Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 20, 2013

The Good News Is...
The Bad News Is...
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
This morning I had to be up earlier than usual since my car wasn't available when we went to get it last night.  That meant I had to take Ron to the office in his car, drop him off, and then head to the Orthopedic Surgeon's office for my check up on the fractured left elbow.  It was time to see what he thought after the 3 weeks of Physical Therapy.  He was not pleased with the range of motion.  By his measurements, the outward extension had not really improved.  The inward range was better and the rotation was better but neither was as it should be.  He wasn't pleased and of course, I haven't been pleased either.

He sent me down the hall for x-rays and when he looked at them he said (This is the part: The Good News Is...) the bone with the plate and pins was looking very good.  The piece of bone that had not been reattached in surgery was filling in nicely; (This is the part: The Bad News Is...) but the two screws in the "radial head" were a problem.  One was broken in two and the other was bent and both had worked out and are not where he put them.  He says the "radial cap" needs to be replaced with a Biomet Radial Implant.  He indicated it would be a fairly small incision and that there would be no cast after the surgery and movement and light lifting would start right away.

He sent me for another x-ray and after we discussed it for a while, I asked him if he was going to be doing anything to the plate.  He said he thought it might be good to go ahead and remove all that hardware as long as he was in there.  I am in agreement with that.  I want the plate out; it is a problem to me.  When I rest my arm on a desk, etc., it bugs me.  So, that will mean a larger incision etc., but I prefer to have it removed. 

He wants to give the bone with the plate a little more healing time before he removes it so we have scheduled surgery for Sept. 9, a Monday.  It will be at Valley Regional Hospital and will require an overnight stay.  I should come home the day after the surgery.  There will not be a cast.  I will be moving the arm the day following surgery. 

Wish this wasn't necessary, and in fact he said we could leave it alone and I would just never have full range of motion, but that doesn't fit my lifestyle.  I want it to move well and currently it does not.  You will recall at the time of the original surgery, the surgery was delayed one day to wait to have this very part on hand in case he needed to use it, but he had decided that he didn't have to use it.  The screws didn't hold and so now we go back and do it.  I am OK with that.  I am glad he tried to save the radial head and am sorry it hasn't healed right. 

At this point I have an appointment to pre-register at the hospital Sept. 6.  Surgery will be on Sept. 9 (won't know the time until I go on the 6th).  Then we scheduled a follow up visit to Dr. Olson on the 17th.  In the meantime, I am to be careful with the arm.  He said I could do some of exercises from PT, but nothing to force the arm and only minor lifting.  We would appreciate your prayers as we face this next challenge.
When I first went into the examining room there was a lady I had not met before.  I introduced myself and had guessed right, she was the surgeon's wife.  I immediately liked her.  She has a quick smile and a kind manner about her.  After Dr. Olson had finished the exam and we had looked at all the x-rays, he took me to his wife's office and she the scheduling for the surgery.  Like everyone else who looks at my file, she shook her head and asked what antibiotics I CAN take.  I told her whatever they gave me when he did the first surgery had been OK, so I suggested we go with that one.  I really did enjoy chatting with her.  I tried to make a quilter out of her, but like so many of us who have done any quilting, she said she had tried and had some "unfinished projects".  I think every quilter has some of those. 
All of that is not the best way to start a day, but I had really felt that this is where we were heading.  I did not think that the extension was going to improve and I want full use of my arm.  I have grand children to pick up, love, and play with.  I have a yard that needs my attention (Ron is not the perfectionist I am when it comes to mowing), and I want to put 20 pound turkeys in the oven without having to wake Ron before daylight to do it for me.  I want to be able to do the things I have done in the past.  I am not ready to give up the things I love, and if that means a few more months of recovery, so be it. 
Dr. Olson said that the recovery would take a couple of months before the new radial cap is set well.  That takes us to near mid-November.  I have my plans for the International Quilt Festival in Houston the end of October and early November.  Ron had offered to go with me again this year.  He did that last year and I had told him, "Never again."  Today I back-tracked and told him I might just have to take him with me to carry things for me.  That is what he did last year, but it seemed he was never where I could find him when I needed him to carry a load to the car.  A lot of what I just said, is teasing (in retaliation probably for him calling me a fat head Sunday).  He did help carry things and it may turn out that I will need to do that again this year.  We will see.  Thankfully the two classes I signed up for provide the fabric for the class.  You can bring things to add, but most of it is provided so that means I don't have to carry it all to class, just from the class.
The rest of the day seemed to be spent contacting the family to let them know what was planned.  Then I was able to chat on line with a friend who knows a little more about these things than I do, and she helped with some of my concerns.  Some people who have either worked in the field or have had similar problems have a real gift of encouragement to others going through rough times.  She has been a help so often through this year.  Her husband had been nearly deaf and had surgery 40+ years ago to correct his problem and she has had a lot of helpful hints to offer.  She is also very knowledgeable  about injuries such as mine from a job she had for many years.  I really appreciate her help.
After work Ron and I went to his mother's house to have supper.  Ron almost always eats with her on Tuesday evenings, but I don't often go with him.  I had not been there since my implant had been activated, and she was delighted to be able to carry on a conversation with me.  I also let her know about the upcoming surgery but she was supportive and felt it was the right thing to do.  Ron always picks up supper on the way over there.  She usually eats hers quickly, but ate little this evening.  Maybe she was just glad to get to chat.  She was looking good. 
Once I was home, I took a few minutes to enjoy the yard.  We had a shower this morning and the air was clean and clear.  I checked out a hibiscus plant we had bought on one of those trips to Houston.  I love the blooms on it.
The huge hibiscus plants by the ponds are in full bloom and I love the way they add such lush beauty to the yard.  I mentioned to Dr. Olson's wife that taking photos with my left arm not working fully is hard and it is one of the many reasons I want it to work right.
As for the hearing, I waited on a lot of customers today and was able to hear them all just fine including the man who said the key I made him last week didn't work.  Problem was, the key that didn't work, clearly said Wal-Mart on it.  He just couldn't believe he would have gone anywhere else for a key, because, he said, "I always come to Landreth's".  I let Ron deal with him.  I could hear, but just couldn't figure a way to convince him that we had not messed up. 
It continues to frustrate me that I can't handle phone calls.  I am fine with Ron answering incoming calls, but sometimes I need to place calls and hate to have to always ask him to do it.  I needed to order checks today and it was a shame to take his time to do that chore.  There are issues like that every day and he doesn't complain, but I know there are other things he could be doing. 
One day I made the comment to Stephen's girlfriend that 2013 had not been a great year for us - so many illnesses and physical problems.  Then she reminded me that I got my Cochlear Implant in 2013 so that I could hear.  She is so right.  Compared to that blessing, what is two more months recovery for the fractured elbow?  God is good.  We will manage with the help of God and our friends.


  1. So sad you have to have another surgery but maybe your second round will be as good as mine is. Great report today. Dr is back and he changed meds slightly; and after another check next Tuesday, I may can go a whole month!!! Hopefully, I'll be praying for you in Dripping Springs. Remember, I'll be in Houston to help. You may have to lead me, but I can carry stuff!

    1. Yes, Tiny, I hope we both have fantastic results from the second surgeries. Delighted that you got another good report and that your doctor is back.

      I know you will be in Houston and we will manage with or without Ron's help. I think he wants to go. He keeps bringing it up. One thing that will be a factor is if I am driving with no limitations. If I am not, he will have to come with me. Of course, we are still waiting to see what his visit with the orthopedic surgeon does to all those plans. His visit is Sept. 3.

    2. Such a shame that our plans are so limited by what doctors decide. I have told dr McCartney "I want my life back" to which he replied " and you would rather I not be in it so often".