist, and I wasn't treated as such.

Injuries such as mine (a comminuted complex fracture of the radius) often require metal plates to be attached to ensure proper length of the bone is maintained. I wasn't given one, and now the fracture is sinking, leaving two huge jagged stumps where there should be a smooth surface. I don't know what exactly that means for future range of motion and weight bearing, but it's safe to say it isn't normal; I'll probably have to have the bone re-broken and surgery performed, because I won't live with restrictions. I'd sooner die.

I'm not alone. Two years ago, Hideki Matsui of the NY Yankees broke his wrist, ending a consecutive streak of games.

Stephen Colbert launched his own campaign to raise wrist awareness following a small chip he made after a fall on July 26th:



The point being, my wrist is not lost yet. I am glad my ankle isn't shattered in the same way, as that might put a sudden end to my existence.


手首 tekubi (wrist)
整形外科 seikeigeka (orthopedics department)

Throughout the questioning on the ambulance and in the ER, I realized I didn't really have the knowledge to describe my symptoms; a disadvantage, to be sure. To newcomers, be sure to keep the city guide for foreign residents close at hand; all of them should have information on emergency medical care, including English speaking doctors.

A list of doctors with such skills is available from the US Embassy website.

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