Humerus Fracture/ what decision to make pls help

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Hello everyone,

  I am new to this forum but am at a loss on what i should do. I am 30 years old and finally realized im not the invincible kid i used to think i was when I fell off a ladder which will be two weeks ago tomorrow and fractured the humerus supposedly a clean break right under the head. ER specialist’s told me it was a fractured humerus from X-rays and put the cuff and collar sling on me and said come back in a week. CT and MRI scans were not conducted. I went in after 11 days because the Trauma clinic in seattle is packed. They then took new x-rays and came to the conclusion that the humerus is to displaced and i should get hardware/ one plate and a couple screws.

   I have a high pain tolerance as i got myself through carrying myself to a vehicle when i broke the bone and used only tylenol for pain. But to be honest i am terrified of surgery and the pain that concludes post op recovery that its enough to make me not want to go through with surgery and just deal with not having the full range of motion in my life. 

  I am just wondering if anyone can tell me if i should get a second opinion before jumping under the knife this upcoming friday as they said by that time its going to be cutting it close before callus formation takes place and the bone will have to have more work done in the process.

My main concerns are i cant take any narcotics as i am a recovering addict and will not take any chances to go back into that bad part of my life again but i cant really find any info on whether the post op pain is much worse than the pain of the broken bone pain and so on. 

I would really like not to have surgery for this yet the the team of specialist told me its in my best interest to do so. I am very depressed right now because i already know its a long road to recovery either way. Ive read others stories on here but not many relate to my exact issue. Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated at the moment. I have very little pain now and stopped taking tylenol a few days ago. Thank you much everyone and God bless. 

P.S. please excuse the grammer and proper sentences. Im typing with one hand on a phone 

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  • Posted

    I read where some people get a nerve block injection before their operation, That will help with the pain after  they operate...... They asked me if i wanted it but i had no idea what that even was.......so i told them no.... but after a couple of days the pain wasn't that bad,,,,,,,,,,,,now i have radial nerve damage,so i can't use my hand no one told me this was common with this operation..... All i can do now is wait & pray that  the nerve gets better on it's own

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  • Posted

    I had the nerve block before surgery and it was great - not so much when it wore off.  But for me the pain after surgery wasn't nearly as bad as the break itself.  That was seriously a new definition of pain for me and I've given birth twice naturally!  Mine was different than yours though (radius snapped and ulna fractured in two places) and I know every break is different as are peoples pain tolerances.  I did take an opiod but was afraid of addiction so I stopped after 24 hours.  It didn't really seem to help as I was still in a great deal of pain while on it anyway, but still not as bad as the original break.  Once I stopped I just used Tylenol and it seemed to be just as effective.  I'm sure you can go through this without any use of narcotic, especially if you have a high pain tolerance. I would definitely talk to your doctor about your very valid concerns.  You can get through this without narcotics.  I am looking to have further surgery to remove the plate and will not take any narcotics for that.  I think you will be fine, I would not let this stop you from getting it fixed properly.  You are way too young to go through life with a limited functioning arm.  Good luck and keep us posted.

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  • Posted

    Thank you both for your replies. I feel a little better now that i am not alone on this. I guess i will go ahead and get it done and just deal with the future aspects if things. I am still scared being a first surgery but many have gone before me and many will after and i am truly blessed to not have broken my neck or back during this fall. RND does not sound fun and did not hear about this by my surgeon. 
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    • Posted

      Good luck to you.  You are certainly not alone. Follow post op directions closely.  Watch for swelling and don't be afraid to call if you think things aren't right.  In spite of doing everything I was told my swelling was so bad the cast started cutting off circulation to my hand.  After the surgery get started on therapy as soon as possible.  I was in 4 days post op and I know that is very unusual but my surgeon is very proactive.  Follow the exercise regime exactly.  I thought more would be better and it actually made it worse. Your use will be very limited for a while but don't let that impact your shoulder.  Keep rotating it and put it through as much range of motion as you can.   You'll do well, just expect that you may not get back to full activity as quickly as you want to.  First surgeries are always scary.  And you are right to think that it could be worse, because it always could have been.  Keep us posted.  Good luck.

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  • Posted

    Unfortunately i agree i have a long road to recovery. Once the surgery is done with i guess they said i will just have a pocket sling and surgeon said no restrictions on rom for therapy. Just dont put any weight load on and hit therapy hard. Took me 7-8 days from the break just to start moving things a little bit but hopefully the pain wont be to bad after 4-5 to start working on things a bit. Can anyone tell me when it is safe to shower after the surgery and how to keep sterile as possible for the 3 days post op they say to be careful? Thank you guys so much. Because of your replies i have a much better head on my shoulders going into this
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    • Posted

      If you can keep the incision dry then you can shower immediately.  It must be kept dry until the stitches come out - 10-14 days usually.   My incision was on the lower arm so it was easy to double wrap in plastic bags and keep elevated above the water.  Might not be so easy for you.  Sponge baths can be fun if you have a significant other to help; not so much if you don't.  It's very important that the incision be kept dry, that will keep it sterile as long as the original bandage stays on.  I didn't have to change the dressing, so I never had to worry about it.  Start moving your fingers - flexing and trying to make a fist as soon as you can; any joint you are allowed to move - do it.  Ice and heat exactly as you are instructed.  Line up some hobbies/activities that you can do sitting down and one-armed.  I had to keep my arm elevated and my body semi reclined for several days to help with the swelling.  Line up some soft pillows and an area where you can do this.  Have things within reach. TV gets real old fast.  It's a good time to catch up on some reading - tho a little hard to hold a book.  Maybe plan on some movies or binge watching.   I'm not a gamer and don't know how that would work with one arm.  You've got a couple days to get some things planned so you don't go stir crazy. If you don't live with anyone that can help with meal prep make some plans.  Dressing may be a little tricky too, so think about this ahead of time - you might need to get some tops that are easy on/off without going over your head.  I lived in sweat pants just because they were so easy to get up and down with one arm.  Zippers were difficult but easier than buttons so I had some zip up hoodies.  Tshirts were out of the question.  Mentally walk through all your daily activities - in great detail - things like brushing your teeth, dressing, hygiene, meals and visualize doing it all one armed.  That will help you plan ahead.  It's little things: for instance if I'd had a flip top toothpaste tube life would have been easier.  You may not be able to tie shoes.  It's those kinds of things that you take for granted that you suddenly realize it's now a problem.  It's really just the first week that's hard and things do start to get better after the first 48 hours.  You'll do fine, but seriously take the next couple of days to really plan ahead and prepare.  Good luck. 

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    It has been two weeks since you posted. Did you have surgery?  How are you doing? 

    I had a complete mid-shaft break of my humerus last July.  I did not have surgery, but was in a compression brace & sling.  It was a long road to recovery.  I was happy when I was able t get rid of the sling because my elbow was beginning to freeze into place.  

    Hope you are healing well.

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  • Posted

    Well to everyone who has read my thread thank you for your replies. I just wanted to get back and let everyone know my experience in case someone had the same questions as i did. 

     I had surgery on that friday, was put under no problem and used absolutely no narcotics throughout the entire procedure. It was not as bad pain-wise as i thought it would be and they now can safely put you under while on suboxone without complications which was nice. To i believe it was thereasa who commented about the pain not being as bad as the break pain but a different type of cut feeling pain. You described that perfectly. Its more of i had the crap kicked out of me with soreness and just zero energy and a gross feeling of being cut open rather than agonizing pain.

    I ended up in surgery for 5.5 hours due to complications fitting a few of the screws and getting them to hold. So I went from being told i only needed 3 screws and a plate to 8 screws and a plate which from looking at other x-ray pictures online, i doubted my break was going to be that simple. 

    I guess my break was much worse than the x-rays had shown anyways. I will be 6 weeks post op next week and i have been going to physical therapy twice a week as well as trying to do the exercises as much as i can. The only downside to this is i still do not have full range of motion and it is pretty darn painful doing the exercises. I would say the exercises are worse than the surgery pain. If anyone would like to share their experience of recovery, by all means, please let us know because i will say i am at some crazy frustration point not being able to get back to work and the things i love and i have already gained 20 lbs sitting and not getting any exercise.

    Maybe this is normal but now that i brought up this topic. Can anyone tell me if they were still experiencing weakness and pain after 6 weeks and not having the full ROM back or should i be a bit concerned. From what i have put together this is going to be a long and irritating recovery which i think i have finally accepted now but would like to kind of be told by another person that this is normal. Thanks guys for listening i just figured id share my experience/es to either help others who are going to have to go through this. I have made a lot of progress thus far but still very weak being able to hold my arm up normally for more than 5-10 seconds or so. Thank guys im spent on words. 

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