your clavicle should not look like mine

May 18th, 2007

no, i’m not doing my ee cummings imitation; i’m having to type using only my left hand.

what you see below is an x-ray of my right shoulder, taken last wednesday night at an urgent care center near home. the clavicle is the collarbone and it’s supposed to be secured to the shoulder blade by a series of ligaments. i have torn those ligaments, and so my clavicle has popped upward. click the image below to go to flickr where i’ve added a note to the photo to show the separation. this condition is called a separated acromioclavicular joint, or as the doctor said, an ac separation.


how did this happen? well, there was this tree, see…

wendy and i had had our weekly riding lesson and i was feeling good. if i haven’t mentioned it before, an hour on a horse makes me feel like a new man. it makes me feel like i’m ten years old again and can do anything. we’d done some cantering and some jumping and it had all gone well. i felt great.

after our lesson, bryn and her group were having a dressage lesson in the pasture to practice for a show on sunday. genna’s girls had made themselves a swing using a lead rope tied around one of the low-hanging branches of a tree there in the pasture. i took a couple of looks at that tree and decided i would climb up into its lower branches to watch bryn ride.

i jumped up, grabbed the branch, and swung my legs up onto it. i needed a little something to pull myself up into a sitting position. unfortunately, i chose to grab ahold of a sprig of growth that wasn’t as strong as it looked.

the next thing i new, the ground came up and smacked me hard. it knocked the breath from me and i lay there struggling just to inhale. when i finally was able to breath, i began gasping so hard that i was wheezing and sputtering. this must have looked scary to everyone there, because i heard someone ask if she should call for an ambulance. now, there was no way i was going to let an ambulance haul me away from genna’s a second time, not if i could possibly help it, so got to my knees and stood up. i could tell then that something was wrong because i couldn’t use my right arm.

long story short, i had wendy take me to the urgent care center near home, which we figured would be quicker than the hospital emergency room. they did a series of x-rays, gave me some vicodin for the pain, and sent me home. preliminary diagnosis: partially separated shoulder; they later called, after a radiologist had read the x-rays and said oh, by the way, you have some fractured ribs too.

i went to an orthopedist today, and he explained the shoulder injury in more detail. he showed me the location of the ligaments on a skeleton and he explained how he will repair it. he’ll use a screw to secure the clavicle to the bone beneath, and in six weeks or so the ligaments will heal. after that, the screw can be removed. so i’m scheduled for surgery on monday. it’ll be an outpatient procedure and i’ll be home in the afternoon. i hope to be back to work by wednesday at the latest; i have deadlines to meet and need to get to work on them.

as for the ribs, they will have to heal on their own. i’ve hurt my ribs like this before. perhaps not quite so severely, but badly enough that i know how it will feel as they mend. they’ll hurt a little, but nothing i can’t live with.

the worst part of this whole thing is that i won’t be able to ride again until i’m healed; that will be at least six weeks and maybe as long as six months. it’s going to be a long wait.

6 Responses to “your clavicle should not look like mine”

  1. Leigh Ann Says:

    He didn’t climb the tree to watch Bryn! He climbed it, and I quote, “because it was there”!! Good luck, Jimmy — I hope your surgery goes well and you begin to heal.

  2. Sue Says:

    I’m sure the surgery will be a success, and hopefully the healing time will pass quickly. Take it easy and follow Dr.’s (and Wendy’s) orders.

  3. Kay Says:

    Jimmy, best of luck with the surgery and recovery. Remember to take it easy and let yourself heal before you head back up that tree!

  4. bryn Says:

    daddy i don’t care how young you feel you ain’t never getting in another tree you scared the .. heck out of me that day i could barley concentrait on what i was doing the entire lesson! vv scary dad veary scary yesyes scary. sigh i love ya KISSES

  5. Wendy Says:

    My mother said that he was playing with his Inner Child. I say “Knuckle Head”, with lots of love, of course!

  6. Kay Says:

    Wendy…if you were Deborah, you would have used the word Idiot!!! Thank goodness it’s Everybody Loves Jimmy instead of Raymond!!