another shoulder of woe!

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oldranger
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another shoulder of woe!

Post by oldranger » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:08 pm

So after two back surgeries and one prostate procedure last february I've been working my way back into hiking shape in preparation for late summer backpacking trips. On June 18 I embarked on my first significant day trip. 10 miles up and back with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. I made it just fine up to my destination, Holden Lake in the North Cascades, much slower than past years but feeling just fine. Going down was a breeze. Day dreaming along the trail suddenly i was flat on my face and left arm was throbbing. Staying in place I took stock of my situation--Alone and no one behind me and no one likely heading up the trail until I'm an hour late which meant help was several hours away. Of course my spot locater remained in my dry bag on the boat, not in my day pack. Quickly decided that even if I had the spot locator I wouldn't use it. Somehow I managed to get into a sitting position and undo the straps of my pack without more than a pain level of 8 on a scale of 10. Once in a sitting position I was able to swivel on my butt and get my legs hanging over the edge of the trail into a more comfortable sitting position. Then I collapsed my useless left trekking pole and strapped it to my pack. Position of comfort of my arm was straight down so I tried to use my bandana to tie my arm to my belt but gave up after several unsuccessful attempts to do so one handed. My right hand was able to stuff my left hand into my left front pocket and that turned out to provide sufficient support and light traction due to gravity as long as my upper body was vertical. I was able to sling my pack over my right shoulder and with the support of my right trekking pole get vertical. After managing to secure my waist belt with one hand 3 miles of trail was before me. It honestly wasn't bad hiking down with the worst part contemplating how badly I had f--ked up my summer plans. I arrived back at Holden Village at exactly the time expected and headed directly to the medic station where there was a radio to call for a medic. So keeping my priorities straight I reported I had a possible fractured humerus and requested a beer and a medic. Soon a P.A. and an EMT arrived without a beer. Then they called a Paramedic that worked about a mile away from the village. Holden Village is about 40 miles up Lake Chelan from the town of Chelan and then about 11 miles up a gravel road. Their initial consensus was to call NPS and have them pick Kathy and myself up at the boat dock and take us to our car and then have Kathy drive us to the ER in Wenatachee. However they also consulted by SAT phone with the Villages physician advisor who determined after being assured that there was no deformity and no additional pain when the arm was palpated that whether the humerus was fractured or not that the treatment would be the same--Sling and swath. Finally I got my beer when Kathy broughtme one, So to shorten the story we stayed 4 more days and I was alternately chided for hiking alone (my response was what would have been different? I still would have had to walk out) and praised for the coolest radio request for a medic ever heard at the village. After leaving the village on Saturday Kathy drove us to Seattle and on Sunday we took in a Mariners Game. Arriving home on Monday afternoon the x-ray was finally taken and yep the head of the humerus was fractured and yep I'm still in sling and swath. On Monday I'm getting another X-ray and if everything is still lined up I'm off to alaska for my annual fishing trip a few days later. On return after the swelling goes down I'll probably get an MRI to determine the extent of soft tissue damage.
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Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!






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maverick
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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by maverick » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:41 pm

Ouch!
So from what your saying, this is proximal humerus fracture? If it is, make sure you take care to rule out any injury to your rotator cuff tendons Mike, otherwise it will affect your shoulder mobility. From the picture, it looks more like a mid-shaft fracture, in which case you should rule out any injury to your radial nerve, which could affect your hand/wrist.
Make sure you don't be cavalier about this, at you age Mike :unibrow: , these types of injury can result in long term symptoms, which can range from being annoying to debilitating.
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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by SirBC » Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:17 pm

oldranger wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:08 pm
So keeping my priorities straight I reported I had a possible fractured humerus and requested a beer and a medic.

Haha, I'll have to remember that if I'm ever in need of a tasty IPA to help with the pain

Hey, I'm off to Alaska too, maybe I'll bump into you. I'll be in Denali in a couple of weeks.
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oldranger
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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by oldranger » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:19 am

SirBC wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:17 pm
oldranger wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:08 pm
So keeping my priorities straight I reported I had a possible fractured humerus and requested a beer and a medic.

Haha, I'll have to remember that if I'm ever in need of a tasty IPA to help with the pain

Hey, I'm off to Alaska too, maybe I'll bump into you. I'll be in Denali in a couple of weeks.
I'll be on the Naknek River that flows into Bristol Bay fishing for Sockeye, mostly.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by oldranger » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:29 am

maverick wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:41 pm
Ouch!
So from what your saying, this is proximal humerus fracture? If it is, make sure you take care to rule out any injury to your rotator cuff tendons Mike, otherwise it will affect your shoulder mobility. From the picture, it looks more like a mid-shaft fracture, in which case you should rule out any injury to your radial nerve, which could affect your hand/wrist.
Make sure you don't be cavalier about this, at you age Mike :unibrow: , these types of injury can result in long term symptoms, which can range from being annoying to debilitating.
It is the head of the humerus. Well aware of possible issues with rotator cuff. My bicep feels like a water ballon with all the blood that came out of the fracture. There really is little discoloration at the level of the fracture but gravity really did a number down the arm. Hand, wrist and elbow work fine but any movement above the elbow is painful.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by rlown » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:42 am

How are you going to cast with that injury?

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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by windknot » Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:45 pm

Yikes. Glad it wasn't worse!

Hope you have a good trip on the Naknek. I'll be in Anchorage for work in September and am adding on some extra time to float the Upper Kenai and do some poking around on area streams for coho and trout.
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oldranger
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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by oldranger » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:15 am

windknot wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:45 pm
Yikes. Glad it wasn't worse!

Hope you have a good trip on the Naknek. I'll be in Anchorage for work in September and am adding on some extra time to float the Upper Kenai and do some poking around on area streams for coho and trout.
Great time for silvers and trout. Bring some flesh flies for big trout.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by oldhikerQ » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:36 am

Yet another story of caution for those of us who are at or past retirement age.
Hope that you have a complete recovery and are able to enjoy another season of backpacking.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

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Re: another shoulder of woe!

Post by LMBSGV » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:05 pm

Yes, a cautionary tale and an excellent example of how to not panic when confronted with a scary, dangerous situation.

Your positive attitude and humor through it all is a wonderful inspiration.

Get well and have a great time in Alaska.

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