I’m currently 5 weeks post op and things are going well as I kickstart the whole recovery process once again. Though, this time around, the recovery is much faster and actually happening since the bone has been reunited. I’m currently doing isometric exercises and working on increasing my range. Standard bone healing time is 6-8 weeks so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store. This is how the first 4 weeks went:
I felt pretty good after the surgery and was just really thankful to have survived it. The best part about the ride home was that I no longer felt my bones shifting around with every bump in the road like they did when it was initially broken. Definitely a good sign. However, getting surgery also meant that I had to start all over again to regain my range of motion. Bummer! My main restrictions were to stay in a sling for 4 weeks and to keep the arm immobilized for the first 10 days, meaning no movements at all. No weight training for the next 4-6 weeks 🙁 The incision site was covered with steri strips to prevent the scar from widening and a big gauze bandage over top that needed to be kept dry, which meant no showers for the first few days.
Sleeping on my back made waking up a bit of a pain, mainly due to the sharp pain and constant numbness in my shoulder. My neck and upper back felt really stiff and I tried to avoid any form of yawning, coughing, or laughing, as it would aggravate the ‘spot.’ No more comedies or late nights! However the pain did fade during the day since I was popping painkillers like candy 🙂 The only real side effect I had was drowsiness. I worked from home. By the end of the week, I got very proficient at typing and designing with one hand.
I was off the painkillers, doing pendular movements, and went in for a follow up session with my orthopedic surgeon. I finally got to see my xrays and had my sutures taken out. I thought it’d hurt but as it turned out I didn’t feel a thing. The whole procedure took less than 30 seconds. The xray was pretty crazy though – I have a 9cm plate and 9 screws in my left clavicle…or as I like to call it: a 9cm – low profile – pre contoured – titanium – smith&nephew – clavicular plate + 9 screws 😉
Xmas shopping with the new ‘hardware’ was an interesting experience. I think I may have set off a few detectors at the mall. At one store, the security guy checked all my bags then when I walked through, the detector went off…so I’m pretty sure it was the plate and screws that set it off.
I began cycling on the stationary trainer this week.
I was able to move my arm about 70 to 80 degrees. Pretty good considering it took me 4 weeks just to move it 45degrees after the initial break. I began physio again at Striation Six with athletic therapist Ian Murray. I lost some muscle definition in my left arm (nooooo!!!) and was leaning to the left. I was told that having a fractured clavicle for the past 4 months had altered the biomechanics of my muscles. Nothing that can’t be corrected though. He worked on stabilizing the muscles, helped correct my body alignment and released tension in my back and neck through MAT (Muscle Activation Techniques). Amazing stuff! The pain that I had when I yawned was totally gone and I felt less tense.
I threw a Clavicle Clash to ring in the new year and celebrate my newly repaired clavicle with all my friends and family. (see post below)
I went for a follow up appointment with my ortho. The scar and bone were both healing up nicely. The scar is actually not so visible unless you look up close…just a thin red line which follows the contour of the clavicle. I was up to 90 degrees in movement and told to slowly increase my range and to do isometric exercises, no weights yet as that may hinder the healing process. I also began driving again, which felt really good! Clear the roads and sidewalks, Stell’s back behind the wheel!