View Full Version : Going under the needle on Friday

Mike Cruz
11-03-2010, 10:43 PM
Well, some of you may know, through some of my posts or from me telling you during one of our get togethers, that I've been battling with a really bad case of tennis elbow since late June. Quick synopsis of tennis elbow for anyone who doesn't know what it is: all the tendons in your forarm link up onto a little boney spot of the elbow. If you run your fingers up your forearm until you bone, that's the spot. Tennis elbow is when you get microscopic tears in the tendons where they adhere to that bone. It hurts like heck, not only on that spot, but also your forearm gets really sore...and downright painful. Funny thing, I can still lift an 80 lb bag of concrete (with two arms), but can't grab a 32 oz soda from its top...

Anyway, it started out with my right arm. I got the first cortisone injection, and shortly thereafter (a couple of days) I was feeling right as rain. I was amazed at how well the shot worked. So much so, that I kinda forgot that I was supposed to be babying it. Well, taking care of our little horse farm, I stupidly stressed my arm in a way that put me back to square one with it...actually, worse than square one, because two cortisone shots later, it still hurts like heck. The first one worked, but the subsequent two just didn't do the trick. Part of the reason is that I rest for a couple days after the shot, but then get right back into tending to the farm, which inevitably reinjures my arm.

Long about right after the second injection into my right arm, I overcompensated with my left, and lo and behold, I got tennis elbow in my left arm! Dagnabit. :mad: A cortisone shot into THAT elbow seemed to work, but again, not resting it, it's all screwed up again, too.

So, my next option was surgery. The down side to that, other than the fact that I really wanted to avoid surgury at all costs, is that I would have to rest my arm for about 6 weeks. Can't do it, ain't going to happen. Ya see, my wife earns the money, I take care of the farm. That is our deal. For me to be out for 6 weeks, means she has to do it ALL for 6 weeks and that would be too much for her. Really, I couldn't imagine it.

The alternative to getting the surgery is an experimental procedure called something like Platlet Rich Serum Injection. Basically, they take my blood, spin it to seperate out the platlet rich serum and inject THAT into that spot on my elbow (no, not INTO the elbow joint, ON that boney spot). The idea, if I get the concept correctly, is that the serum is all the good healing part of your blood. Injecting that directly in a spot supposedly does a fantastic job healing an injury...naturally.

This procedure has been used on horses for YEARS. But it is still "experimental" on people, so...you guessed it...even with really good insurance like mine, it isn't covered. So, it's all out-of-pocket. :mad:

The downside to this procedure is that I hear it hurts like the dickens! Like reaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyy hurts. This is what my Ortho told me! Not just something I read online... I told my Ortho that I'm not really good with pain and asked if I could get something to take beforehand that would make me, well, let me just say "not give a hoot WHAT he does to me" when I show up there in the morning. He prescibed me Hydromorphone. Woohoo! I thought that ought to do the trick. So, upon his recommendation, I tried one pill on Monday evening to see how well it works. NOTHING! Seriously, just about NOTHING! No pain relief, no dizziness, no sleepiness, NOTHING. So, tonight, I tried 2 pills (dosage says 1-2 pills) aaaaaaaaaannnnndddd....NOTHING! Seriously, okay, maaaaaayyyyyybe it worked as a pain reliever...a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttle. I took the pills 3 hours ago, and even now as I type, not only am I clear headed, but my arms are sore as heck.

So, Friday morning I go in for the injection. My arm will be in a splint/soft cast for 10 days. While I'm in there getting the injection into my right arm, I'm going to get a cortisone injection into my left since I'll be on mandatory rest for 2 weeks anyway.

Oh, well, Friday morning I'll be screaming for sure. If you folks on the West Coast think you notice something at about 5:30-5:45 am your time, no it won't be an earth quake, it'll be me!

I'm SO looking forward to getting over this, but NOT looking forward to the procedure.

Ken Fitzgerald
11-03-2010, 10:48 PM
Hang tough Bro!

I have had procedures that were supposed to be painful and after the fact they weren't bad at all.

Often, they will prepare someone for the worst possible case so they won't be accidentally surprised.

Good luck!

Steve Schlumpf
11-03-2010, 10:58 PM
Mike - don't focus on the procedure - you have no control over that anyway! Focus on getting better and being able to live again without pain!

Best of luck with this! Keep us in the loop please!

Mike Cruz
11-03-2010, 11:00 PM
I'll hunt and peck at ya left handed if I have to! ;)

Robert McGowen
11-03-2010, 11:14 PM
Not that it will change your mind, but I have had my right elbow surgically repaired twice and the left elbow repaired once, all in the last couple of years. I was able to use the arm within a couple of weeks and am pain free at this time. It really is not that bad of a surgery. Good luck with your procedure though and I hope that things work out for you.

Baxter Smith
11-03-2010, 11:21 PM
Good luck Friday. Stay focused on what you have to do to fix up your lathe! Works for me when that dentist drill starts up!:)

Graham Symns
11-03-2010, 11:46 PM
Hi Mike,
Sorry to hear about your problem.
I suggest that you ask for Vallium.
I upset my back a few years ago and the get-out-of-pain-pill was the above.
Now I hate pain but painkillers really work on me so one pill later I was really floating...from memory I was still mobile and useful!
All the best

Regards Graham

Dan Hintz
11-04-2010, 6:55 AM
Funny thing, I can still lift an 80 lb bag of concrete (with two arms)...
And a 500+ pound lathe, evidently ;)

Let me know if you need some help with the heavy lifting stuff during your recovery... I could spare an evening or two here and there if it would help.

Belinda Williamson
11-04-2010, 7:29 AM
So sorry to hear about all this, Mike. I'll be sending you pain free thoughts starting around 4:30 on Friday morning. Just a thought, but couldn't you hire someone to help out on the farm until you recover? As Steve said, keep us posted. Don't make me come up there and hold you down until you are healed! :D

Tony De Masi
11-04-2010, 8:10 AM
Hang tough Mike. Surgeries suck but are sometimes quite necessary, as in your case. I know you have lots to do on the farm but do yourself a huge favor and don't push yourself back into action too soon. I say this becasue I know you and you'll get back out there before you should.;)

Good luck and you have my number if you need anything.

Mike Cruz
11-04-2010, 8:17 AM
Yeah, ya got me there, Tony... I'll do my best NOT to get back too early. Luckily, I think I have my wife on board with a FULL recovery before tackling too much.

Mike Cruz
11-04-2010, 8:22 AM
Oops, forgot to answer Belinda...

Yes, as far as help, we are doing our best to get folks in here to help. Everyone from my wife's parents (all too eager to come stay at the farm and help out...they are the best!), neighborhood kids, and my 21 year old ox helper. Unfortunately, he just went back to school for his CDL. So, he's not available during the week. We will keep looking for others as needed.

Thank you all, for your support and understanding...even if you're telling me to suck it up. ;) My focus will be on a smooth recovery. Getting better/effective meds, and keeping positive thoughts. I just had to vent out my frustrations and share with my "second" family.

Dan Hintz
11-04-2010, 9:02 AM
If Belinda is coming up, I'm definitely joining the party... that barn won't see a better party in its life. I'll stay in the stall with Snickers until we're best buds :p

Matt Meiser
11-04-2010, 9:24 AM
Ouch, that doesn't sound good at all. Good luck on Friday.

I've self-diagnosed tennis elbow in my right arm and its gotten bad enough I'm about to the point of making a doctor appointment. Most people have told me though that their doctors have told them to just not use it. But mine is the sorest when I wake up in the morning. I know what you mean about things that make it hurt. I refilled our softener salt this morning. Lifting the 40lb bags was no problem. Tearing off the perforated corner of the bag is what hurt.

Eric DeSilva
11-04-2010, 9:43 AM
Good luck, think of the end, not the process.

I developed pretty acute tennis elbow in both elbows as a result of climbing and mountain biking. Never had to do the surgery, but did get shot up in both elbows with novacaine and something else (that's freaky enough for me) and I also had to wear funny gauntlets for a rather long time. In the end, I quit climbing and it still took five years for things to heal. Don't try to restart anything too quickly--just let it heal. Best wishes.

Jason Roehl
11-04-2010, 11:53 AM
Best wishes on your needle stick. I went through a bout of tennis elbow in my right arm about 5 years ago. I didn't do anything about it other than I tried to avoid swinging a hammer, which is what I suspect caused it in the first place. It flared up right after I did the finish carpentry in a log home, which involved a whole bunch of T&G car siding (#2 pine) that was a pain to force together. A friend had told me that his doctor told him that the only solution was to put his arm in a tight sling for about 6 months. Being a painter, that was not an option for me. I just suffered through it, and it took about two years to go away on its own. I know what you mean about picking up the Coke--overhand lifting near shoulder level with my elbow at about 90 would just about make me cry for my mommy.

Heal quickly!

Mike Cruz
11-04-2010, 12:21 PM
Yeah, the coke is bad enough...we have a horse farm. What do horses eat? Hay. Think about how you lift a bail of hay...overhand grip with both hands...yeah, think that'll smart? :rolleyes:

Eric, I've been told by a couple of people that it took about 2 years for it to go away on its own. I just don't know if I can endure it for that long... What is most likely is that after about 2 years of this swelling and tearing, the tendons scar up, which in effect is what the surgery does on purpose. I'm just hoping this injection procedure does the trick.

Matt, doesn't that make you feel silly? Ugh, I hate it. And being able to lift the heavy stuff makes you forget that you can't do the little stuff, which in turn lulls you into a false sense of security and whamo, ooooouch!

Dan, I can see the party now... I better get the stalls all bedded up for those that, let's just say, need a place to rest their eyes...:rolleyes:

Dan Hintz
11-04-2010, 12:34 PM
Can you grab the bale strings without closing your fingers by sliding your hand, palm up, under the string and lifting? It's the squeezing of objects while lifting that causes the pain, correct?

Mike Cruz
11-04-2010, 12:39 PM
Actually, it is the squeezing and lifting OVERHAND that hurts. Underhand is fine. So, yes, I can grab bails underhand, but it is awkward and unnatural. It also forces the bail against your body, so throwing the bail becomes difficult. It is okay for lifting, though.

Jeremy Greiner
11-04-2010, 1:23 PM
I had spine surgery 10 years ago and they where able to do half of it with computer aided surgical something or another that made the recovery time 1/3rd of what it used to be for the same type of surgery.

That was 10 years ago, I bet it's even better now.

I wish you luck, in a month or so you'll remember what it's like to use your arm pain free and it'll be a wonderful feeling.


Joe Chritz
11-04-2010, 2:40 PM
Me too but I am not to the surgery level yet.

I feel ya.

Good luck


Belinda Williamson
11-04-2010, 3:28 PM
If Belinda is coming up, I'm definitely joining the party... that barn won't see a better party in its life. I'll stay in the stall with Snickers until we're best buds :p

Dan, I can see the party now... I better get the stalls all bedded up for those that, let's just say, need a place to rest their eyes...:rolleyes:

Tell you what, Mike, you take it easy and heal up. Dan and I will plan the party. You don't need to worry about a thing. :D

Mike Cruz
11-04-2010, 6:54 PM
Doc gave me Percocet today. I'll try one tonight. Also gave me Valium to take 1 hour before I show up...;)

Dan Hintz
11-04-2010, 7:02 PM
The percocet should make you feel like slapping yourself is perfectly acceptable, and the Valium will make you feel pretty mellow about doing it.

Mike Cruz
11-04-2010, 9:32 PM
Okay, what the heck is WRONG with me? I took a Percocet almost two hours ago...I'm waaaaiiiittttttttinnnnngggggg...... Almost nothing. About 45 minutes after I took it, I started to feel, well, buzzed. That was very short lived. I really hope the combination of the two will work in the am.

On another note, I'm very positive about the coming results. I can almost smell the lack of pain. I can't wait do to this, get it over with, and move on. Ya'll have lifted my spirits and got me a bit less nervous. Thanks!

Rick Moyer
11-04-2010, 10:28 PM
Mike, I sympathise about the meds. I broke seven ribs last year and had a script for Percocets for 2 every four hours (eight per day). they helped some but I had no other effects.

Leigh Costello
11-05-2010, 12:12 AM
Hang in there, Mike. After numerous orthopedic surgeries to arms, legs, shoulders, hands...I can tell you that the meds will work tomorrow. The problem is that you are wide awake? Well that just means you will be lucid enough tomorrow to tell the doc how you feel without promising pineapple upside down cake (yep, did this and he never got one). Hang in there, the cure might hurt but healin's in the feelin's!

Ken Fitzgerald
11-05-2010, 7:18 AM
You are in my thoughts Mike.

Belinda Williamson
11-05-2010, 7:19 AM
I'm trusting that right about now Mike is feeling no pain.

Steve Schlumpf
11-05-2010, 8:36 AM
Thinking of you Mike and hoping that all is going according to plan!

Mike Cruz
11-05-2010, 11:13 AM
Thanks, all. This may be a little short. I'm doing the hunt and peck with my left hand...

All went well. i ended up taking 1-1/2 Percocets and two Valiums this morning. THEY PRETTY MUCH DID THE TRICK! I'm loopy as can be right now. The procedure went smoothy. Practically painless. The crtisone shot in my left arm is actually more sore than my right arm. Gotta go take a nap. I got about 4 hours of sleep last night and am exhausted.

I'll update ya'll later.

Steve Schlumpf
11-05-2010, 11:15 AM
Good News! Thanks for the update!

Rob Cunningham
11-05-2010, 12:50 PM
Glad to hear things went well Mike

Belinda Williamson
11-06-2010, 8:50 AM
Hey Mikey, can you eat your cereal this morning, or are you still watching pink and purple polka dotted ant eaters dancing on the ceiling?

Dan Hintz
11-06-2010, 8:52 AM
He's having his wife spoon feed him.. playing the part, ya know :)

Mike Cruz
11-06-2010, 9:37 AM
While I didn't halucinate, it was like beening really drunk, but knowing what was going on around me. To be honest, I didn't really like it. I couldn't "control" it, and once you take what you take, it will do what it is going to do. Unlike alcohol, when you start feeling tipsy, you can stop drinking, and not get more drunk. This went past what I wanted/needed. Or should I say that it took effect long after I needed it to.

As for eating cereal, getting spoon fed isn't all its cracked up to be...so I used my left hand...

Thanks for concerns, though. :p

Ken Fitzgerald
11-06-2010, 9:38 AM
I want to know how Belinda knew about the ant eaters...even got the colors right?..:rolleyes:

Here's hoping things are going well for you Mike! Don't start back too early!!!!

Mike Cruz
11-06-2010, 12:05 PM
Well, I already cut the grass this morning. Split a cord of wood and stacked it. Did the stalls. And... are you kiddling me? I'm gonna milk this as long as I can! The arm is a bit sore today, much more so than yesterday. But I don't NEED pain meds...it's not stopping me from taking them, though. ;) :D

It is very comforting to hear everyone's concerns and best wishes. Thanks for the support.

Tony De Masi
11-06-2010, 12:31 PM
Glad everything went well Mike. Let the healing begin.

Mike Cruz
11-07-2010, 4:23 PM
Just a little update. Doing pretty well. The right arm is sore, but VERY managable. Resting it is certainly necessary. It is in a sling as much as possible. It is continuously in the splint. In a day or so, I take the splint off to start some motion, but then the splint goes right back on.

Left arm is doing extremely well. Resting it is key, I'm sure.

Paul McGaha
11-07-2010, 5:52 PM
You sound like you are feeling better Mike. Good.

Mike Cruz
11-08-2010, 8:53 PM
Per the Doc's orders, I took the splint off today to stretch my arm a little and get some mobility in it....OOOOOOUUUUUCCCCCHHHHHH!!!!!! That was enough pain to get me a little nauseous... Really. So, I went a little slower. Took a shower. Lots of hot water on it. Rested with the splint off, stretching it lightly and slowly. Muuuuuch, better. I am to take the splint off a couple times a day and stretch the arm. Funny how the splint lulled me into a false sense of security thinking my arm was better than it was...

Dan Hintz
11-09-2010, 7:17 AM
That's just the surgery tissue smartin'... you can't expect to cut into flesh without some residual pain. Once that clears, you'll have significantly better use of your limb... and stay away from tennis courts this time! ;)

Mike Cruz
11-09-2010, 7:41 AM
Yeah, I kinda wish they called it something other than tennis elbow... everyone seems to ask me if I did it playing tennis... Um, no, I don't play tennis. :rolleyes:

Belinda Williamson
11-09-2010, 9:38 AM
Yeah, I kinda wish they called it something other than tennis elbow... everyone seems to ask me if I did it playing tennis... Um, no, I don't play tennis. :rolleyes:

Just rename it hay tosser's elbow, or farmhand elbow. Glad you are on the mend.

Mike Cruz
11-09-2010, 10:26 AM
Dan, I'd love to agree with ya, but since they didn't technically cut into me, just an injection, I'm not sure that's quite it. I mean, I got a cortisone injection in the other arm the same day, and it is doing great so far. But, this is SUPPOSED to be sore, so I'm not worried, just a bit impatient.

Belinda, I LOVE it! I think I'll start calling it hay-bale elbow from now on. I think more folks around here would "get" that...

Dan Hintz
11-09-2010, 10:32 AM
Oh yeaaaaaah... and all this time I though you were a real cut up. Guess we'll just have to needle you about the pain for a while.

Baler's Elbow... gotta call it BE, for short.

Mike Cruz
11-09-2010, 10:40 AM
In case no one noticed, Dan hintz to every pun he can... ;)

Leigh Costello
11-10-2010, 1:15 AM
Take it easy, Mike. Glad it went well.

Mike Cruz
11-16-2010, 10:29 AM
Well, another update...for those who GAD. :D I went to the Ortho for my 10 day follow up. I'm not doing as well has he would have hoped. *SAD* *CRY* (You know, on a side note, I'm kinda starting to like my custome emoticons...*ROLL EYES* *BIG GREEN GRIN*) While I can move my arm for daily routine stuff, like putting on clothes, opening doors, and most recently being able to bend my arm enough to scratch my face or eat with my right hand, I still have a lot of pain if I make the wrong movements or move it too quickly (yeah, I know...so don't do that...) He basically told me how to do some stretches and told me to rest it for the next two weeks. Translated in my mind to...it didn't work, rest it and let's see if it gets better on its own.

Belinda Williamson
11-16-2010, 10:37 AM
From someone who GAD . . . keep your chin up Mike. We all heal at different speeds. Maybe you just take a little longer, you know, maybe you're a little slow on the uptake. BIG GREEN GRIN As you are not one of my galpals I can't recommend you get a mani/pedi and a massage, but I bet that would help. Rest, rest, rest!

Dan Hintz
11-16-2010, 11:03 AM
Awwww, Mike... do we need a group trip to the salon? ;) :p

Belinda Williamson
11-16-2010, 11:12 AM
Awwww, Mike... do we need a group trip to the salon? ;) :p

(with chin up and nose in the air, and a slightly audible sniff) You would be surprised just how therapeutic a group trip to the salon can be, Dan. Why just the thought of lolling about with absolutely nothing expected of one is relaxing in itself. Lolling about is an art though and should not be attempted by those who are not familiar with the proper technique. Mike, I could come for a visit and instruct you in proper lolling about and expecting to be waited on hand and foot but I do believe that would just ruin you for future farm hand duties.

Jeremy Greiner
11-16-2010, 12:19 PM
Your body is just taking it's time to heal, making sure it's done right .. not done fast.

Wish ya the best.


Mike Cruz
11-16-2010, 12:29 PM
I have a feeling it would do more damage to my MARRIAGE! Yeah, just show up on my doorstep to tell my wife that we are going for a pitty party petti, and you'll end up having to take me back South with you. ;) My wife was jealous enough of Dan. :D

Dan Hintz
11-16-2010, 12:40 PM

I would say I know exactly what you mean about the depressurization of a salon visit, but after the stares I (we?) got at Mike's last auction trip (maybe due to my earring?), I think I'll plead the fifth (or is that drink a fifth?). It doesn't help when people find out I decorate cakes, nor that I used to do cross stitch when I was bored (never did finish that emperor dragon before the hoop rusted and ruined the design, but I still have the pattern). Thank God I'm secure in my manhood ;)

Belinda Williamson
11-16-2010, 12:42 PM
I have a feeling it would do more damage to my MARRIAGE! Yeah, just show up on my doorstep to tell my wife that we are going for a pitty party petti, and you'll end up having to take me back South with you. ;) My wife was jealous enough of Dan. :D

Well heavens to Betsy! We can't have that. I was thinking more of you and Dan and some of the fella's goin' for the mani/pedi party. I was just going to instruct y'all on how to loll about and eat bon bons. I think I'll just stay in GA. The last two things on my list to acquire today are not an angry wife and another man. :D