My Broken Wrist Story and Bone Trivia

Here we are, Abby and me.  A friend wanted to see us in our short haircuts, this is for her. I’ve not been able to brush & trim Ab, or barely do my own personal care, so we got the “just cut it all off” cuts.

So here’s my broken wrist “story”. A broken wrist seems like a small thing in life’s dramas and traumas, but the type of fracture, my age, and other health concerns, has made this experience worrisome from the beginning. The fall that caused my wrist to break was scary. I stumbled but was unable to put my foot forward to “steady” myself, an automatic response that keeps most of us upright. I kicked over a guitar case at the same time which blocked me from doing anything to prevent my fall. I remember the split-second horror of knowing I was going to go flat down. My right arm hit the ground, bones immediately breaking into a weird angle. The rest of me smashed the guitar case. It is not uncommon for women my age with osteopenia or osteoporosis to break wrists, but this fall would’ve potentially broken most anybody’s wrist.

So I have 3 pins stuck in me (stainless steel skewers with giant white beads sticking out are a better description, I’d include a photo but not everyone would find it interesting😳). They are slowly imbedding into my “skin and bones” wrist. I’ve been told infection is “inevitable” and that it’s a “race against time” as to whether the bones heal first or infection causes the pins to be pulled before the bones heal. If infection goes into the bones it’s life threatening. That’s a cheery thought. Did I mention the positive-attitude medical folks I’ve seen? 🙄 (There have been other treatment issues)

13 years ago I broke my left wrist. They put screws and a plate in, sewed me up, pain was minimal & healing started immediately. This time there’s on going pain plus a longer time to heal because of the pins. Bodies don’t like stuff sticking in them so continue to hurt, swell and generally complain. This is frustrating and so I complain too. Being my dominant hand has made this more disabling. I could list all the things not possible to do with one hand, even with creative adaptations, or challenging to do with a non-dominant hand, but I suspect some of you have had your own experiences and don’t need to review the list. (The rest of you, tie your dominant hand to your chest for half a day and you’ll get the picture). There’s the limited wardrobe of clothes. I’m more grateful for elastic than ever before and glad I have a selection of flannel shirts. Over the head and non-button sleeves that don’t go over a wrapped up arm are out, as well as zippers.

I’m grateful for the dictation feature on my iPad. You dear reader may not be as grateful because without it I would not be able to share my story.

It took awhile to get the dental care thing down. And Mike has had to learn not to tighten ANY jar lid.  Life’s bumps and breaks always require adjustments. There are little, and big, things each day I discover I can’t do. And things I get more creative at doing.

Doctor’s orders are to keep wrist above heart day and night….helps with the swelling and pain. It’s my new skill set.

Mike is trying hard to do everything – cooking, helping me shower, household chores and the zillion little things I do he never had to think about, as well as the “light” yard work I could do PLUS all the projects, chores and heavy yard work he does. Week 2 he said he had a greater appreciate for the amount of time it takes to cook three meals a day from scratch. I just smiled. This is a man who ate in cafés a lot before getting married and knew how to cook approximately 3 things. (One of his buddies brought us meals twice, deliciously made by his wife. Mike was delighted!). Unlike the healthcare people, he has a positive attitude, which I hope holds up because we are only headed into week four of approximately eight weeks.

I’ve learned a lot about bones. The body doesn’t begin to form bone until after the second week following a fracture.  At first there’s a lot of activity around the hematomas in the bones caused by damaged blood vessels, bones being the place blood is made. This is followed by swelling and inflammation. By Week 2, if you’re relatively healthy and don’t drink or smoke, the body starts to lay down callus needed to rebuild bone. Callus is made of cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts . At first it’s soft callus, or soft bone called woven bone, then around week 3 to 4 it becomes hard callus called lamellar bone.  It takes a tremendous amount of energy to do this, people with fractured bones need a minimum of 3000 calories a day and there’s a long list of nutrients required. It’s a remarkable process of regeneration that takes up to a year to complete.

I have an even greater respect for those I’ve known who live with one hand. Living with one breast is easier and having a mastectomy less painful and easier to recover from. But that’s just my experience.

I hope not to experience either again for follow-up comparison.

(photography and creative pursuits are limited, I made one mandala to see if i had any sense of balance).


4 thoughts on “My Broken Wrist Story and Bone Trivia

  1. Your “sense of balance” manifest in the beauteous mandala is definitely intact, dear Penney:
    I am hearing a beloved meditation teacher’s wise words “and this too.”
    May your healing continue with increasing ease.
    Sending you a steady stream of loving energies.
    Feel our hugs from southern Utah,
    Jan & Cliff & 🐶

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Penney! You had to break your wrist to get such a cute haircut? You look so young! That said, I know this must be tough on all of you. I’m so sorry. I’m envisioning your bones regenerating! Keep on healing! Go, hard callus! Love, Shaun

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Penney, I think you and Abby look great. Thank you for your detailed story I know everybody’s been wondering how you doing. Continuing to pray for you everyday. And Mike too.  Love you sister, CarolynSent via the Samsung Galaxy S® 6, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    Liked by 1 person

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