Thursday, February 19, 2009


I know nobody cares, but the reason for my inactivity stems from a severe fracture of the humerus, misdiagnosis, undermedication, and the general failure of the western medical industrial complex to respond appropriately to a serious injury sustained while snowboarding.

Here's my advice:

Get an MRI as soon as possible. Like, immediately after injury. Don't rely on the advice of an MD, and palpation / range of motion / pain levels. Goodness, I did that all on the slope, and came the conclusion that I hadn't seriously fractured anything, or torn anything.

I was wrong.

A week later, so was my random, out-of-the-box MD. My shoulder apparently had full strength. After all, I'd kept riding for a while, then I'd driven home 55 miles from the resort after the injury, and ridden a good 9 miles of XC training the next day. It didn't seem weak, although I didn't try any one rep max renegade rows, or anything silly like that. I went to the doctor to get qualified advice. What I got was: palpation (thanks, did that already), range of motion (yes, did that), and pain thresholds (uh...). Well, apparently I have an extremely high acute pain threshold.

Listen, I don't think it's guy thing, I think it's sheer pragmatism. I remember getting a thorn deeply embedded in my foot, and it healed for a week or so, and then infection set in. So, on the bottom of the foot, we're talking 10-14 layers of epidermis.

So I poured myself a glass of whiskey. To sanitize my lockblade. And then removed the infectious material. I didn't notice pain. Yes, there was pain, but I could ignore it, since I knew exactly when it'd be over. It also helps to have a very, very sharp knife, and work slowly.

As for my shoulder? Misdiagnosed as a rotator cuff injury by myself, and my random MD. The symptoms were indeed consistent with such an injury. I agreed with my MD. Last time that's going to happen. The next time I'll let the machines decide.

Within a week I was in excruciating pain. I had still been training for my mountain bike race, swimming, and training (although no weight training, just miles on the stationary). As per the advice of my MD. 'Light stress is ok. Keep using the shoulder.'

Yeah. Right.

Within a week and a half of the injury my pain levels were exceeding anything experienced during the injury, or subsequent. I decided to go back in and request the MRI. If your insurance covers the MRI, do it first. The MRI revealed serious fracturing of the humerus. Look at it - this is 1.5 weeks after the injury.

My MD seemed fairly unconcerned, gave me nothing useful for the excruciating pain, and told me not to use the shoulder. Well. That's a little bit of an about face. So, I spent a week and half with my shoulder mobile and elevated, making no money (I'm a consultant), and making no progress.

Thanks, medical industrial complex. If you can't get your diagnoses right, at least cover your mistakes with meds so the ones of us that do real work can get our jobs done.

Thank you. You sadistic, kowtowing, pathetic excuses for doctors. Do they even take the Hippocratic oath anymore?

Fuck. MDs.

I'm sorry this isn't a family friendly blog. Tough shit.


Charlotte said...

Okay, first - I am so sorry you have sustained an injury of such magnitude, esp. considering how active you are. But second, holy crap - you removed a thorn from your foot by yourself with a knife?!? I know that I'm the one who's had the babies and is supposed to have a high pain tolerance but egads man.

I do look forward though to hearing about your own Karate experiment when this injury allows. Please please keep me posted!

deprogram said...

Well, since we were on vacation in a second/third world country, it seemed like a reasonable option at the time. Given the choice between leaving an inclusion to to become infected, trying to seek medical attention, or simply doing what needed to be done, I opted for the latter.

High proof grain alcohol is essential as both an antiseptic and general anaesthetic.

Aren't I just full of useful information?

I'll definitely let you know how my martial arts experience progresses.

Camilla said...

Eek, to both the accident in general, and the removing-a-thorn-with-a-knife. I wonder if you heard about Ran Fiennes cutting off his frostbitten fingers with a fretsaw? Craziness.