Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Old injuries haunt old bodies ......

Some years back (nearly 50 years back, in fact - 1965) I was in a nasty accident.

I was moving around the cargo area of an aircraft tending to some wounded soldiers when the aircraft lost power and crashed to the ground. Everyone else were OK (excluding the 'already wounded' who were strapped into litters in fixed racks) and the rest of the crew walked away. I cracked a bone in my cervical vertebrae (the spinous process, which the neck muscles attach to) and tore the supraspinatus tendon in my shoulder, nearly shearing the tendon off at its insertion point at the top of my arm and the subsequent bruising and swelling placing pressure on the brachial plexus - the  nerve bundle that controls the arm - paralysing my right arm for nearly three months.

I also cracked a few ribs and lacerated my forehead but that's neither here nor there!

Area of neck I fractured in 1965

2.5cm tear (1 inch) to right supraspinatus tendon in same accident

brachial plexus - the bundle of nerves (coloured yellow  above)
running from the neck into the armpit and down the arm

Any-hoo-dee-doo, it hurt at the time, seriously disabled me and left me unable to work for nearly six months and my right neck and shoulder was never quite the same again. My injuries also caused some heartache for my employer (Repatriation General Hospital, Concord), my Army Reserve unit, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who all tried to say that they were not responsible for me or my injuries and pointed the finger at each other. Eventually, CommSuper agreed to put me on a part disability pension if I signed a 'release of responsibility' for the other parties. 

It was the easiest way out of my dilemma, so I signed!

As advancing years brings on the "sins of one's youth", I have found that this injury is now returning and causing me some severe pain, interrupted sleep and loss of arm strength. I saw my orthopaedic specialist who ordered a scan and just shook his head when he saw the results, saying "It's worse than I even imagined!"

Outcome - not much can be done! An operation would in all likelihood only serve to make the condition worse rather than fix it. So rest, physiotherapy/ultra-sound and pain killers.

So, for the next week or so at least - I will be reducing my time on the internet. So, if my posts become less frequent, don't worry. I'm not ignoring you all and I will still be reading your posts!

Ciao for now!


joeh said...

Sorry to hear that. I had neck problems years ago, and know how debilatating the pain can be. I was fortunate that an operation (laminectomy) completely resolved the problem.

Hope therapy will relieve and repair the issue. I know strengthening muscles can often help.

LindaG said...

Really sorry to hear this, John. Sad what companies can get away with.
I really do hope that the therapy will help you. ♥

The Elephant's Child said...

I am really sorry to read this. Pain can be so debilitating. Take as much care of yourself as you can. Sending good wishes your way.

Maa said...

I suffered for two years with a torn rotator cuff so I can sympathise with you, John. As we get older these things really take their toll on our bodies. I also broke a couple of ribs falling from a train platform, years ago and just lately my ribs have been giving me hell again. The doc said that I have arthritis in them ... really surprised me as I didn't realise you could get OA there!
Take care of yourself and take it easy! Sue

Gill - That British Woman said...

that sounds nasty John. rest up we will all be here whenever you post,

Gill in Canada