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I got really dizzy and fell out the back door. Some how I missed the 12 feet of concrete patio and landed in the flower bed. That was three and a half years ago. I broke My left humerous. It was an open fracture and a complete break. It actually looked as if I had two elbows on that arm, one just about 4 inches from the other. They put a rod from my shoulder to the elbow the first time. When that didn't take, they went back in and put a small plate and screws. That didn't work so they went back with a huge plate. Fast forward to now. I have very little bone growth around that plate and it remains hugely broken every where else. It jumps in and out of place a good 3 or 4 inches many times a day. It is still very painful. My physician has now decided that I need 6 months to a year of a bone growth stimulator. I think it is way past time for something like that, it is too little too late for that. I am at a loss as what to do next. Any suggestions?


I know that some of you will think this is way off topic, but I was a caregiver for many, many years to my husband's 96 year old aunt, and to his 92 year old father. I feel like my newly retired husband has taken over the role as my caregiver now due to all my health problems these days.

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Let us know how the apts go Stew. I am specially interested in the parathyroids. Thyroid meds don't do anything for the parathyroids. So good luck.
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I decided to go on to tomorrow's appointment to this orthopedic surgeon just for another opinion. I am just so tired of it all. I go Monday to the last surgeon. This time just may be the "oops you're fired" visit. Both of these docs are in the state's teaching school. The surgeon I will be seeing tomorrow is also a professor there. I also will be going to my endocrinologist tomorrow. I had thyroid cancer 15 years ago, but they were able to save my parathyroid glands. I am checked each year to make sure it stays gone. Menories disease is an auto-immune problem in my case. I have always healed easily and without any trouble prior to this. I had a calcium and a vitamin d ran about 3 weeks ago and they were normal. I also take iron each day and thyoid medication. I am also dealing with mono now.
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Just to add a little more about the parathyroid lands. Although they are located within the structure of the thyroid they are independeant structures and one does not influence the function of the other. They are extremely tiny and hard to find but do control the level of calcium in the body which of course influences the strength of your bones and their ability to heal. They can be surgically removed these days with a tiny incision. I would definitely recommend consulting an endocrinologist before embarking on any further orthopedic treatment. If you are close to a major teaching hospital try snd consult someone there. This is a very specialized area of medicine.
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Stew do you have osteoporosis involved in this. Do they keep the arm immobilized to give it a chance to heal. Seeing a new orthopedist is essential or even a third or fourth if necessary. Not a great believer in natural remedies myself but clearly the bones need some help regenerating. have they had any problems with this manufacturers hardware like they have with some hip replacements.
Don't want to bring up acary subjects but is it possible you have cancer anywhere and this lack of healing is related to that.
Another thing to get checked out is your parathyroid glands. They are four tiny glands located in the thyroid gland in your neck. Maybe make a visit to an Endocologist.
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Perhaps go to a naturopathic doctor. Sometimes, I think modern medicine is not enough and you need to explore other avenues. Acupressure, acupuncture, massage, herbal ointments ...........etc. etc. Don't knock it till you've tried it.
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What about the Meuniere's? If it were me, I'd want to check that the team as a whole is taking it into account - not that I'd know if it's significant, I'm not pretending I do, but I'd want to be sure they're looking at the problem holistically and involving a proper physician - maybe a haematologist?

My mother had an open fracture of her wrist, so just hearing about your - yes VERY nasty - break made me wince for you; but she was a lot older than you, with longstanding cardiac and renal problems, and it still healed up just fine. There must be something else going on; and meanwhile you're in pain and significantly impacted by this while they dilly about complacently - it makes me feel very cross on your behalf.
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I have an orthopedist, an orthopedic surgeon, and my regular doc involved. The first surgeon was fired very early on. I am seeing a new ortho on Thursday. It was a very bad break. I was told that it was going to be really hard to heal, but i certainly didn't think i would still be dealing with it this long. I have researched an ortho surgeon that specializes in non-unions on the web. The problem there is the ones i found were too far away to travel for multiple appointments and possibly a surgery. My husband just retired from work to make things a little easier on me, but something 4 states away is just way too far for us and our finances. I do very little driving these days and no lifting or gripping with that arm. I can't open a bottle of water, can't pull my covers up in bed with it. I am very tired of being so dependent. I keep wondering if things will ever change. This is a very humbling experiance for me. I have always been a care giver. I took care of my grandparents growing up as they were good enough to let me live with them, i was a nurse, a mother of 3 and a wife. I took care of 4 elderly relatives and a friend. Now i don't exactly know what to do with myself. Sorry for the long post and rant. I do feel a little better grtting it off my chest.
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Stew are you talking to a physician or a surgeon? You have known circulation problems and an injury that hasn't healed in three years. I'm astonished that you've waited this long to get a second opinion. Make sure it's from someone who isn't basically a carpenter.
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My hubby jokes that he has some duct tape in his shop that would do a better job, lol. I wish it could be put in some type of brace or casted, but due to it's location that is not possible. I am going to talk with surgeon to see if he will open it up on more than one side and put in multiple braces. Something has to give. It hurts so badly that when i move it during my sleep it awakens me due to the pain.
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If stem cell therapy isn't covered by medicare and a secoundary insurance here in Mississippi, then it will not help me. I am a retired nurse ( due to menieres disease) but have not fallen since breaking that arm and i have not even bumped it. The pain of a broken arm really woke me up and i have been really careful since. I started using my walker and taking all precautions since. I am eating a healthy, well balanced diet and taking a drug store full of vitamins. I am just really tired of all the everyday pain, all the out of town doctor's visits and hospitalizations with it.
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Stew, it wouldn't hurt to do some research on healing foods and add them to your diet if you already haven't.

When I had PT for my torn rotator cuff, I met a man who told me about a treatment which helped him. He had been through either 2 - 3 rotator cuff tears, 2 on the same arm. But this man was in fantastic shape, even though he was recovering from the last tear. I was surprised he even needed PT.

I don't recall all the details but he underwent some kind of cell transfer, I believe. And I think it was called stem cell therapy. I had the impression it was very expensive, but he had the demeanor of someone at an executive level so I expected that if his health insurance didn't pay for it, he had the means to do so himself.

He accredited his marvelous recovery to these implant procedures.
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Thanks everyone for the well wishes and advise. My last x-rays looked pretty much the same as the ones prior, no more healing. Much of my arm has a 2-3 cm gap between the breaks. I am in the process now of changing doctors, that is if i can find one with a good reputation that will take me. I do wear an ace bandage a good bit, and at some times, even a sling. Thank goodness i am right handed, and this is my left arm. This is the first break of my life. I haven't fallen since, or injured it any way. I usually heal well after surgeries, though i would imagine a break would be different. I don't know of any blood or bone illnesses, and i just had a check-up. Thanks again for all your responses and all suggestions are welcome.
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Would wearing some kind of support like an ace bandage help the pain?

I like that, Stacey-"be on the rod to recovery".

Hoping soon you will be healing, Stew.
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Wow, that sure is a long time to go without proper healing! I would definitely be getting a second opinion on the best way to finally get on the rod to recovery, and it definitely does sound like one more surgery may ge needed, if there is space between the bones, unless the rod is to forever take up the lack there of! With the hone growth stimulator, they will need to go back in, debride the endplates of the bones, to encourage new bone growth, and I'm guessing that there will be some sort of stabilization left in place, the the electrodes implanted for the external stimulator device. It will be like a new fracture all over again, and should be treated as such! There should be a lot of good information about these in the Internet and even on Utube, where you can learn more. Your Dr should be advising you towards learning about your options! As others have questioned, is there any reason why you have been a poor or slow healer, such as Osteoporosis, or other bone inhibiting factors, that your Drs have yet to uncover? Bone death does occur, as well as blood ilnesses should be ruled out. Good luck with recovery!
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Be like a cat each morning, and stretch. Unless with the pins, rods, plates and screws it could be contraindicated.

I agree, get that second opinion.

I personally would start massaging the arm and shoulder myself, using some of the special pain cremes, or essential oils. Unless that too is contraindicated.

You mention the area around the break is hugely broken? Do you also have osteopenia or osteoporosis, or maybe an infection? Explore that with a new doctor-if not addressed with your doc by now, it may not be too late for you to get help, but it is too late for that doctor, imo.

Address the problem, get treatment, then be patient for the pain to resolve.
Find out why you fell, have you fallen since then? Articles on this forum and online address finding out why is important.
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stew, I feel for you, I know how painful what you are going through as last year I broke my humerus, but the break wasn't a complete break. Yikes, all the surgeries you had.

I did have physical therapy once the break healed and I remember that thump feeling in the arm which I though was the bone, but the therapist said it was muscle moving over muscle that made that feeling, and in the beginning it did hurt... eventually that went away... whew, as it was so weird feeling.

I had an orthopedic surgeon check out everything, no surgery was needed, but due to my age it would take longer to heal. Now that the weather has gotten colder, I could feel a mild ache at the break site. It took me 6 months to get back to almost normal. Being right handed and the break was the right arm, it great getting back to eating like an adult instead of a toddler :P

I was the driver for my parents, who were in their 90's, but I couldn't drive for 6 months because my arm wouldn't straighten out to shift gears much less turn the key to start the vehicle. So I had to cancel all of my parent's doctor appointments. Still a week after my fall, my Dad called to see if I could drive him to get a haircut.... hello, no.
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Did you have physical therapy after each of the attempts to restore full use?

I'm not at all familiar with bone growth stimulators, so I don't know what pros and cons there might be.

I too would seek a second opinion. I don't know enough about the bone structure of the arm to even hazard a guess about the fracture and the treatments, so this is definitely an issue for a medical professional.

If you have any hospitals in your area that are more naturally oriented than surgically oriented, I would also consider consulting someone in their orthopedic department.

One in my area does have that orientation - therapy before surgery, acupuncture if appropriate, herbal salves vs. ones with chemicals. The hospital even has a greenhouse in which organic produce is grown, used for hospital meals, and sold to the public on a weekly market day.
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Have you gotten a second opinion from a different orthopedic surgeon?
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