Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Just to keep things interesting I'll continue to post pictures during my recovery. This gorgeous creature is Maximo (Max), a thoroughbred showhorse of some undisclosed discipline who recently retired at my barn. He's enormous, probably 17.4 hh, but a real sweetheart who always comes over to greet anyone who ventures near his stall. I regret I'll probably never see anyone ride him, he looks like he'd be a great mover.

Last week I was finally feeling pretty good physically, as long as I kept the sling tight the pain was under control. I even drove myself to a much-needed hair appointment then had lunch with a girlfriend on Wednesday. Friday at my 3 week follow-up appointment with my orthopedist they took new x-rays and he said he could see some bone healing and the humeral head was still aligned correctly with the connecting bone, so he told me to loosen the sling, stop wearing the waist belt and spend 15 minutes a few times a day out of the sling. During that time I'm supposed to start trying to straighten the arm and eventually drop it down and swing it freely. He took the sling off briefly during the exam and had me straighten my arm as far as I could, then pushed on it further until I asked him to stop because it was too painful. He assured me the pain was from all the muscles that hadn't been used in a month and that I couldn't do any damage to the bone.

Later that night I took the sling off and started working on my arm, determined to begin the physical therapy process in earnest. Things were going well until I tried to move my freely swinging arm and was overwhelmed by pain. It was then I realized I'd had my arm out of the sling for almost an hour! I didn't think much of it and went to bed later using my custom setup of various pillows to create the right angle.

I was awoken at about 4:30 am by a pain in my ribcage so intense I didn't know if I needed to throw up or pass out, all I could do was writhe in agony, crying hurt too much as every time I breathed in I was stabbed under my left breast.

Loosening the sling, overdoing it with the movement and having my heavy arm crushed against my ribs for three weeks had apparently caused some imflammation, or perhaps I had pulled a muscle, I don't know. I have so much respect for anyone who has been through a rib injury, I don't think actually breaking my shoulder hurt that much.

My husband and Darv0cet somehow pulled me down off the ceiling but I have been suffering for the past 4 days. It was so discouraging to go from feeling almost normal with a sling to not being able to move without pain again. I still can't breathe in sharply or deeply and I am terrified of sneezing, but I would guess I'm about 75% back to normal as far as the ribs go. However, now that I am moving the arm a bit (in careful, slow, no-more-than-15-minute-timed-intervals), other muscles are starting to complain, mostly along my shoulder blade, and there are hard little knots between my neck and collarbone. I am trying to tell myself that means I am healing but part of me is saying, "Screw that, I just want to not be in pain anymore." Having to go back on the Darv0cet after nearly weaning myself off of it feels like a failure.

As an aside, my mother suffered one ailment/condition/affliction after another (real and imagined) throughout my entire childhood, this is a huge part of why I am so hard on myself when I am ill or injured, I see it as false, a way to get attention and to play the martyr. One thing I never understood was her practice of using similes and metaphors to describe her pain --for example, a headache would feel like someone shoving an ice pick into her forehead -- as if anyone, let alone a child, could possibly have any reference point to what she was saying.

Meanwhile, Friday is my last day of official employment. My benefits run through the end of April, my disability claim has been approved through May 10 and I will be getting some severance, but I am still very worried. Money is so tight at companies, competition is so fierce and the fact that I've spent the last 3 years as a consultant has already cost me an interview. I'm trying really hard to keep the negative voices under control but sometimes they get the best of me and I become overwhelmed with self-pity, worry and anger. Normal, right?


  1. Sorry about the pain. It is unavoidable though so at least you know that this isn't any worse than normally. I don't know if that helps. If you think of it as it can be worse then maybe? Congratulations on being able to move your arm. The rest will follow. As for jobs, I am in the same boat having been a consultant for 2 years so I understand but you know, it will get better. I am positive. Hang in there.

  2. I actually think it is normal with all you have been through to have self-doubt.

    It will get better.

    As far as poor Miss. She will probably be pain free within a week and a half. It is hard to see them suffer. One of ours just went through it. One day she was limping the next at a full out gallop. Hard to figure them out.

    Hang in there.

  3. Oh man - sorry you are still in the thick of "rehab"... [yes, rib injuries are VERY painful ;-)]
    Push yourself w/the PT & then reward yourself w/hot bath & painkillers!