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Hello everyone. Glad to find this forum and to read about everyone’s experiences. I have found it hard to find information or pages for people going through a humerus break so I thought I would post my experiences so far.
I am a 28 year old female in Scotland. I have a mid shaft humerus fracture of my left (non-dominant) arm, which happened on 16th January 2018, so six weeks ago today. I have never broken a bone before, and I had no idea at the time what I had let myself in for. I was very much of the understanding that broken bones take around 6 weeks to heal, give or take. So apparently I chose the wrong bone to break! I will include a brief overview of my journey so far. Please feel free to leave any comments, questions or insights
Day of injury: I fell from a horse while jumping, at speed, directly onto my left arm and knew instantly it was broken. I stayed calm and told my instructor and fellow riders in an almost jovial manner that I needed help as I had broken something. At this point I had no idea how bad it was. I asked them to call my husband also and explain I may be home a little late. Luckily my husband insisted on coming along to the hospital, as I had told him not to worry and that I would just see him when I got home... Ambulance was called, I was given gas & air and morphine for the pain (I didn’t feel any pain at this point but the paramedic assured me that adrenaline and shock were involved in that and that I’d be glad to have the drugs in my system shortly). I was taken to A&E, and examined. X-ray confirmed a broken left humerus midshaft, but no nerve damage suspected. The fracture was severe on the X-ray so I was informed that an operation was likely to be required. My arm was then manipulated into the correct position and put in a splint, from shoulder to elbow. I did require the morphine and gas&air at this point! A further X-ray was completed which now showed my humerus in an acceptable position and I was therefore told no surgery required for the time being. I was sent home with strong painkillers and told to return a week later.
Week 1 check up: X-ray showed that my humerus was now in a less favourable position than the week previous. They decided to try a brace for a week and see how it was looking. The brace was applied and the X-ray repeated, showing an acceptable position again. Sent home for a week. Having now done my own research, I believe the movement in my humerus over week one was due to having not been advised to stay upright at all times and to not rest my elbow. I had been sleeping on my side (on non-injured arm) and had often been resting my elbow on surfaces to give my neck a break from the weight of my arm. Once I exited the hospital I felt very down for the first time, realising how long the road ahead may be. I cried for the first time today. It really hit home.
Week 2 check up: Still happy with position of humerus. Told to begin some basic movement to try and stop elbow from seizing up too much. Asked to return the following week.
Week 3 check up: Position of humerus still acceptable. Different doctor this time. Doctor unsure whether callus was starting to show or whether just the angle of my injury on x-ray but seemed positive that all was going to plan. Asked to to return two weeks later to ensure position of humerus still acceptable. Told to start doing some shoulder movement also to prevent stiffness here.
Week 5 check up: Another new doctor. Doctor looked at my arm for first time today. Until this point no one had actually looked at it since the brace was fitted. He said from images on X-ray it was hard to tell if any healing had begun as until calcium present the X-ray won’t show it. But he felt the bone and also asked me to try and move my arm away from my body, and he seemed to think that the arm is beginning to now move as one unit, which he tells me is a good indication that healing has started. I have now been asked to return for my next check at the 8 week mark, when he hopes to have more concrete evidence of healing. He said by now the bone should be more stable in position and that the brace is more for comfort and support at this stage, therefore does not need to be too tight now.
I am keeping everything crossed that the next X-ray will show some progress. Mentally I feel like I am coping well considering, but I miss riding and running, and driving. I would also like to get back to work but the doctor has signed me off until my next appointment. I have had some dark days where I have felt like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve had days where I have felt very isolated having no freedom to drive anywhere, and as I live in a rural area my friends are not nearby to jus pop in. I am not a talker when I am struggling so my friends had not realised how difficult things were for me. However one day I was particularly upset when one of my friends called, and she then realised how difficult a time I am having. She has been very supportive since and has taken me out a few times to cheer me up/distract me.
Sleeping has been challenging. After I read that I should be keeping upright, I started sleeping propped up with pillows. The doctor has said to me that this is not necessary however I feel that it is worth a shot if it can help. I have however now I am passed the five week point began sleeping a lot less upright, almost flat on my back. I am hopeful that the bone has enough ‘sticky stuff’ to keep it in place now. This has helped me sleep as my main issue is neck pain, with the weight of my arm hanging on it constantly, so being able to lie with the weight off my neck really has helped a bit. I have been very fortunate that I have not to date experienced much pain in my actual arm. Discomfort at times, but not pain as such. I am unsure whether this is normal?
The only other thing I’d like to mention is that I cannot yet fully straighten my arm at my elbow however from reading others journeys I believe this is fairly normal and is something I will need to work hard on to fix.
Sorry for the long post - I’ve struggled to find information around this other than on this forum and a couple of other pages, so I am hoping that my experience so far may be of interest to anyone else going through this now or in the future, and of course I would be interested to hear anyone else stories or inputs!
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