October 2, 2009

My Broken Family

My mom has always been supportive of my need to study human bones, as she's a nurse and thinks it's pretty cool herself. A couple years ago, she got me a DVD of the cardiac cath that my aunt had done. It was cool to see not only her heart beating but also the small bone spurs on her thoracic vertebrae. (Note: do not tell your aging aunt that she has evidence of minor arthritis in her spine, as she will freak out.) She also gave me a copy of a dental xray that my grandfather had, which was cool because he (unfortunately) has few teeth.

A few weeks back, my mom tripped while helping move some furniture and fell backwards - hard - onto her left wrist. It promptly snapped, possibly because this is the second time in her life she has broken it and possibly because she's getting older. But at that point, even in a fog of pain, my mom knew the drill: request copies of any and all tests that look inside her body. Here are a few of the images I pulled from the CD they burned for her, both when she injured it and after reduction and casting.

The first one is a lateral view of her wrist. You can see just how badly she fractured her radius because the nice strong white lines end abruptly, and the distal end is smushed sort of dorsally. Ouch.



Here's a dorsal view where the wrist doesn't look quite as bad, plus the same view after the doctor tried to manipulate the bone back into place before putting on a temporary cast.



Then last night, Patrick injured himself pretty badly at basketball. His right ankle was swollen and painful. This morning, it was still pretty badly swollen and there was a giant bruise that just kept getting bigger. As it's a Friday and we didn't want to risk an ER trip over the weekend, I got him an appointment to see a doctor this afternoon. The GP didn't think it was broken but sent us to a radiologist across the road to get an xray anyway. Definitely not broken, but I did get to see inside Patrick's leg. Here are three views: medial, anterior, and anterolateral.





The only weird thing is the distal tibia. To me, that looks like a line of epiphyseal fusion running horizontally, but Patrick is too old to have vestiges of that line... isn't he? Anyway, I find this all terribly cool, even if my mom and Patrick are a little freaked out about seeing their own bones. Maybe if these were reminders of my pain and discomfort, I'd be weirded out by them too.

4 comments:

SPAK said...

These are pretty cool photos. I didn't know that you could ask your doctors for them. I was just wishing that I could keep copies of my own medical tests and stuff for future reference. And to show any new doctors should we move back to Canada or somewhere else.

Cecilia said...

A lot of hospitals are getting rid of their old films as most are digitized now, so it's worth asking around. I missed my chance for some x-ray films at our local hospital but I have been told that there might be some left from pediatrics.

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