Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Week by Week

December 18th
Bittersweet morning as I sustain an unstable comminuted fracture of the right distal radius after my mountain bike had decided it should travel solo. Great deal of pain, yelling, and confusion. Little knowledge in the area of broken bones.

Taken to Imakiire Hospital (今給黎総合病院) in Kagoshima where my wrist was set under closed reduction by an orthopedic surgeon. I was unconscious for just over an hour. Typically with broken wrists, the patient's lifestyle is taken into account when considering treatment. I couldn't exactly be eloquent in my explanation, but I wish they had asked me what I wanted to do. Awaken with my arm in a cast under the elbow.

Overnight observation in the hospital, followed by a personal day. Returned to work.


December 31st
Followup with a doctor in Austin, Texas. My concerns were:

- How long will I be in the cast
- Was the bone set properly, did it shift...?
- What does this mean for future vigorous activities
- Will I recover my range of motion

Doctor confirmed that the fracture was set well, but he personally would have installed a metal plate to reduce the likelihood of potential errors. Informed I would probably recover well if there were no problems; cast would be changed/shortened in a few weeks, removed about a month after that.


Interim
Research into these types of fractures and the various treatments. YouTube reveals a plethora of crazy stunts involving bicycles and skateboards. Colbert, on the other "hand", offers a different take:



Ruminate about the differences in treatment offered by the US and Japan. Nothing conclusive, as many Japanese doctors study in America. One theory posed to me as to why the doctors in Kagoshima might have opted for a less invasive procedure could have been tied into the Buddhist beliefs about keeping the body pure and whole, thus avoiding dirty methods like external fixators, k-pins, and plates (this ties into why many Japanese oppose organ donation).


January 8th
Return to a local orthpedic clinic (クリニック) for a followup x-ray (rentogen, レントゲン) and consultation. My concerns:

- Are the jagged areas healing/will they heal normally to ensure full range of motion
- When should I come in to have a short cast set

I meet people who understand my pain, and catch sight of a kid with an external fixator attached. The x-ray reveals that the fracture is partially healed, and hasn't shifted. I'm taken to an adjacent room where the cast is cut, and I can see my hand for a brief moment before a shorter cast is constructed. My elbow can bend, and it is really sore. With all these one-armed pushups I'm doing, my body is going to look like some "half buff, half weakling" freak show for a while. I decide to look into acupuncture following full removal to help promote muscle growth.

Will return next week for another x-ray. Surgery isn't ruled out yet.

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