I'm having surgery

On Tuesday 17th of Feb I am having a semi-major operation on my left wrist to repair the joint I injured last September. It’s a reconstruction of the distal radial ulna joint and I’m also getting my ulna bone shortened. This is described in more detail later.

After a two hour operation and a night in hospital I’ll hopefully be discharged Wednesday morning and begin six weeks of being in full arm cast, plaster from palm to bicep. Another 32 weeks after that and BAM!, I’m back on the basketball court and into the weights again, albeit with a slightly less flexible wrist.
I’m feeling very optimistic about the operation despite the imminent pain and short term handicap. It’s already over five months since the initial injury and this is the first time I’ve actually felt like a treatment was going to make a difference.
I haven’t spoken about this with many people - not really sure why that is. I’m not looking for sympathy or help or anything! Just maybe keep quiet on the offers to fill in for your basketball and mixed netball teams for the next little while... Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

For those wondering about the procedure, there are two main processes. The first is the shortening of the ulna which is the bone that runs from your elbow to the wrist just below your pinkie finger. Mine is peculiarly longer than average, which was a protagonist for this kind of injury. The surgeon will open up my arm somewhere in the middle, get through to the bone and then with two sweeps of a saw, remove a slice of my ulna probably only 3-5mm long. Then he’ll pull the bone together to close the gap and close it up to let the bone heal. I’ve been drinking lots of milk in readiness.
The second process is the DRUJ reconstruction which basically involves drilling a tiny hole through the top of the ulna and threading one of the other tendons in my wrist through it and back again in a knot. This will replace the old, damaged tendon in my joint that won’t heal and tighten the wrist back together again.
There are a few risks, standard and non-standard. Specific ones are that the bone could crumble through when they drill the hole, and the sliced through ulna may need a bone graft to heal properly. Then there’s the general nerve-damage, scarring and hospital infection. I’ve seen enough episodes of House to hopefully navigate past all these threats and I’ll be doing everything I can to ensure the best recovery.

Finally, you may be asking how I gained this particular injury. That’s the question I’ve been asked a lot lately. While I don’t know the exact incident – with pain only presenting when I woke up one morning – the conclusion is essentially “I fell down”. So while I will still helpfully point out all the things you can do to help prevent back injuries and encouraging stretching, I won’t be preaching anything about wrist defence... except maybe a precautionary ulna shortening if you’re feeling surgical.
Also, Vanessa is awesome and I love her a freakload!

P.S. This is certainly my best excuse for lack of updates recently.

Comments

Ben Aww, you had a fall. Must be getting old.
February 16 2009 - Like
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