Friday, August 31, 2007

Elbow Reports

I went to the doctor on Tuesday, and he removed my cast and my stitches. I was fitted with a wrist brace, to help ease the strain on my recovering tendon in the event I decide to lift something, and sent home with a return appointment four weeks later.

Being cast-free was strange at first. After nearly two weeks of immobilization, I was surprised to find that I couldn't figure out how to bend my elbow. It was as if my arm was asleep or something. It was a challenge to bend my wrist, too. It was almost as if I was moving it for the first time or something.

My boss had joked that my arm in a cast would make me twice as smart, because I had only one arm to worry about, instead of two. In some ways, he was right. In these two weeks, my right-handwriting and right-handed-eating have improved dramatically. I automatically pick Vinny up one-handed. So I'm having to actively reincorporate my left side into my daily activities.

A big problem with reintegrating my left arm into my life is that it's stiff, slow, and painful. The pain is no higher in magnitude than the worst of the pain I experienced before surgery, but I've lost a lot of dexterity. On Tuesday night I was folding some laundry and my left hand was slowing me down to about a third of my pre-operation speed. It was hard to get it to go where I needed it to go. Also, I can't fully extend my elbow yet. Before the surgery it could hyperextend, and while I don't really mind if it doesn't get back to that point, I would like it to extend more than it does right now. Hopefully as I continue to use it, the tendons and muscles will stretch out and work better.

On Monday, I went to pick up my new computer and found out that the secretary for the group I'm about to join had the same surgery as me! She's the only person I've ever met who had this problem. She had the surgery about ten years ago and she said it really helped her. So this gives me hope that my elbow will recover from this!

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