Floating Bone Fix

A week ago, Garris had wrist surgery. He had been complaining of wrist pain for about six months. When he had an MRI done, the film showed a floating bone in his wrist, at the ulnar styloid process. The big knobby bump on the outside of your wrist.

When he was in third grade, he broke that wrist during wrestling. They set it, and we forgot about it. Either the bone didn’t ever heal properly, or he re-injured the bone somehow. Let me think – he’s constantly flying off his horse, getting clotheslined by calves and goats, getting bucked off, etc., etc., etc. Mom votes for re-injury.

He had this MRI visit in April, and the surgeon was ready to schedule the procedure to remove the bone. Garris told him he couldn’t do surgery until after the rodeo season was finished. I’m not sure what the doctor thought about the response, but it didn’t surprise me. So, he toughed it out for another month and a half, until his state rodeo was done.

The next week, he was in surgery.

Now, our situation is a little complicated, because of the divorce. Garris is on his dad’s health insurance, but he has his own card. Since the surgery was scheduled during my week with Garris, I took him to the appointment, but his dad insisted on being there too. In fact, he told me I really wasn’t ‘invited’ to be there. You can imagine how well that went over. I will go to my son’s doctor’s appointments, especially when they fall during my weeks with him.

His check in time was 1:15, so we went to Bozeman early to do some grocery shopping. He couldn’t eat before the procedure, so we checked in early, hoping they might get him in a little early. Surprisingly, it worked. They took him back to his little cubby, had him put on his gown, and they took all his vitals. The anesthesiologist came in to talk with us.

When she pulled back the curtain, she looked at Garris, then at me and said, “Wow! A bit of a family resemblance.”  Both he and his oldest brother look a lot like me, especially with the red hair.

She explained everything very well, answered our questions, then we were left alone to wait.

After a few minutes, his dad came through the curtain, complaining that we had checked in early. To be honest, I didn’t think he was coming to the surgery. It was an outpatient procedure, done at the surgery center. It was a low-key, non emergency situation. So, it really wasn’t imperative that we both be present. I had already signed the check in papers. And since Garris was going to be with me for the first four days, I had made arrangements for his after care.

The surgical nurse retrieved Garris and walked him to the surgical suite. We each went to the waiting room. I had brought my laptop, thinking I’d get a couple of blogs done while I waited. After only twenty minutes, the nurse called us in to speak with the doctor.

The surgery went very well. He removed the styloid process and showed us the ‘after’ xray. He was confident that would solve Garris’ pain issue. After another few minutes, Garris was in recovery. The nurse walked us back, and Garris was smiling from ear to ear.

“That was fun!” he insisted.

Whatever happy juice they used worked really well. It took longer for him to wake up than the actual procedure took. The doctor stopped in again. The nurses went over paperwork. We got Garris dressed. Put his arm in a sling. And started out the door.

Naturally, a downpour had started, so I had to retrieve the truck in a deluge of raindrops. Garris got in the truck, propped his arm on a couple of pillows, and off we went.

I had wanted his dad to pick up the pain pills, so Garris and I could just go home. I didn’t want to deal with a big store while Garris was still wobbly. But his dad said he couldn’t. So, we grabbed a quick bite through a drive-through and headed back to Whitehall.

The rain followed us all the way home. We stopped at Whitehall Pharmacy, got his pills and a couple of other things the nurses suggested. We finally got home around five o’clock. I settled Garris onto the couch, set him up with ice and a big glass of water, then did chores while he snoozed a bit.

He decided to sleep in the recliner that night, so I gave him a pain pill, forced him to take a big drink of water, and told him to yell loudly if he needed something.

Thankfully, his wrist only hurt the first night and day. He only took pain pills at night. We spent the weekend watching stupid movies. He slept a lot. I dropped him off at his dad’s house Sunday night, with his pain pills and instructions.

He comes back to my house tomorrow morning, and then next Thursday he gets his stitches out. I’m so thankful and relieved that he seems to be healing quicker than was expected. Originally, we thought he’d be in a cast for about a month. If everything looks good at his appointment next week, he’ll be able to start doing whatever he can tolerate. He just won’t be able to lift much at first.

I’ll be glad to get my riding partner back. My very own private laborer. My teenager. I know this is the last summer I will have him home. Next year, he’ll be working. I’m actually happy that he had the surgery this year. After all, it gave me more time with him. I will do everything possible to make this summer as fun as possible. And to make it last as long as it will.

He’s thankful because he’ll have a great scar on his wrist. And some girl, somewhere, will ask him about it.

Mostly, we’re both happy that he should be pain free in a few days. And then life can get back on track. He’s anxious to get back to riding his horses and practicing up for fall rodeo. Without any pain, he should improve in his events. And that’s the whole reason for fixing this floating bone.


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