The Long Road to Recovery
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:22 pm)

distal biceps tendon injury surgical scar

On 27 August 2014 I experienced a "traumatic rupture of the distal biceps tendon" only a week after completing physical therapy for tearing my Achilles tendon the year before.

As of now, I have been pronounced "healed" by my surgeon and can now return to normal activity. At least what normal activity I can manage after almost nine months of atrophy and habitual disuse. Seriously, that's a long time for a recovery. No shorter than my Achilles tendon though, and if it's any indication I'll be dealing with this for a long time to come. After almost two years my left leg is much better but certainly not 100%.

In any case, it's nice to have the OK to stop babying my arm.

After two straight years of (very expensive) injuries, my goal for 2015 is to not have surgery. And I will be very happy if I can attain it. My one recommendation to you (very) few loyal readers is this: do not tear your tendons.

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Follow-up with the Surgeon
Posted in General
Afternoon watch, 5 bells (2:55 pm)

I saw my surgeon again today for my almost-seven-week follow-up. There was good news and bad news. The good being that I'm healing well, and that my arm has full extension and contraction. The bad news is that I have to wear the brace for another month. It was tough hearing that today as I was hoping to be out of this brace. Knowing I have another month of attempting to sleep with this monstrosity (on the couch, since that's the only place that supports my arm) is a bit depressing. I shouldn't be surprised, since that's about how long I spent in the boot for my achilles tendon.

I can, however, take my arm out from time to time if I'm not doing anything that could potentially call for it to be used. Sitting on the couch, for instance, or typing at the computer. So at least I have that going for me. I'm still only supposed to move it passively, and never actively. This is when re-injury is most likely to happen.

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Arm Extensions, Wrist Pains
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:29 pm)

I had PT again this morning. After seeing the doctor yesterday and starting my new (passive) arm exercises, I'm already getting my arm nearly fully extended, it's only about 10 degrees short. Unfortunately most of the pain I've had has been in my wrist, and as we were working on that I had a nasty twinge after a rotation of my wrist. At this rate I'll have full extension of my arm well before I can rotate my own wrist.

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The Bad News
Forenoon watch, 2 bells (9:26 am)

Well, despite feeling a little better every day, the surgeon told me this morning that I'll be in this brace for another four weeks. I'm allowed out three times per day now to do some passive exercises with my arm and wrist, and during physical therapy. That will be the status quo for the next two weeks.

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PT Progress
Afternoon watch, 1 bell (12:30 pm)

I had my second physical therapy session this morning. In fact, this week will be pretty busy with visits to various doctors and therapists. Tomorrow I see my surgeon for another followup, and Wednesday is PT again. My left arm can't get to full extension yet—that will be several more weeks—but I have more range of motion today than I did last week. I was hoping the doctor would let me out of the brace tomorrow but realistically I know it's still too early. He'll probably remove the tape that's holding my scar closed, I'm sure it has healed enough by now. I still have to keep ice on it as much as possible.

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Starting Physical Therapy. Again.
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:05 pm)

I've been off pain meds for several days now, which is nice to have happen so quickly. It took a very long time with my previous surgery, about two months. Tomorrow morning I have my first physical therapy session for my arm. It's with a different therapist than my achilles tendon therapy was. So now I can owe two therapists money at the same time!

I'm hoping I can get back to playing the mandolin again soon, but I doubt it'll be sooner than a couple of weeks. I have a return appointment with my doctor next Tuesday. Perhaps I'll get permission to start removing this darn brace. It's very hard for me to sleep with a brace and sling on.

Last week when I had my first follow-up with the doctor, he said I came out of anesthesia "like an angry bear." That was his official diagnosis.

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Of Dreams and Pain
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:27 am)

Last night I slept better than I have since my operation. That means I had dreams. And in those dreams I moved my arms and flexed my muscles. Which translated back into real life. My arm is extremely sore right now. I hope I didn't tear a stitch out or something.

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