Tag Archives: broken bones

Out of the Bag: Broken bones

stephanie hughes out of the bag colostomy ileostomy crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blog stolen colon

It has been more than 5 weeks since I broke my wrist while riding my bike. (Read how it happened HERE) I actually have another appointment with the orthopedic tomorrow and I am praying that the cast will come off!

At this point, my arm feels really good, but dealing with the cast has been a major pain. I have a difficult time fitting my arm through any of my winter clothes; it gets very hot when I’m working out; my hand has become so dry due the weather and I’m not able to put lotion on much of it. But this cast is nothing compared to the splint I had on for the first week after I broke my wrist.

stephanie hughes splint broken arm radius ulna bones stolen colon crohns ostomy blogHere’s a picture I took that week that I had it on. You can’t even tell from this picture, though, how obtrusive this thing was. It wrapped around my elbow and extended all the way passed my knuckles.  I could hardly do anything with it on. Once I had it wrapped around my arm, one of my first thoughts was, “how am I going to deal with my ostomy with this on?”

The accident happened on Saturday and thankfully I had just put on a new bag on Friday. I was praying the whole week that the bag would last until I got the split off. But even then, I didn’t know how I would deal with the daily issues or with changing the bag once I had the cast on. (And yes, the bag did last me a whole week and I was able to get the splint off on Thursday… honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t lasted.)

I had to be very careful with emptying the bag that first week. I had very little use of my right hand/arm and you really do need two hands to empty the bag. Basically, I used my right hand to keep the bag in place while using the left to push out the contents. Cleaning the end was a bit more precarious and I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t make a mess at times, but it was doable.

Once I got the cast on the next week, things were a bit easier. I had more control over my fingers and could move my elbow, too. Getting everything out with only one hand is still a bit difficult, but I can manage. The bigger issue was once the bag change came up. I don’t order pre-cut bags because the ones I have tried hadn’t fit quite right, so I still have to cut the opening every time. Now, I’ve gotten pretty good at doing most things with my left hand, but even after more than a month, I still can’t figure out how to use scissors with my left hand. I can’t line up the blade correctly or something like that and it just doesn’t work.

So that first time I had to change it, I had my husband cut the opening. Bless his heart, it was a pretty jagged opening. I was able to use my right hand just a little bit to smooth it out some, but I decided to do it myself from them on. It was still difficult because I could close the scissors with my right hand but I couldn’t open them. I would have to open with my left hand and close with my right for each cut. (Frustrating!) But now I’m to the point where I can do it all with my right hand.

Outside of the cutting, it really hasn’t been that difficult to change the bag. It took a little time to get accustomed to using my left hand to clean the area and put on the paste, but I have that under control now. I do like to cup my hands over the bag right after I put it on to help it adhere better, and that’s hard to do with one hand, but not a big deal.

So all in all, it has taken some getting used to and been annoying, but taking care of my ostomy has still been manageable with a broken wrist. Although, I can’t express how excited I am at the prospect of getting this thing off my arm tomorrow. Here’s hoping!

On the move

I’m a little unsure of where I am going at the moment. But I’m moving again and I suppose that’s what matters most. I have said before that I like to have a goal in mind, especially for any sort of sport training. On my list for 2013 is the compete in a full-length sprint triathlon. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had planned to do another short sprint in March, just to get a little more experience, and then compete in a full race in April. But breaking my wrist has thrown a big wrench in my plans.

It has been 6 weeks since my half-marathon. The plan was to take a week break from any strenuous workouts and then slowly get back into the groove. I hadn’t been on my bike in a while and I was looking forward to picking it up again. And then my first ride comes around and I end up in a cast.

I’m slowly working my way back. My doctor said that he did not recommend running simply due to the risk of injury if you fall. Now, I’ve never fallen when running, nor do I anticipate that being an issue, but I also want to be careful. So I’ve been working with the stationary bike and elliptical, mostly. I did go for my first run today. Just a slow, easy pace, but it was excruciatingly humid today and my cast/arm got very hot. Not a good feeling. I think sticking to gym equipment is the smartest move for now. (Not to mention that I can’t wear any of my cold weather gear because it won’t fit over the cast.)

I have a doctor’s appointment next week and I’m praying the cast will come off and I will be able to start getting back to normal. I would love to be able to put a date down for my first triathlon this year so I know what I’m working towards, but there’s no way to know how quickly I’ll get full use of my wrist back. To further complicate things, I’ve decided to do another half-marathon over the summer (more on that soon!), which is going to change how I train. I’m thinking I may just have to push the triathlon back until late in the summer, so I can train now for the run and then switch over to tri-training.

The not-knowing is the hardest part. Once the cast comes off, I don’t want to get back on my bike too soon and cause further injury. I’m not sure exactly how swimming will affect the wrist if I’m still dealing with some pain. It also worries me to think that my wrist may never again be at 100%. It’s amazing how many issues can arise from just a simple cycling mishap. It’s going to be a long road, I know, but my goal is to keep up the pace and find that finish line.

In a cast and out of shape

My life has looked a little differently over the past few weeks. Granted, it has been Christmas-time, so that always changes things up a bit, but it’s more than that. Prior to two weeks ago, I felt that I had finally gotten myself into a good routine of running and working out. I was enjoying waking up earlier and going for a swim before starting the day. I finally had all of the cold-weather gear to make winter cycling possible. I’ve been on the verge of signing up with a trainer to help me prepare for triathlon season.

Now, I’m not being able to do any of those things and I’m having to seriously consider moving my triathlon training back. I had planned on starting in March and doing a big one in April. But the doctor’s telling me it will likely have to be May or June before I should plan on competing in one. And that’s hoping that I can get in all of the training I need to before that.

stephanie hughes running shoes unused stolen colon crohns ostomy blog

My poor, sad, unused running shoes

Obviously, I can’t do any swimming with a cast on. And getting back on my bike is going to be the hardest part because the pressure is put on the wrist. I’ve also been nervous to go running because I’m unsure if that will hurt my wrist. I go back to the orthopedic next week so I’ll have to see if that’s a possibility for me.

I have also felt more tired lately. I’m sure it’s partly due to the fact that I haven’t been exercising like I was. I would also blame the simple fact that dealing with this cast is exhausting. My arm is heavy and it’s difficult to do simple tasks like taking a shower, cleaning the kitchen, typing blog posts. I think it’s wearing me out a little just doing the day-to-day things. I also hate the helpless feeling of not being able to open my own bottles of water or pick up something that weighs more than a couple of pounds.

So now I’m trying to figure out what options are out there for me to try to somewhat keep up with a workout routine. I’m thinking that I can at least use a stationary bike since balance is not as involved and I should be able to do it with one hand. I’ve never done much weight training, especially with my legs, but I suppose that would not be a bad idea either, but I probably should find someone who knows that they’re doing so I don’t cause another injury.

Any other good ideas out there for staying in shape with a broken wrist?

“Cast” your cares

Ah, I love a good pun… But seriously, this has been an interesting Christmas season. Last year at this time, I was in a hospital room at UNC, praying every day that I’d make it home by Christmas. (Thankfully, I did make it home just in time for Christmas.) But this year, I was looking forward to a normal holiday with no trips to the hospital.

Obviously, that hasn’t happened, but I am thankful to not actually be spending this week in the hospital. However, I know that’s not true for so many people this year and one of my friends in particular. I’ve also heard from some others who are going through a bit of a rough patch this year.

stephanie hughes cast broken wrist  stolen colon crohns ostomy blogI was able to remove my splint this morning and now have a lovely new cast in its place. This is such an improvement, as now I can move my elbow and wriggle my fingers. I am still typing with my left hand, but I’m getting pretty good at it!

I am thankful that I have a tree that we were able to decorate, but there are no beautifully wrapped gifts below it. My mantle is essentially bare this year, but my wonderful husband did hang up our wreaths and lights this year. The gifts aren’t bought, there’s no yummy food in my fridge, and my planned projects have been put aside.

I’m doing my best to remember what this season is really all about. It’s a celebration of Jesus’ birth and the sacrifice he made. And I remember this promise from 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

So you know, what? We are going to make it through this. The presents will get bought and wrapped. We will find food to eat. Christmas will come and go just as it always has, and just like it will next year and the year after that. What matters is that we’re alive, we have our family and friends and we have many other reasons to celebrate!