Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Elbow

This week I suffered a contusion to my elbow. Bella and I were merrily walking on the frozen Lamprey River, following the worn tracks of snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. As I stepped on the river bank to get back up on the woodland trail, I went down suddenly and hard. Beneath the dusting of fluffy snow was a sheet of very hard ice.

Upon reflection, after I nearly passed out twice and visited Urgent Care to ensure no fractures, I think I jammed my elbow into the river bank. My wrist was fine. My forearm and elbow hurt a lot, as I used my left hand to drive the stick shift Subaru to the clinic. No one arrived at the Urgent Care desk for several I moaned a bit about my pain and the state of health care (insurance). After spending two hours in Urgent Care --less than 5 minutes with a doctor -- I left with no fractures and a splint and sling to heal the contusion to the elbow. The nurses were excellent. I still wonder if the radiologist, who I never met nor was given a name, was sitting somewhere in Asia reading the electronic images of the six x-rays of my forearm and elbow.

I was offered an injection for pain relief and given two prescriptions for pain medication. I took none of it. As I recovered from the initial shock of the blunt trauma, I realized the pain was not that bad. On a scale of 1-10, I initially told the nurse my pain was 6.5. But then I felt foolish. I could never be tortured. I would say anything within seconds...... Not that anyone should be tortured (except maybe Dick Cheney).

For 24 hours I followed instructions -- used the sling and kept the arm wrapped in the half splint. The morning after, my arm still hurt when I tried my exercises. I suddenly realized how strong my Mom is at 87, when I was forcing her to do her post-hip surgery exercises last spring. Sorry Mom -- I think I was too hard on you.

By the second day -- today, I was feeling pretty good. I had shed the sling and splint (supposed to be on for a week). I will take a few more days before resuming yoga and weight lifting. I take my trek pole on my walks in the woods and for now I am staying clear of frozen rivers with steep banks. Today we followed more gentle terrain.

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