Thursday, May 1, 2008

What's Up Doc?

Today we busted a move outta Silver City, NM to Phoenix, AZ where we had an appointment with a Orthopedic Hand Surgeon. How'd we get an appt so fast you ask? Major good luck, one good search on Google and the doctor making room for someone begging on the other side of the phone line. We had to get the show on the road quick so we could figure out if we are staying or going and where we were staying and going since home is far away.

Saw a long choo choo train on the way which was the most exciting thing out there really.

Once at the Brown Hand Center in Phoenix the doctor looked at my New Mexico ER xrays that we had emailed to my account (vs paying for more!!) and gave me 3 options starting with putting a pin in in my thumb to get the broken piece back to where it was before. That option would take 2 weeks off my heeling time but I am not an advocate of opening the body up unless absolutely necessary so that option wasn't really considered too much. Plus it would require more travel time back to Utah where insurance has me covered, getting the surgery, then maybe heading back to Santa Barbara for the next NMBS race. And, we don't want to be on the road that much more than we already are which could make us tired making the 2 extra weeks off of the 6 week healing time a wash.

The second option was casting it for 6 weeks and the third option came after the doctor saw us not jumping for joy at any of the options yet, was simply splinting it in such a way that I could train.

Obviously my primary concerns were training and racing......not really the thumb unfortunately and the splint was sounding mighty fine because I could take it on and off too. But after discussing the options we decided on a hand molded cast that would fit on my mtb handlebars so I could train. The cast will allow for the thumb to be very immobilized and more protected if I were to say....fall off my bike or hit it on a door way or whatever. We have talked to about five Orthopedic Surgeons at this point (thanks to Chris working at Deer Valley and knowing these guys) and every one of them has said you MUST keep it immobilized for 1 week if not 2 weeks.

But my cast will be taken off in 2 weeks for 2 reasons. First is that the swelling will go down by then making the cast too loose and the second is that I want to race the Santa Ynez NMBS race near Santa Barbara, CA as planned. So the plan is to keep the thumb immobilized as much as possible while I can here for a few weeks up until race day. It will have a better chance at healing WELL that way. It will heal, but its just a matter of how well and how well determines that joints future as far as arthritis, pain and function. So I am going to do the right thing while I can and then hopefully race on it splinted if it comes to that and get it re casted later possibly. Now, plans could change radically if they take the cast off, take an x-ray and find that the bone moved the wrong way. That scenario = surgery but is not likely if I take care of this thing (hence the hard cast choice and not the splint).

The doc making my cast. Can you just see what I am thinking?

So the doc made my first ever cast in my whole life and as it was drying I ran down to the car at full speed and then road Chris's mtb bike around the parking lot for 15 minutes allowing the drying cast to mold itself to an mtb set up. My mtb's are in Santa Barbara so we had to use Chris's bike to do this hoping the set up will be similar.

Everything seemed to work well as I got out an hour later on my road bike (it's all I have right now with me) which was interesting because I have no front brake function because the cast is molded like you see in the picture so I can't get to it. So back brake only but I was happier that all heck just to be riding and not on a trainer in 90 degree beautiful weather!

Now the plan is to train normal in AZ for a bit and then head back to Santa Barbara, CA as planned, not cutting our "trip" short just yet.


Patricia Sherwin said...

Are you sure no alcohol was involved in that broken thumb accident? Hope you heal soon.


Come to think of it.............