Setting Up Shop (The Gloat to End All Gloats Blog) #4: An Injury...

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by FaTToaD posted 03-09-2014 08:48 PM 2412 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: A Quick Update & A Messy Shop Part 4 of Setting Up Shop (The Gloat to End All Gloats Blog) series no next part

I know it’s been a while since I’ve added a post to this blog but between moving into the new house (and shop), holidays, work, etc. I just haven’t had a ton of shop time. I actually put off working on the new shop until after the first of the year so I could concentrate on the new house.

Anyways, after the first of the year I started getting the shop in order with the goal of being up and running by early spring.

Well, I was out in the shop late Valentine’s Day morning wiring up my new wall mounted speakers when the extension ladder I was on slid out from under and, for some unknown reason, I decided to stiff-arm the oak desk under me on the way down.

So after a few minutes of lying on the shop floor in shock I called my wife to help me up because my arm hurt. After walking around for a few minutes I thought I was alright. My elbow kinda hurt when I moved it but nothing felt broke and other than a couple small scratches on my left arm I considered myself really, really lucky.

Of course my wife wanted me to go to the ER just in case, and after a few convincing looks I agreed.

At the ER they took several painful x-rays, and informed me I had a broken arm. Something about the upper part of my ulna. Great, but it gets worse. The first orthopedic said I needed CT scans and to see an elbow specialist. I first managed to see the specialist’s assistant who didn’t have much to say, which was worrisome. When I finally did see the specialist/surgeon the news wasn’t good: Crushed radial head, fractures on the ulna, and finally ligament/tendon damage. Ouch. They called it “The Terrible Triad”.

My options were no surgery and I’d have limited range as well as arthritis in the next five to ten years or surgery and hopefully regain much of my range while possibly delaying the arthritis another five years, but a much longer recovery time. It was a pretty simple decision because at 32 years old, the idea of hardly being able to use my right (and dominant) arm was out of the question. Even though the surgery has its risk and it’s unlikely my arm will ever be the same, it seemed like my best chance.

So they scheduled the surgery for the 26th of February and all in all it went well. The doc said it wasn’t quite as bad as they thought once they were in there but I now have a titanium radial head. Here’s an x-ray from after the surgery:

Earlier this week (six days after the surgery) I had my first physical therapy. It went well and they said my movement at this stage is better than expected, so there’s hope in that. I also got an awesome arm brace that limits the range of my arm while providing support. I can actually sort move my arm around now which is a big improvement after being in a sling for two weeks. Here’s a look at my new hardware:

Things are certainly getting better but I’ve got a long road ahead. I’ll have physical therapy twice a week for at least the next four months with a five to six month total recovery time. Also, I still can’t expand the fingers on that arm. I can make a fist but I can’t open my hand. They said I have compressed radial nerve that could take up to a year to fully heal. So that sucks. I’m hoping it doesn’t take that long.

I guess it goes without saying I won’t be doing any woodworking for a while. I know I’m young and I’ll hopefully be back in action in limited fashion by next fall or winter, but I just got this awesome new shop and I haven’t really got to use it. Plus, and this is the worst part, we found out in January we’re expecting our first child come September and I had plans to build the crib, changing table, decorations, etc. this summer. I was really, really looking forward to it. It was going to be some my first large furniture projects as well as a great opportunity to learn the tools in the new shop. I know there will be plenty of opportunities to build all sorts of kids stuff over the next several years, like a treehouse! Still, it would have been nice to build the baby furniture.

At least I’ll get a gnarly scar out of it:

And speaking of getting back in saddle, I’m really hoping I can start turning towards the end of this. I just got my first lathe this past summer and haven’t had a lot of time to put towards it so practicing basic cuts and tools would not only be beneficial to me it would give me something to do in the shop. Without the distractions of other tools and projects, at least at first, I might be able to dedicate some serious time to learning the art of turning wood.

I’m not completely without things to do in the shop, but I’ll save that for the next post!

The final picture I’d like to share is the desk and the aftermath of the fall. I’m still hoping I can fix the desk because I really like it (it came with the house) and it doesn’t have to be pretty, it’s just a shop desk. I’m also still not sure what cause the ladder to slide out like it did. I wasn’t doing anything stupid but I had gone up and down the ladder a couple times already so maybe shifted and I didn’t notice? There was also still some snow on the ground and I had tracked some in so maybe the floor was wet? The ladder is old and has metal feet so maybe all the above combined? Anyways, I think I will be replacing that ladder soon…

Well, that it for now. Obviously I have a lot of time on my hands so there will be some more post about the shop soon. Thanks for reading!

Oh, and remember to be safe when you’re on a ladder!

-- David

16 comments so far

View NinjaAssassin's profile


641 posts in 1778 days

#1 posted 03-09-2014 09:13 PM

Man, that really sucks. I’m glad it wasn’t worse. Hope you heal up quick.

-- Billy

View Bob Kassmeyer's profile

Bob Kassmeyer

225 posts in 2979 days

#2 posted 03-09-2014 09:22 PM

Ouch, sorry you’re having to go through this. Heal quickly.

-- Bob Kassmeyer, Nebraska

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2061 days

#3 posted 03-09-2014 10:58 PM

Well the arm brace DOES look sorta Steampunk… so there’s that. And yeah, you’ll have a heck of a scar to make up stories about how you got it. :-)

The best part is you’re plenty young to get over it and heal completely. Just be glad you’re 32 and not 62

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 1671 days

#4 posted 03-09-2014 11:18 PM

Sorry for your bad luck, any way you can repurpose that arm brace as a tool. It would be one the no one would like to copy.

View NormG's profile


6202 posts in 3057 days

#5 posted 03-09-2014 11:25 PM

Ouch, well things happen and it was just lucky you had your wife there to speak the voice of reason. Well now you have a project to work on (the desk), heal well my friend

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View patron's profile


13611 posts in 3395 days

#6 posted 03-09-2014 11:46 PM

tough times

but on the plus side
new house
new shop
new kid
new tools
and a caring wife

and that brace might make a pretty good miter gauge
something to think about as you heal

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View hotncold's profile


783 posts in 1598 days

#7 posted 03-10-2014 12:20 AM

Big time OUCH! It sure looks like your first project (after recovery) needs to be rebuilding that desk. Can’t tell from the pics who won that battle but the desk probably won’t need to go to “rehab”...

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2744 days

#8 posted 03-10-2014 01:28 AM

Damn, getting hurt sucks! But could have happened to any of us.

Here’s hoping for a quick recovery.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View robscastle's profile


5144 posts in 2258 days

#9 posted 03-10-2014 07:18 AM

I have a platform ladder you can borrow any time.

That Robo Cop arm should get lots of conversations !!

You should be able to get lots of milage out of it taking the kids to school!

Stay well !!

-- Regards Rob

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29564 posts in 2392 days

#10 posted 03-10-2014 11:40 AM

That really sucks. I would be crippled without my right arm. Guess we deal with it. Hope for a great recovery. Keep posting.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2858 days

#11 posted 03-10-2014 12:09 PM

Holy mackeral David. Geesh! Sorry to see and hear of this. We just never know. Things happen in a blink. I wish you a speedy recovery.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View dbhost's profile


5736 posts in 3286 days

#12 posted 03-10-2014 06:13 PM

Sorry to hear of your injury, maybe it is age, or experience that taught me long ago to fear ladders. I don’t own an extension ladder and refuse to use one. My A frame ladders have a helper brace them before I step on it… A former colleague and friend of mine had an extension ladder come out from under him when he was about 10’ up, he cam crashing down and seriously hurt his back I guess 7 years ago now. He has been on disability since… Hopefully you will heal up with nothing more than a broken desk, broken pride, and a scar to remind you of the experience you gained…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Mike Throckmorton's profile

Mike Throckmorton

124 posts in 1718 days

#13 posted 03-10-2014 08:16 PM

The universe just told you something very important.

I bet your wife may have had some follow-up comments.

Mine always does.

-- You are never complete, you just draw a line where done is and stop at that line.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3095 days

#14 posted 03-12-2014 01:44 AM

Looks like the table could use your Surgeons number. Ha Ha, Hope you heal well.

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 3195 days

#15 posted 03-14-2014 01:19 AM

Thanks for all the kind words and the reminders it could have been much worse. I’m certainly thankful that my injury still allows me to work and will heal with a minimum issues affecting my day to day life. I’m certainly missing my time in the shop, but now that I’m feeling better and am more mobile I plan on cleaning the shop from top to bottom. This will allow to get to know my tools inside and out, do some routine maintenance, and get off the couch!

Thanks again for the support!

-- David

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics