Thursday, July 14, 2011

Randy's Version of His Injury

Below is my husband's experience with his distal bicep tendon being torn this past month. He wrote it for an online forum and apparently used both of his hands for the typing--shame on him! His right hand is suppose to be resting. Enjoy!

I tore my distal bicep tendon on Saturday June 16, 2011. At first I had no idea of what I had done. So like everyone else I got on the internet and started researching it. Mine was done at work so my first concern was that I would be dealing with workers' comp doctors. I first went to the ER here in colorado springs and was given a sling and some ice and was scheduled for a appointment with a workers' comp doctor on Monday.
So I go in for my appointment and the doc has me move my arm up and down and then he has me twist my hand, then he feels around a little and explains that I strained my elbow and he will schedule me some physical therapy. I left the appointment somewhat relieved and went home to research my strained elbow. Everything I was reading seemed like it was possible that I had just strained it, but nothing explained why my bicep looked different. (See picture from previous blog post, notice how the bicep is balled up more toward the shoulder.)
 I went in to see my HR at work, to see if I had any options for getting a second opinion and she gave me a number to call. So I called the number and found out that our company hired these people to make sure workers' comp was doing what they were supposed to be doing. They ask what my symptoms were and told me to hold on while they called the workers' comp doc.. She got back on the line and told me to go back ASAP to see the same doctor again. Dreading going back to his office I went back hoping to get an MRI scheduled. walks the same band-aid doctor saying, "So with your vast knowledge of the medical field you think you need an MRI". Needless to say the conversation went downhill from there. But I did get my MRI and it showed a complete rupture of the bicep tendon.
By the time I found this out I had already been to 2 physical therapies for a "strained elbow". So once I found out that I had a distal bicep tendon rupture I got on a forum. I read for days thinking I was screwed because of the nature of the injury and the fact that I was dealing with workers' comp. doctors. When I found out who my surgeon was going to be, I started researching everything I could find out about him. The only thing left to do was go in and meet him for myself.
Unfortunately everything was scheduled through Concentra (they take care of most worker comp injuries here in Colorado Springs). They had an appointment scheduled with Dr. Simpson at their office on a Thur. (almost 2 weeks after the accident--*note a ruptured bicep tendon must be repaired w/in 2-3 weeks or it's extremely difficult to repair AND you will probably loose 20-40% of your arm's strength).
When I get there for my appointment they tell me that Dr Simpson is in surgery at his office and won't be coming to Concentra. They ask if I would like to go to his office and speak with his PA. I said of course I would, I needed to know what was going on with this. I arrive to his office and everyone was scrambling to fit me and another guy into Dr. Simpson schedule. (I later found out that Dr. Simpson doesn't do appointments at Concentra and had no plans on going over that day because he is always in surgery on Thursdays.)
 So one of his partners came in to talk to me while Dr. Simpson was finishing up in surgery and he spent about 20 min. with me going over my MRI . He was drawing on my x-ray showing how they repair a ruptured bicep tendon. The next thing I know Dr. Simpson comes busting in the room still in his scrubs and a hair net :-\. He starts apologizing and immediately starts going over the MRI. I went over my list of questions that I got from the online forum and felt a lot better about what I was about to go through. Since the 4 of July was that weekend we ended up scheduling surgery for the following Thur., July 7th. I had read a lot of opinions on here about the procedure and the thing that I was nervous about the most was the nerve block. I ask him if he was going to do one and he said yes and that was the end of the conversation  :-\.
On the day of the surgery they gave me some happy juice thru my IV before they did the block. After about 20 min. they came in to check on me and was surprised that I was using my arm to adjust the TV. They said I shouldn't be able to do that and the block must not have taken. They told me they couldn't do it again right away and the doctor would have to do a local at the spot of the incision. So they took me into the O.R. and put a mask on my face and told me to take a couple of deep breaths. That's all I remember until I woke up in the recovery room.
As I woke up my arm was burning and throbbing   :o. They decided to try the nerve block again to help control the pain for the next 24 hrs. It worked much better the second time. My arm was swinging around in the splint and I couldn't feel a thing.  I told my wife the next day that I couldn't wait until it wore off and she said I probably didn't want it to wear off. And was she ever right. I tried to stay ahead of the pain with the pain meds. but I wasn't prepared when the nerve block eventually wore off. I almost went to the ER because it hurt so bad. I called the doctor's office and they told me to take 2 of all my pain meds. (This consisted of about 8 pills.)  After a couple of hours it was a lot better and within a couple of days I stopped taking all pain meds.
I had a post op. appointment on Mon. (4 days after surgery) and they unwrapped everything and let me move my arm just a little  :D. He said I should wear my splint at night and I should wear my sling around crowds (people tend to give you a little extra room). He told me not to lift anything with my arm. We need to let the tendon attach back to the bone. I go back, in 7 days, to get the stitches out and start the physical therapy. I have had no numbness in my fingers, in fact I've typed this whole thing with both hands without any pain. To wrap this up I feel I was very fortunate to get a very good surgeon. It's worth putting in some extra time to research your doctor. Mine has over 20 years experience in sports medicine and didn't seem at all concerned about the surgery. When you go in to meet the surgeon ask lots of questions.

1 comment:

  1. Randy, You were so wise to research your injury. My occupation was Surgery and Anesthetist Assistant in surgeries above the neck. Doctors are
    human like the rest of us and they make mistakes.
    That first doctor had a very sarcastic attitude
    which is unprofessional though. There's no excuse for that! I'm glad to here you're healing good.
    You'll be in our prayers for a speedy recovery. - Jean Klein