Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good & Bad of a broken clavicle

Good things about breaking your clavicle:
1. Nearly impossible to get run over by a bus while immobilized at home.
2. ummm… can’t think of anything else

Bad things about breaking your clavicle
1. Lots and lots of pain. Breathing hurts. Blinking hurts. Thinking hurts. Not even moving hurts. Moving causes REDICULOUS pain.
2. Can’t lie down; must sleep in a chair for weeks and weeks
3. Miss two weeks of work at the most inopportune time. Must return to work sooner than you are able to out of fear of losing your job.
4. Finding out that you did not opt for short term disability coverage on your health insurance plan.
5. Placing the burden of every single thing in your life on your wife, without the ability to help her do even the simplest of tasks.
6. Trying to do anything with only one arm/hand.
7. Unable to shower. Giving yourself a sponge bath is ineffective because it hurts so much to even make small movements
8. Unable to interact with your children for fear they will hurt you (three boys do not understand calm, even if they try their best)
9. Unable to use deodorant. Axe men’s body spray only goes so far to make you smell better
10. Being in a sling makes your hand and fingers swell up and ache, also to go numb and tingle.
11. Being forced to watch tv for hours on end. Everything on tv is total crap. Cooking and remodeling shows are somewhat bearable.
12. Putting on socks is nearly impossible. Can’t tie your shoes.
13. Having to take liquid calcium supplements that taste bad.
14. Not being able to complete the editing of a wedding, a family portrait session, a high school senior photo session and having disappointed/frustrated clients.
15. Unable to get comfortable, not sleeping well all night because of it. Finally get to sleep, only to have the alarm go off. Sit there for a couple of minutes and realize nothing hurts, everything is comfortable, but have to ruin it by getting up to get the kids ready for school.
16. Having clients call to schedule photo sessions and not be able to accommodate them at the height of Family Holiday Photo season.
17. Unable to edit two different industrial training video projects, and create 150 DVD’s for the clients.
18. Can’t button my Levi’s.
19. After a week or so in a sling (non-stop) your skin on your arm/hand starts to itch. After scratching it (causing much pain in your broken clavicle) the skin hurts and burns. Trying to get a wet washcloth inside the sling to try to keep your skin healthy is difficult and very painful. Applying Neosporin or lotion to your now unhealthy skin is difficult and hurts.
20. Your tailbone feels like it is on fire after sitting in/sleeping in a leather recliner for days on end.
21. Venturing out to church, and being TERRIFIED of somebody greeting you warmly with a hug or a friendly slap on the back.
22. Watching your wife carry groceries into the house and being unable to help.
23. Going anywhere and being TERRIFIED that someone might bump into you.
24. Finding out roads you thought were smooth actually have TERROR inflicting bumps in them. Roads you knew were bumpy cause you immense pain beyond belief.
25. Having to spend Christmas money when things are already tight on medical bills.
26. I could think of a million more things… I give up for now.

Front Range Orthopedics

When I went to the ER following my accident, they TORTURED me in order to get x-rays. They had me move my arm in many different ways that were excruciatingly painful. For their final trick, they laid me down flat, which made my shoulder feel like it was going to explode. Then, to make matters worse, the moved the table from horizontal to a decline of about 15 or 20 degrees (head down, feet up), which nearly caused me to have a heart attack. Then they splayed my arm out to the left away from my body, and then pulled my upper arm away from my body at the shoulder. The tech had to hold my arm and manipulate it into that position, since my collar bone was broken. After the x-ray was completed, the tech just dropped my arm and walked away. I felt my collar bone rotate up and push against the skin from the weight of my arm. Lucky for me, it did not puncture through the skin. I had to reach over with my other hand, grab my left arm, and put it back into place, once again shifting my broken collar bone in very painful ways. I can’t remember ever screaming in pain like that at any other time in my life. I broke out in a cold sweat, and I was trembling in an uncontrollable manner. It took several minutes for that to pass. I told the x-ray tech that I was going to hunt him down and hurt him once I was able to…

Fast forward three weeks… I had an appointment yesterday at Front Range Orthopedics for new x-rays and general follow-up. I have been absolutely terrified all week. If I try to lie down flat, my clavicle feels like it is going to come apart. I’m still sleeping in a recliner at about 45 degrees upright. I have just over 2 weeks of healing completed (after re-breaking the clavicle a second time), but even the slightest movement of my arm/shoulder causes excruciating pain. As a result, I’ve made it a point to not move those areas at all. Just the motion of walking causes pain, which I can handle. Moving that arm though, even just a fraction of an inch, causes tremendous pain at my clavicle and in my shoulder. I also have had lots of clicking, pain, and instability in my left shoulder as well. The thought of going through x-rays again like I did at the hospital has been weighing very heavily on my mind this week. I have literally been terrified of going to this appointment. Well, I voiced my concerns prior to starting x-rays and the tech just stared at me in disbelief when I described what they did at the hospital. He said that is insane and unbelievable, and said whoever did that to me should be fired. He did the new x-rays with me standing up, without removing the sling. Totally pain free!!!! That is how they should have done it at the ER as well. The doctor said my clavicle is healing well, with some, but not excessive, overlap of the two bone pieces. He said the instability and pain in my shoulder is normal for a full clavicle fracture. The clavicle is one of several anchor points of stability for the shoulder. Even with 2 ½ weeks of re-growth, he said the clavicle is still moving and flexible, and not supportive of the shoulder. That is great news! I thought sure I was in line for shoulder surgery once my clavicle heals, but that may not be the case! I’ll find out in three or four weeks.

All in all, I am very happy with how things went. The Ortho doctor also gave me another pain med prescription. I don’t take them during the day, but they are so helpful for sleeping. Last night was the best sleep I’ve had in a week! I went to Walgreens to get the prescription filled, and I found a small miracle tucked away on the shelves while waiting! I can’t move my left arm away from my body, so I have not been able to use deodorant for three weeks. Instead, I’ve been hosing myself down with Axe men’s body spray. That is the best I’ve been able to do, but it doesn’t really work that well. Last night, I found Arid Extra Dry deodorant in a cream! I can just barely apply it without causing too much pain. There are many things I take for granted. A debilitating injury really highlights the conveniences in life that we don’t think much about.

So, overall, the prognosis is good. Now I just need to wait for the medical bills to start rolling in. So far, the costs have been $230 in co-pays, $110 in prescriptions and calcium supplements, and two weeks of lost pay at work. I took 40 hours of vacation pay which helps, but I now have no vacation pay for 2009. I’m not sure how much of the medical bills will be covered by insurance and how much will be my responsibility. Knowing my luck, my insurance probably has a clause exempting idiots that crash their bicycles into heavy steel commercial building doors. Basically, if anyone asks what I’m getting for Christmas in 2008, the answer is “a new clavicle and left ear.”

Gotta run…

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Clavicle Update

Well, it has been nearly three weeks since my original break and two weeks to the hour since the second time I broke my left clavicle. I came back to work Monday, which was 10 1/2 days since the second break. Unfortunately, I was on my feet, moving around, travelling between different project job sites, packing boxes to move from one office to another (where I have more help available to me), etc... All I can say is that it was way too early to go back to work, and completely INSANE for me to be that active. I stayed for 8.5 hours, and tears ran down my face during the drive home. I can't even begin to explain how much pain I was in. As a result, I have been working six hour days Tuesday/Wednesday, and I'm shooting for eight today.

As for my injuries, my shoulder is very unstable and painful. I'm not talking about my clavicle... I am certain that I also sustained some shoulder injuries on top of the broken bone. As for the clavicle healing, I can feel the two bone pieces shift and click (painfully) even with small movements. I have gotten used to it, although occasional SEVERE pain results in an involuntary scream. My co-workers were concerned at first, but now they just laugh at me!

I still can't lie down on my back, so I am still sleeping in the recliner/rocker in the living room. It is so uncomfortable. I can't wait until I have enough stability in my shoulder/clavicle to be able to lie down and sleep in my bed.

I take ibuprofen in the morning, but I usually get busy at work and forget to take more. Then I wind up hurting pretty badly...

I go to ortho on Monday for x-rays. I am really hoping and praying that the clavicle alignment is acceptable, and that I will not have to have surgery to re-break it and fix it with a metal plate.

Gotta run...
take care,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


if you feel the need to break a bone, be sure it is not your clavicle (collar bone). i've spoken to people who have cracked their clavicle, and that is not so bad. a complete break of the clav is devestating. anyone who knows me will know that i am no stranger to sports injuries. i have had six knee surgeries (including an ACL reconstruction from a patellar tendon graft), one ankle reconstruction, countless stitches, and also too many concussions to keep track of. this clavicle break is the worst i've had to go through. this is horrible.

one thing i have noticed in the last couple of days is that my left shoulder feels like it has gravel in it, and it has painful clicking and popping going on. i am 99% sure that i am going to be faced with shoulder surgery after this clavicle heals. that's bad ju-ju...

i went to the doctor yesterday to get the stitches taken out of my ear. i have had over 200 stitches in my life (hands, arms, knees, legs, feet) and this was the first time a doctor ever took them out. i have always ripped them out playing sports, or if they survived a whole week, i usually took them out myself. i congratulated the doctor on this fine accomplishment, and he thought i was a little strange.

gotta run... my shoulder is starting to hurt pretty badly.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

re-broke my clavicle

Well, it has been almost one week since i crashed. my collar bone had started to feel a ittle more stable, which gave me a slight sense of security, i think. i took a shower wednesday night, which was very difficult. i have since decided that is too risky. feeling clean is a luxury i won't be taking for granted anymore. on thursday, i tried to open a little bottle of welches juice. i was able to hold the bottle tightly with my left hand (same side as my broken collar bone) without feeling any pain in my shoulder/clavicle area. i tried to twist open the sealed plastic cap with my right hand. i gradually increased the twisting force, expecting the cap to spin free once the plastic seal broke free. instead, i heard a sharp crack and felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder, right where the break is. a small amount of movement confirmed my worst fear. my clavicle was completely unstable again, and i could feel the bones moving freely again, and grinding against each other. i completely re-broke the clavicle again, on a stupid bottle of juice, no less. now it is sunday, and i have three days of healing under my belt, instead of seven days. i don't think my chances of going back to work early this week are very good. bummer...

i have since decided to not try anything at all. no unneccessary movements or actions. i need to get better.

as for nemos, we had pretty decent sales last week. we have live music monday, and matt, one of our new employees, will be covering. i'll have to be there, but i am just going to sit still and listen. tracy is doing an amazing job of running the shop, and doing everything at home without any help. i feel really bad that i have put her in this situation. the kids have been troopers too. they are all willing to help, and they have made things easy on me getting them ready for school.

gotta run... it starts to hurt if i sit upright for too long without supporting my bad arm with my good arm.

take care and God bless!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

All busted up...

i would much rather just have a broken a arm where i could have a cast and go on with my life. trying to keep a completely severed clavicle immobilized is near impossible. i keep feeling the bones rub against each other. the only good thing about a broken clav is that it hurts enough to not even think about my ear that i split from top to bottom!

jonah took a couple of photos of me yesterday...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween Surprise!

We are very happy to say that October 2008 was our best month of sales in our 18 months of operation! We barely made it over the $15,000 in sales threshold by about seven dollars!

On the bad side of things, I had a bicycle wreck yesterday and broke my left clavicle (collar bone) and lacerated my left ear from top to bottom. Six stitches (with no anesthesia!), a sling, and a chest compression wrap later... and I'm ready for more action. Well, that's if you consider sitting around trying not to move 'action'.

Several minutes of sitting fully upright is making my shoulder hurt, so I'd better run.

Don't forget to vote today! I'm still in my hospital gown because I can't move my arm and I'm going to go vote...

Take care and God Bless!