Top 5 Pet Peeves: Fractures

For this Top 5 Pet Peeves post I wanted to cover a few things that annoy me when fractures happen. All fractures are annoying and painful to deal with, there is certainly no doubt about that. But the way some breaks are managed can make the entire situation more of a pain than is already occurring. (In case you missed it this was my previous Top 5 Pet Peeves post)

1. Don't ask me "Does it hurt?" every 5 minutes
Yes it hurts. But chances are (especially in the case of a fresh fracture) I am trying to calm myself down (mentally & physically), and trying to internally stable my body a.k.a adjust to the pain. Reminding me of the pain actively defeats the efforts I am making  under already stressful conditions and this makes me incredibly frustrated. Checking-in with the pain every 30 or 60 minutes is fine and I understand that many doctor's or pain management teams will do this to adjust pain medications as necessary. But a frequent and constant reminder? It'll only get you an irritable "no d'uhh" or even a flat-out lie "I'm fiiiine" reaction.

2. Please remain calm or pretend your hardest to remain calm
Bones have just been broken. This means that the more jostling/moving whether accidental or intentional is done the more pain I will be in. Getting frantically hysterical, forming crowds around me, or being in a setting with a lot of commotion doesn't help things and will be more difficult for me to remain calm. Whenever I broke bones in school, on a playground, or in public - I would always try to find some calmer corner to collect and assess myself with the help of a close friend or family member. Although I know it may be difficult, remind yourself that though a fracture has occurred bones are able to heal; remaining calm will only help that process along.

3. Listen/pay attention to the injured person!
This is a pretty obvious tip for older children/adults who are better able to communicate. However if you have a baby or a toddler who is just learning to express pain or fractures, pay attention to their bodily movements. When I was a baby my parents told me they would gently tickle me and whichever limb did not move, or moved with that cry/scream would most likely be the injured area. I cannot stress how important it is to listen and allow the patient to tell you what is the matter; especially for younger children this let's them know that they are in charge of the O.I. and not the other way around.

4. X-Rays

L Tibia pre-rodding
They are an evil necessity. You can never know what the black and white image will reveal, and even on days when I am supposed to get a cast off - the x-ray might say otherwise! But if you have just fractured, getting an image of the break is usually one of the most painful processes of the entire incident. Most of the time you are unable to hold the broken limb as the picture is happening, many radiologists will ask the limb to be positioned in painful ways, and those 3-8 seconds of waiting for the picture to actually be taken under painful circumstances can seem like hours. These are the moments that I am sweating the most, and radiologists are probably the people that I glare angrily at the most at hospitals. Regardless of how annoying they might be telling myself that this it's a must and that it will all end soon are some of the best tips I have been able to tell myself. If it is a particularly sore area or a bad break, sometimes I have told my orthopedic to write down on the form that I am unable to turn or bend in a certain way - having such notices come "officially" from a doctor will help it be more bearable.

5. Let me sleep if nothing is going on
I'm not sure what it is but when fractures have just happened I become incredibly sleepy. This is weird because it is also one of the times when I feel that my body is most alert about what is going on. However after I have gotten myself more comfortable, have found the 'best way' to hold the injured area, or the most comfortable position for me to sit/lay in - I am exhausted. I usually doze off for a few minutes while waiting for my orthopedic, waiting for the x-ray, or waiting for the cast to dry; and even though it is only for a few minutes at a time they are some of the deepest sleeps I have ever experienced! So if I am sleeping, let it happen. But if I need to be wakened do not startle me awake! I compare being startled awake with a fracture about as frightening as falling out of my wheelchair in my dreams, it is terrifying and extremely jarring.

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One Response to Top 5 Pet Peeves: Fractures

  1. I can relate to every single one of those but more so with 4 and 5. I remember breaking my leg and they would want me to keep my leg straight but I wouldn't be able to hold it there so they would have to put two pillows on either side of my leg to keep my leg propped and still. Forcing a broken bone in a position that it doesn't want to stay in hurts! I would clench those pillows as hard as I could! Ha! And I would almost always fall asleep after I broke something. The way it was explained to me was: when you break a bone your body releases endorphins which is basically described as your bodies inner pain medication. The word is actually derived from morphine. Anyways, when the endorphins are released it forces your body to relax which then makes you really, really tired. I would almost always be asleep by the time we reached the hospital.


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