Recovering from an Arm Operation

Old Dec 4, 11, 6:01 am
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Recovering from an Arm Operation

Dear all

My husband (who perhaps fortunately in view of this post does not read FT, indeed legitimately lambasts me for the time I spend on it), fell over while rushing around the school he is head of preparing for an inspection (those in the profession will understand his angst). He broke his humerus and had to have an operation in mid-November to pin the two bits of bone back together again (I am sure there are more technical terms for this ).

He is now back at work, principally without a sling. His consultant says he is fit to travel.

On Christmas Eve we are travelling in CW to LHR. He is nervous because he is quite large and is worried that the arm, which is still painful despite the cocktail of drugs he has been prescribed, will be hurt more by the squash of being in a new club world seat. It's his right arm. We thought the best place for him would be in a rear facing upper deck seat (not the exit row obviously as he couldn't manipulate the exit doors) where he can rest the arm with the aid of many pillows on the shelf where the lockers are. He is worried that that will be too low for comfort and he will be painfully squashed.

I would normally cancel the trip regardless of the cost, but my elderly mother is coming too so that option is difficult. I therefore wondered if there is anyone who has travelled with this sort of injury before and whether there are any tips either about the best seats or how to travel with the said injury, I would be most grateful indeed. I'd really like to relieve his anxiety if that it a reasonable thing to do.

Thanks a lot.

On a totally unrelated point I am flying LAX-SFO in business on AA next week. I am looking forward to seeing the differences with BA, not having flown AA transatlantic for a decade or so...

Last edited by hsmall; Dec 7, 11 at 2:26 am
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Old Dec 4, 11, 6:09 am
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Originally Posted by hsmall View Post
Dear all

My husband (who perhaps fortunately in view of this post does not read FT, indeed legitimately lambasts me for the time I spend on it), fell over while rushing around the school he is head of preparing for an inspection (those in the profession will understand his angst). He broke his humerus and had to have an operation in mid-November to pin the two bits of bone back together again (I am sure there are more technical terms for this ).

He is now back at work, principally without a sling. His consultant says he is fit to travel.

On Christmas Eve we are travelling in CW to SFO. He is nervous because he is quite large and is worried that the arm, which is still painful despite the cocktail of drugs he has been prescribed, will be hurt more by the squash of being in a new club world seat. It's his right arm. We thought the best place for him would be in a rear facing upper deck seat (not the exit row obviously as he couldn't manipulate the exit doors) where he can rest the arm with the aid of many pillows on the shelf where the lockers are. He is worried that that will be too low for comfort and he will be painfully squashed.

I would normally cancel the trip regardless of the cost, but my elderly mother is coming too so that option is difficult. I therefore wondered if there is anyone who has travelled with this sort of injury before and whether there are any tips either about the best seats or how to travel with the said injury, I would be most grateful indeed. I'd really like to relieve his anxiety if that it a reasonable thing to do.

Thanks a lot.

On a totally unrelated point I am flying LAX-SFO in business on AA next week. I am looking forward to seeing the differences with BA, not having flown AA transatlantic for a decade or so...
Good luck on getting many pillows! When in a similar situation I learned the hard way and for future flights, I bought some travel pillows that I stuffed in my hand luggage. Real pillows but smaller, maybe about 15" x 9". Your strategy for a rear facing UD seat sounds a good one.
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Old Dec 4, 11, 6:15 am
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Originally Posted by hsmall View Post
I therefore wondered if there is anyone who has travelled with this sort of injury before and whether there are any tips either about the best seats or how to travel with the said injury, I would be most grateful indeed. I'd really like to relieve his anxiety if that it a reasonable thing to do.
Would suggest (in a rather uninformed manner) asking doctor for a letter confirming ok to fly but recommending elevation of arm etc during the flight - and calling BA to request a suitable seat given you'll have the letter. Did travel AA SFO-JFK a few years ago shortly after a shoulder operation - flight was fine, but was a bit anxious about how to position myself during flight etc. I presume the return overnight would be a bigger issue for him given more likely to want to sleep / recline fully though
(how about a middle seat with an empty one to the right as an alternative?)

I'm sure someone more qualified will be along shortly anyway!
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Old Dec 4, 11, 6:19 am
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The shelf is actually a fair way from the seat if I remember correctly, so it may not be that it is of no use whatsoever, although it could be fine with a few pillows laid on top covering the gap. Without knowing your husbands height, what height he would like to have the arm etc, its pretty hard to say iif it would work or not.

I suspect by far the best option would be a middle pair on the main deck assuming you would be willing to give up your side of the arm rest! Although I suppose the divider could get in the way!

Edit- this pic shows the situation pretty well, looks better than I remember re the gap, so it could be perfect for your needs

http://www.ausbt.com.au/real-world-p...business-class

Last edited by Cap'n Benj; Dec 4, 11 at 6:25 am
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Old Dec 4, 11, 6:54 am
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Originally Posted by hsmall View Post
Dear all

My husband (who perhaps fortunately in view of this post does not read FT, indeed legitimately lambasts me for the time I spend on it), fell over while rushing around the school he is head of preparing for an inspection (those in the profession will understand his angst). He broke his humerus and had to have an operation in mid-November to pin the two bits of bone back together again (I am sure there are more technical terms for this ).

He is now back at work, principally without a sling. His consultant says he is fit to travel.

On Christmas Eve we are travelling in CW to SFO. He is nervous because he is quite large and is worried that the arm, which is still painful despite the cocktail of drugs he has been prescribed, will be hurt more by the squash of being in a new club world seat. It's his right arm. We thought the best place for him would be in a rear facing upper deck seat (not the exit row obviously as he couldn't manipulate the exit doors) where he can rest the arm with the aid of many pillows on the shelf where the lockers are. He is worried that that will be too low for comfort and he will be painfully squashed.

I would normally cancel the trip regardless of the cost, but my elderly mother is coming too so that option is difficult. I therefore wondered if there is anyone who has travelled with this sort of injury before and whether there are any tips either about the best seats or how to travel with the said injury, I would be most grateful indeed. I'd really like to relieve his anxiety if that it a reasonable thing to do.

Thanks a lot.

On a totally unrelated point I am flying LAX-SFO in business on AA next week. I am looking forward to seeing the differences with BA, not having flown AA transatlantic for a decade or so...
If he had his operation in mid-November, Christmas eve would be about 6 weeks from the surgery. Though there are variations in rates of healing, he should not be in SIGNIFICANT pain then. This is because the bones would have knitted enough together not to be flapping about in the wind.

You did not indicate whether he had a plate on the bone or a rod within the bone. The latter would probably be more comfortable initially.

The best seats would have been 62A or 62K though these are out of the question for him. Any of the A seats in the lower cabin would be my initial choice and Es as 2nd choice if he is travelling with you. I am assuming it his right arm. If it is his left arm, it would be K and F respectively.

I expect him to be fine, whatever you decide, a sling during the journey would evoke the necessary sympathy and support and prevent people bumping into his arm. Keep fingers and arm moving and be mobile in the plane to prevent other problems.
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Old Dec 4, 11, 7:10 am
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I agree with the other posts.

- have you told your insurance company. Some need to be told what is going on and get a little misserable if you havent informed them.

- please do allow extra time getting through security. Sometimes the pins set them off. I did see one man at Asda set the alarms off because of motorbike accidents and his leg, he was still on a bike as well!!

- Check which drugs he can drink with. Co-codomal isnt one. But he can decide if he needs that or a Whisky! Dont knock whisky for pain relief, I used it last Xmas, I am not sure this one though.

- He might always be in pain when it rains. I dont know about him, but I am. Dont fall off a horse.

- Try not to worry. Give yourself extra time at the airport getting there extra. Once he is more relaxed he will be happier to travel.

- I find the US relaxes me.. I am sure he will enjoy himself. I even go to the toilet less out there!
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Old Dec 4, 11, 7:16 am
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Just read you email again where you indicate that it is his right arm. A would be my choice then. He is "large"? Ignore the E choice then though that depends on how large.
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Old Dec 4, 11, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by hsmall View Post
Dear all

He broke his humerus and had to have an operation in mid-November to pin the two bits of bone back together again.

He is now back at work, principally without a sling. His consultant says he is fit to travel.

On Christmas Eve we are travelling in CW to SFO.

I therefore wondered if there is anyone who has travelled with this sort of injury before and whether there are any tips either about the best seats or how to travel with the said injury, I would be most grateful indeed. I'd really like to relieve his anxiety if that it a reasonable thing to do.
Hi - I am an Orthopaedic Consultant and specialise in shoulder girdle conditions/injuries. It's difficult to be precise without seeing radiographs (Xray films) etc but from the information you've given I think your husband should be very reassured.

He is already outwith his sling i.e. his surgeon is satisfied that the fixation is sound for early mobilisation. He will be 6-7 weeks post-op at the time of the flight so his surgical wound will have healed and his fracture will be well on the way to healing. I would (a) encourage him to mobilise his shoulder /elbow as much as possible and (b) ask you to carry his bags!

I'll defer to all the FTers as regards seat placement as I am a veritable newbie in that regard.

I trust you'll both have a pleasant journey and Merry Christmas.

The 'Roonerino
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Old Dec 4, 11, 7:41 am
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Having flown with plastered wrists, a few thoughts

* Check with BA whether they have any special requirements. NZ - for example - required me to have the cast cracked in case my arm swelled up in flight. Your doctors approval isn't enough here, the airline need to be happy.
* As others have noted the lockers will be too low and far away. Take a couple of pillows or coats with you to make into a minibed, but that will have to balanced on his legs.
* If he is still on painkillers then plan the strategy for the day so he takes them in a way to maximise their effect during the flight
* Pre-board with the old people and children

Hope it doesn't spoil the trip too much.
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Old Dec 4, 11, 7:44 am
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Hi

Window seat on right hand side of upper deck sounds a good choice to me. In fact, I have just vacated 60A on the LHR-SFO run! I must admit, I never considered the side locker 'shelf' as an arm rest - it is probably possible to rest the lower arm but the shell of the seat will impinge on the shoulder-upper arm somewhat. Obviously, the more you recline the seat, the more you disappear within the shell. But these are great seats (nice and quiet, great personal storage, great view) and, on balance, I think I'd be more than happy to 'tough it out' in one under the circumstances you describe - especially with Christmas in SFO as the reward!

Anyway, I hope it all works out and that you have a great trip.

Regards,

PR
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Old Dec 4, 11, 7:59 am
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Having been married to a Physio, I can say her advice would be to buy an inflatable beach ball and blow it up to about 70%. That way it'll mould itself into any gaps and provide a good base to place a pillow on to keep the arm raised.
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Old Dec 4, 11, 8:08 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingOnceMore View Post
Having been married to a Physio, I can say her advice would be to buy an inflatable beach ball and blow it up to about 70%. That way it'll mould itself into any gaps and provide a good base to place a pillow on to keep the arm raised.
That's a bloody good idea....could have many useful applications.
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Old Dec 4, 11, 8:22 am
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Originally Posted by BicesterTerrier View Post
....could have many useful applications.
Like?

(agree that it is a good idea though!)
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Old Dec 4, 11, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by BicesterTerrier View Post
That's a bloody good idea....could have many useful applications.
Indeed it is although a Michael Palin type inflatable globe might have more street cred in CW than a beach ball.

I have used a roll up water container as an inflatable pillow when camping a few times.
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Old Dec 4, 11, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
Indeed it is although a Michael Palin type inflatable globe might have more street cred in CW than a beach ball.

I have used a roll up water container as an inflatable pillow when camping a few times.
I'd agree with that, I once used the bag from a wine box when I hurt my leg and it was very helpful.
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