Friday, June 15, 2012

injured wrist saga

This was quite a predicament.

There I was in a white sterile tube in a brightly lit room, with every pocket of movement of my left arm and wrist stilled by pads. It was a MRI procedure for the said limbs; this being the second try after a failed first round - my fingers had twitched as I accidentally dozed off. One must stay absolutely still or else it would be repeated, which isn't something to look forward to. Plus, the longer you are in there, the more delay you would present to the next person in line. I shifted my body to a more comfortable position before it begins, and made a firm resolution to stay awake throughout to concentrate on not-twitching. However, a nemesis to my plans was about to present itself.

... BEEEE-BOR-RA-TAK-TAK-TAKTAKTAKTAK and on it goes, the sound of the magnets firing up; highly reminisce of a 56k dial-up modem. It was repetitive, comforting and nostalgic, and my eyelids drooped in maddening fatigue...

And that's how I knew I was a 90's kid.

Rewind to two hours prior, I was newly decked out in a snazzy hospital gown, waiting for my turn at the Imaging Department. A doctor there approached me and informed me that she contacted my orthopedic doctor, who requested for an additional step before the MRI. It's something about injecting a dye into the problem area, so he could see whatever that is wrong better. I said, okay, sure. Then she informed me that it's a procedure and would hurt a little. I figured it wasn't a biggie. I could handle injections. I assumed that it's just a simple injection into the veins, but oh boy, was I wrong.

It was a procedure alright. First, they had my wrist under an X-ray machine, where they scanned it repeatedly, flipping it from flat to side to flat to side. A side monitor showed the X-ray of my wrist and they held a thin metal wire pointed at my wrist as a guide. There was an exact location where they needed to pinpoint, and it was interesting for me to see 3 doctors and one nurse pottering around me for this purpose. Finally, they drew a target with a marker and fired off the X-ray again to check its position. All good.

The next step both puzzled and alarmed me. She started slathering yellowish brown iodine over the area. And that wasn't just it. You know how in medical series, during say, a stomach surgery, they would lay a blue cloth over the patient's tummy with a gaping hole in the cloth exposing the incision point? Yea, that cloth with a hole was laid over my wrist. Wha... what is going on...?

And then they jammed a needle right between my palm and wrist joints.

Of course, I exaggerate. But for drama sake, I'm sticking to that wtf. Actually I made it sound like it was a one-shot kena, but it wasn't. They needed to shift the needle around a bit and push it in a wee bit more. All the while, my hand was X-Ray-ed continuously to see whether it's between a certain area in my joint. Being a rather morbid person, I was looking at the monitor throughout with great curiousity; I observed that I had a fat hand.

Eventually, my knees weakened like jelly; though, not so from the visuals. Pain is easily recognisable but gosh, the sensation I felt when the needle wriggled around in that area was absolutely new and weird. Nevertheless, I was in good hands and tried to suck it up. At least on the outside. My progression of questions and thoughts went something like this:

To the doctors: "Hmmm, there is a little pain."
Inward speech: I can take it I can take it! I shall be awesome!!

"Uhm, that's rather uncomfortable."  

"Owww. Pain."  

"Owwww owww, okay, that is painful. Is it supposed to feel *that* uncomfortable?"
 ...I'm going to lose my hand, aren't I? ;_________;

Rather uncomfortable is an understatement wtf. Finally, 2ml-4ml of dye was pumped in, and I get to nurse my wrist and jelly legs in peace.


MRI reveals the dye seeping into other areas of the joints, which proves the presence of damage. The doctor judged that it was a stretched ligament since I got that injury from climbing, and it might be what I suspected too - a Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex injury.

TFCC is a structure on the ulnar side of the wrist (the little finger side) that consists of ligaments and cartilages... it stabilises the bones in the wrists, acts like a shock absorber and generally helps with smooth movement. For now, I can't do certain movements like fully turning my wrist, or things like pushing a door open with my palm flat on it as I would feel some pain. There is definitely some loss in strength in that hand too. Was given this device during my physio where I quickly grasp it and it would record the pressure in kilograms. Right hand, 25kg; left hand, 19kg. Apparently, even if I'm right handed, the difference shouldn't be that big.

Otherwise, I'm remaining optimistic in that it will heal enough so I can go climbing again (*coughcough* :P). I know ligament injuries are notorious for its slow healing period, because there is no blood flow there. Same goes to cartilage. So patience is absolutely necessary in this.

It does suck. My new climbing buddies' enthusiasm and rapid improvement had me wanting to be a little more than a casual climber. They are freshies in this, but boy, did they got good fast! I geram I cannot climb now ;_____;. And after two years of climbing, I just got myself a harness; Black Diamond's Siren in Aruba Fire - that has so far only endured heavy molesting from me, and not actual usage. I was supposed to get new shoes too, because my old ones have holes already; probably from too much smearing and probably bad footwork. AND I had to cancel my plans to learn lead climbing at Batu Caves. Ish.

 So now, I still do join them in their weekly climb. Not to climb, but to shout betas from the bottom and tell them that my grandmother can climb better than that.
"You call that climbing? Really??" 
(Copyright to

I kid. I just hang around and watch people climb (which I find enjoyable, even more so if they climb well) and figure out the route problem in my head. Mental climbing can be pretty fun in its own way; I do get this little thrill in my muscles when navigating a route theoretically :D. Oh, I was pretty gutted few weeks back as the gym has finally changed a large number of routes on the walls. It's a very good thing, but there was this route that I've been working on prior to my injury. That route was very enjoyable but there's this one part where I couldn't get past. I was eager to retry that darn route once my wrist heals. Oh well :(.

Meanwhile my form of filling up time now is jogging... which I must be more diligent in. After losing some weight when I got back from India (bless their curries and how it didn't fatten me up though I ate in abundance <3), I have gotten rounder T_T.  Or, on some days like today, I forgo going to the climbing gym and catch up on my books. I've just finished one a couple days ago actually, which I'm struggling to understand its insights properly. This is probably a good thing... maybe an injury can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.


ML said...

No climbing for you !!!

gianne said...

Of course! But eventually... :D