i broke my collarbone 6 days ago: i'm already back to normal. well, back to normal in the sense that i can't derail my healing at this point, and i can pretty much do anything, just depends on how much residual pain i can handle.
i went to the orthopedic department of MGH early this morning for my followup appointment at 8:30. i woke up a bit early knowing that it takes me a little longer to get ready (like getting dressed). i left my bag behind, bringing only my small camera with i stuffed in my jacket pocket. i hate riding public transportation during rush hour. i've been lucky in that all the office jobs i've had were from 10-6, so i missed the bulk of the 9-5 congestion. i had more reason to dislike the crowd this time around because i was afraid of getting bumped in the arm while jostling for sitting/standing position.
the subway platform was empty when i arrived but quickly filled up with people. working people, with full-time jobs. it's been a while, i wonder what that's like? being in an arm sling is not enough for somebody to give up a seat for me so i stood in the train. not that i wanted to sit anyway, since it'd mean getting my arm squished which would hurt. fortunately it's just 4 stops from porter square to charles/MGH.
i arrived at 3C yawkey right at 8:30. i took off my jacket in the waiting room. after 10 minutes of waiting an attendant came in and brought me into one of the exam rooms. there was a computer with my x-ray photos (from last week) on the screen. i waited another 15 minutes before a resident came me and asked me to take my shirt off so he could do a quick check of my condition. he left me with some medical forms to fill (kind of weird, given that it should all be in the MGH database already) while i waited for the doctor to show up.
15 minutes later doctor vrahas (pronounced "varys" like the game of thrones character) came in him. before i even met him i already knew who he was it seems. apparently he's pretty famous, as there were a bunch of his articles hanging in the waiting room, as well as rewards, including best doctor of 2013 from some medical association. he spends most of time in surgery (chief of orthopedic trauma unit), but one day a week (monday) he sees patients. from his photos he seemed like a serious man but when i met him he was very friendly. he actually only saw me for a minute or two. a lot of questions the resident already answered, but i wanted the doctor to confirm it.
the basic gist of what they said was this: i was healing normally, there seems to be no complications, and i have the full use of my arm, it just depends on how much pain i can tolerate. doctor vrahas said there wasn't anything i could do to stop the healing process. one of my concerns was looking at the x-rays and feeling it for myself, there seemed to be a very large and hard sticking out from the breakpoint, like maybe the bones weren't aligned properly and needed to be set. the doctor told me this was quite normal, that a lump forms around the fracture site, but over time the lump gets reabsorbed and the bone goes back to normal. i still had questions, but it seemed like i had nothing to worry about, with the underlying message that was all very normal. the doctor even pressed down on the lump and i was surprised there was no pain when he did it, because i always felt that spot was still broken, especially since i can move my arm in such a way that i can feel something grinding there. the doctor even said i didn't have to wear my arm sling anymore, unless i wanted to. with that vrahas was on to another patient. the resident stayed behind, asked if i needed help getting dressed. he also added that if i was looking for a perfect place to break a bone and have it heal back to normal, i couldn't have picked a more perfect spot.
after dropping off my paperwork with the secretary at the front desk and making another appointment to come back in 6 weeks, i left MGH and took the red line back to harvard square.
now that i have a 3D HDTV that can display the 3D photos i can take with my panasonic lumix, i wanted to experiment more with 3D photography. so while i walked through harvard square, i was looking for photo opps. the lumix only takes 3D at the widest angle setting, so no 3D telephotos. i've discovered that 3D doesn't really work with buildings because they're too large and too far away. they work best with either macro photos or close subjects, medium range photography. in a way those advanced form of photography actually feels like traditional film photography because i can't see the 3D image with camera (it only shows me a 2D thumbnail). i have to wait until i get back, download the photos onto a thumb drive, and then connect it to my HDTV before i can finally see the 3D effect, hit or miss.
because there's no way to show a 3D MPO on a non-3D display, i've resorted to "wiggle gifs" to give you an idea of what they're like (i used 3dporch.com to create them).
the first thing i did when i got home was to take off the sling, now that i don't need to wear one. i think i may still put it on occasionally, when i need some sympathy or attention. or maybe just to appear more natural, because i notice i don't swing my left arm anymore when i walk because of the pain. putting my arm in that same sling position for hours on end made my other muscles ache (triceps and back shoulder). after seeing the doctor, i felt a lot better, like i was practically healed. the pain is still there, but now i have a better idea of what kind of pain it is. it's not the sort of pain like "my bones are pulling apart" or "they're fusing in a deformed manner"; more like "this is a part of the recovery process and it's natural" pain.
since i started my day so early, i couldn't believe how much time i still had left in the day. switched the coaxial cable from the analog cable box to the cable coming directly from the wall so i could just receive the free QAM channels, which are actually in HD and look a lot better. once i upgrade my cable box to HD, i won't have to do this anymore. i ended up watching a special april fool's edition of the price is right, where the models hosted while drew carey presented the products. model hostess included amber lancaster, who i know from MTV's hard times of rj berger, a great little show.
i heated up the leftover subway sandwich in the microwave for lunch. i ran a few errands: refilled my HBP medication prescription online; i called andrew's brother todd to ask him about some tree pruning service for the dead elm tree in my parents' backyard; i called comcast to upgrade my service to HD. the cheapest option was actually the HD preferred, which is a triple service package that also includes internet phone which i don't need at all. i think it comes out to $133/month after taxes, which includes a $7/month rental fee for the dual cable/phone modem. i'm going to see if i can buy one of those online (used or otherwise) to save myself the $7. the cable guy is scheduled to arrive thursday around noontime.
i thinned out the seedlings growing in my closet. i hate doing it but the sooner i get it done before the seedlings get too big, the easier it is. i did manage to transplant one of the thinned out zinnia seedlings into an empty pot.
it was cold enough that i needed a jacket this morning but by the afternoon it was already 63°F. i was outside upgrading the wire fence around my front yard. i'd already put down a wire fence a few days ago, but it wasn't long enough. when i went to the ocean state job lot in medford, they only carried green, which was the color i wanted in the first place. so i ended up getting 3 sets of green fencing, and will save the white fencing for somewhere else. the front yard only needed 2 linked fencing; i was going to use the 3rd around the bit of landscape around the sidewalk tree, but the roots are poking out in various spots to make that impossible.
my parents came by right when i was outside working on the fencing. i left with then to chinatown where they were doing a supply run. i wasn't wearing my sling, but i noticed my collarbone area actually hurt a little bit more because the weight of my unsupported arm tugged on the bone protrusion currently forming around the fracture site. so i actually ended up holding up my left arm as if it was in a sling.
the nice warm spring-like day didn't last very long. coming back from chinatown, the sky had already turned grey, the temperature was dropping, and then it started to rain, heavy but brief downpours in spots. after stopping by the cafe to drop off supplies (i was no help, with my lame arm), i went with my parents to belmont.
after dinner i got a ride back to cambridge. i stopped my father while he was leaving to give him a package that'd arrived, an indoor digital thermometer/hygrometer (you can never have enough of these). inside the house there was another package, this time for me: a snoopy arm sling from frances! she secretly ordered it for me but i accidentally discovered her plan when i accidentally received the invoice from her husband. it's kind of a weird product, seemingly designed for children, but in a size so large it could probably fit a giant. i ended up reducing the strap a lot just so it'll fit. it's definitely more noticeable than the navy blue arm sling they issued me at the emergency room.
i ended the night looking over the 3D photos i'd taken during the day and watching a few downloaded television episodes on the HDTV. i tried playing around with an MPO file in photoshop (as part of the new 3D functionality of CS6), adding a watermark in one of the corners, but it didn't work when i tried to view it in 3D, the images were fused on top of each other.
i was able to raise my left arm high enough tonight that i managed to floss for the first time since the accident. i'm only raising my arm so that it's horizontal to the ground then bringing in my forearm and lowering my head a bit so everything can reach. beats having to use the flossing pick which i have a hard time getting to my back molars.