What to Expect From a Broken Clavicle

In desperately googling every nook and cranny of the internet about broken clavicle surgery and recovery from it, I managed to run across a gem of a blog post series about broken collarbones, treatment, surgery and recovery. One post was so funny and so accurately depicts my life right now that I couldn't not share it. Courtesy of Laura and sent in to Hans Kellner Dot Com, I give you...

What to Expect From a Broken Clavicle

full post linked here but some highlights:

Killing the pain. First, let’s discuss the power of alchohol. Through the ages this fine substance has been used to dull the pain of many a fallen soldier. Seeing myself as such, I broke into the whiskey with wild abandon. Choosing Jack Daniels’ as my personal “fav’ I set out to imbibe. If you dose this correctly you won’t have to pick up your prescription vicadin. Careful to drink a glass of water for each alcoholic drink so you avoid hangovers.

Dressing, this becomes a new adventure. You must keep your hurt shoulder extremely still. This means that the arm attached to it is completely useless. If you are a woman then forget the bra. If you must have a bra get someone you “trust’ to put your most comfortable one on and realize you will be wearing this item for at least two or three days. Unable to work out how to get a t-shirt on I tried my shirts that button up. You soon come to realize that buttons are not an option. Ok, back to regular shirts. I could get large t-shirts on by feeding the sleeve of the bad arm over my useless hand up to my armpit and then carefully pulling it over my head and then putting my functional arm in the other arm hole. Getting the t-shirt off again is usually a two-person project. Forget tying shoelaces or wearing tight pants, they become the enemy.

Sleeping. Most certainly, one must avoid, at all costs, rolling onto the affected shoulder during the first week. This will wake you up in just as much pain as the day you crashed. I found that propping pillows all along the length of my body helped to reduce unwarranted movement. I slept a lot, there wasn’t much else to do. But, this doesn’t really matter, as dressing, eating, and drinking will take about 5 times longer than usual, so I filled my day accordingly.

Pit of Despair. This probably only applies to women. I could not shave the injured arm’s pit! This was horrible and I began to refer to this area of my body as the “pit of despair”. This is when you realize the ultimate greatness of the Mach 3 razor. You can literally shave without lifting your arm! Well lift it as much as you can. Good luck girls!

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The above pretty much sums up my life right now. For example, this morning I found myself screaming into my pillow around 3am because I managed to roll onto my stomach/shoulder in my sleep. I can't drive anywhere, so the highlight of my day today has been my Dad dropping me off at Starbucks, where he will pick me up later in the day after five hours of compulsive slowtwitching and facebooking and googling "clavicle surgery rehab return". Sitting in the Starbucks is just as mind-numbing as sitting around the house, except then it takes away the temptation to drink to make the day go by faster. So there's that.

One thing the post fails to mention is just the whole part about being one-handed. Though I may feel this more acutely since I broke my right collarbone and I'm right handed. This means trying to eat holding my fork in my left hand and having food fall in my lap. I haven't really brushed my hair since the accident since it's such a pain and the only hair-do I can accomplish on my own is a questionable low ponytail. Or a one-handed bun that falls out every time I turn my head more than 5-degrees. One handed typing/texting? I'm now a pro. Though for this, I've taken my arm out of a sling and have managed to use two hands. I bought those little one-use picks for flossing but even my left-handed brushing leaves much to be desired.

Right now my saving grace (sadly) is television. I've watched two seasons worth of Friday Night Lights—well, one season—the first season—twice, since my mom decided we needed to catch my dad up on the drama before moving forward—and a full season-and-a-half of Breaking Bad. Though I have to admit, Breaking Bad does a much better job of distracting me from the pain, mostly because it simultaneously reminds me that life could be way worse and strangely cheers me up at the same time. It also gives me a reason to (jokingly) tell my mom, "YO, let me have another Vicodin, Bitch". Thank you, Jesse Pinkman and thank you, Netflix.

Judging us for our television choices.

I've been walking a lot. It sucks. My HR only gets up to about 115 max and southern Louisiana is as flat as a pancake. The total elevation change of 2ft might have been me sitting up from putting on my shoes. I walked 6.5 miles yesterday and pretty much covered my whole neighborhood. Speed walking is no where near as good of a stress reliever as running and even just walking aggravates the collarbone from the up/down shock on my spine. I really miss living in a city where no one would bat an eye at someone walking around in a sling down the street—in my neighborhood, we don't have sidewalks so I'm basically walking on the street. Nothing to look at but the occasional person who gives me a concerned look as they drive past me walking down the street. No, I do NOT need a ride. The lack of window shopping stinks as well.

And then I went on that failed bike ride Friday night, mostly a failure because I forgot my bike shoes in Austin. First we tried tape:

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I got on and managed about 20-minutes of trainer time:

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And then I ripped through the tape, got discouraged and sat on the couch for the rest of the evening. The next day I had to go out and buy a pair of Used (gasp!) Specialized (gasp!) bike shoes from the local shop because they didn't carry Pearl Izumi. Got a good deal on them so they'll do for the next few weeks. I'm going to try the bike again tonight, though staying upright is a total pain and not having a free hand makes shifting hard and staying hydrated hard. Also leaning forward hurts some because it requires me to extend my upper body forward to reach the bars—though I've read that raising the front wheel helps some so I'll be making that adjustment before my next attempt on the bike.

Can only go up from here, right?

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