No MRIs: One Downside of Cochlear Implants

I haven’t blogged as much lately as so many things hit at once.
My kid with the challenges was having a lot of them and at the same time a herniated disc and inflamed piriformis muscle hit. The pain prevented me from walking, so I had a series of three epidural steroid injections. The first one led to the rare spinal headache leading to the rarer epidural patch procedure to stop the spinal headache.
Within a week of the last injection, a tennis match led to skier’s thumb injury. My son — with the challenges — smashed his pinkie finger just days before I hurt my thumb. His hand swelled and looked bruised. He was fine withing a few days.
Because of his experience, I figured after a few days, my thumb would be all right as it was just bruised and swollen. Followed the RICE procedure (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Five days after, it was still swollen.
I surfed to reputable medical sites and researched my injury (before I found out it was called skier’s thumb, so it was hard to figure out what terms to use). Everything pointed to go to the ER because untreated, the thumb could have permanent damage. I’m a full-time writer and I can’t have that!
X-ray showed no broken bones, but doctor was concerned about ligament (ulnar collateral ligament (UCL)). The hand doctor called for an MRI. Oh, wait. I can’t have an MRI because my cochlear implant involves a magnet in my head.
So, the doctor called for a CT scan and the radiologist had never done one on a hand before. To make matters worse, the CT scan couldn’t get a clear picture of the ligament making it a waste of time and further delaying the hand’s repair (time was of essence).
Just a couple days short of four weeks after the injury (recommendation is to repair UCL within four weeks), I had surgery. Had it been a partial tear, we could’ve avoided surgery. But since the CT scan was useless, the doctor had to dive in.
Good thing it was a ruptured ligament making the surgery worth it. Bad thing it was a ruptured ligament making it difficult for me to type (imagine how long it took to do this and other long posts). This surgery, the three ESIs and my son’s unexpected medical bills are making finances a little more challenging made worse because of this time of the year. Life. Is. A. Gift.
My hand sits in a big bulky splint rendering my thumb and wrist immobile. While I can type with nine fingers, the injured hand has to turn to be able to type and it causes pain.
Despite all this… several stories and a book inspired me as getting down on yourself does no one good. Besides, I’m alive, aren’t I? Having lost my father almost one year ago makes me appreciate that more. The rest of the story is over at my writing business blog.
P.S. One of those stories comes from Karen of Deaf Mom World. I wondered how much more I could’ve accomplished had I been born with hearing. But my wise mother pointed out that being deaf could’ve motivated me to be much more than being hearing. After all, much of my life has been about showing people I can do anything just as well as they could … or better (except hear and sing).
P.P.S. Lesson learned: Fall with hands flat instead of fingers and thumb trying to catch my fall.
P.P.P.S. More articles about thumb injury that you’d never ask unless it happens to you. Knock wood:
* eMedicine Health on skier’s thumb
* WebMD finger injuries
* Better Braces on ulnar collateral ligament injuries to the thumb

6 comments

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  1. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. It sounds painful.
    Yes, that’s a wise mom that you have there. I remember when I first came across your site on the ‘net– I was duly impressed. Still am. YOU continue to inspire me. 🙂

  2. Hi, Meryl!!
    Ouchie!! Thumbs are important of our lives, no matter what!! skier’s thumbs… I learned after many accidents around my fingers and thumbs, that I need to protect them in any way. Never know!! I wd prefer to avoid any surgery!! Glad yours got fixed and got better!
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    deafk

  3. Sports was my thing while growing up and I’ve been fortunate I had few injuries. But, this one certainly taught me the value of a single thumb. Even with my good thumb, I was having to cut back on a lot of things.
    Deafk is right — our hands do so much for us. So take it from me … try to keep your thumbs on the same side of your fingers while driving or skiing instead of gripping the pole or steering wheel as this increases chances of skier’s thumb. I just need to be sure to always flatten my hand when I catch myself falling.

  4. Good article on MRIs and CIs:
    http://contradica.blogspot.com/2008/12/mris-and-cochlear-implants.html

    • Johng170 on September 4, 2014 at 5:58 am
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    1. Yes, you may. No need to ask. Thanks!

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