the warranty on my elbow


I’ve mentioned in previous posts about the little surprises that were dropped on me by medical professionals after I broke my elbow. For example, there was the time, pre-surgery, when a doctor called in an assistant to hold me down if necessary while the doc physically shoved my bone back into its socket. (It worked, but didn’t last long because there was so little socket left.) Then, in the months after the surgery, there was the revelation that “extra bone” might be growing back into the elbow region.  And when it was confirmed that this was indeed happening (heterotopic ossification), I learned that this would require additional surgery. Oh yeah, and I’d have to spend five days with my arm in a machine that would move it up and down like hammering man. Oh, and one more thing, actually there would be another surgery after that one. During this third surgery, they’d wrap the bone in cadaver tissue and the next day they’d shoot it with radiation.

So I’ve got the cadaver stuff, I’ve got the radiation, I’m working on physical therapy, and I’m getting used to the snap, crackle, and popping sounds that occur when I use the arm. That’s normal. I guess. Next revelation: “By the way, that elbow fix we did will last about ten years. You’ll need a new one eventually. Don’t even think about it now. Move along, please. We have bigger, bonier, fish to fry.”

I was never offered an extended warranty. No free replacement. In ten years I’ll have to do it again and the surgery will cost more than the GDP of the European Union and U.S. combined. I thought titanium was forever. Maybe it is. Maybe it’s the bone rubbing on the titanium radial head that requires fixing in 2021. Whatever.

Typical 12-year-old elbow joint:


3 thoughts on “the warranty on my elbow

  1. dangblog

    Yeah. Bike accident. August 2008. Wear elbow pads when you ride. And knee helmets. And breast plates. And a kidney cover.

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