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Broken Arm Update

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Randsco News

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Broken Arm Update

June 22nd, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [After Six Weeks] An update on Alex's broken-dislocated arm, after her bicycle crash on May 7th. It's been six weeks and the bones appear to have mended, but the news from the doctor isn't that great.

After Week Six

Hutton House - The bones appear to be mended, but the elbow still looks 'fat' and the ROM is still not 100%.

Reporters gathered on the Randsco campus on Tuesday, to celebrate the summer solstice and to find out how Alex was doing after she suffered a fracture & dislocation of her right arm in a freak bicycle accident, in early May.

"I'm fine," she told the assembled group, holding up her right arm (still bent at a slight angle).

"As always," reported mom, "her spirits are good, despite the fact that she still looks like she has a 'broken wing'.

Alex crashed her bike into a steep ditch on May 7th. Her parents rushed her to the emergency centre at Nanaimo Regional Hospital, where she was prepped for surgery only a few hours later. Dr. Malone performed a closed reduction, while Alex was under a general anesthetic. The fractured bit of bone seemed to "fall back into place", so Alex was placed in a tensor bandaged 'half-cast' for a week. The cast came off after a week and she was encouraged to 'use her arm'. At about week three, it was evident that Alex was not regaining full motion in her arm. The doctor prescribed physio-therapy, where they measured her loss of range of motion at 55%. Working diligently the past 3 weeks, (joylessly) doing prescribed exercises, Alex made rapid gains - 20% on contraction and 15% on extension.

Unfortunately, just after six weeks, Alex has hit a tad of a 'brick wall' on her ROM. It seems that she's lost about 15% of extension and cannot straighten her arm, despite exercising.

Dr. Malone's take?

"That's just the way nature works. It's a functioning arm, so it just might be something that she has to learn to live with."

Say What?

Parents were disappointed to hear this news and thought it was poor bedside manner to give up so soon and also to plant seeds of doubt in such a young, bright mind.

"The doctors might be giving up," Scott told reporters, "but we're not!"

Scott plans on building a pull-up bar on the Randsco campus, from which Alex can hang. Hopefully, using her body weight will help to gain back that last 15% of extension.

"Nooooo!" Alex said, reacting to the perceived pain of stretching her tendons.

Alex doesn't like working her arm and she seems to have adapted to its limited range of motion. For starters, Alex is a 'lefty' and it was her right arm that was broken, so she doesn't use it as much as she would if she were right-handed. The pain of the break and dislocation is also fresh in her mind and she winces each time Rachel or Scott assist with 'exercises'. Stretching tendons reminds her of this pain and she holds back and whines.

"Her arm is still really 'fat' too," said Rachel, "The physio-therapist told us that the size of her elbow will gradually diminish, over the next six months or so. Alex took a very serious blow and there's still lots of swelling and irritation."

"Thanks to everyone that has wished Alex a speedy recovery," added Scott. Members of the North Cedar Fire Hall, where Scott volunteers, bought Alex a book on "How to Draw" and sent a (Shaw Cable) "Care Bear" stuffy. Members of our local Credit Union sent Alex a get well card and "Penny the Owl" goodies. Alex's "Fairy God Mother" in Seattle asks after Alex on a regular basis and sends hugs over the Internet. Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts and great-Aunts have all sent cards.

"Alex is doing fine, but we're not quite out of the woods yet," said Scott.

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Updated: 5-Jan-2012
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