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Old 15-05-2007, 21:36   #1
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Unfamiliar snapping sound

I live in Hawaii and my beloved "Faiaoahe" is in San Leandro, Ca. I bought her in the State of Washington a few years ago and have been refitting her ever since. Everything was coming along quite nicely...New rigging and roller furling, almost new Yanmar 4JH, electrical system, solar and wind gen. You get the drift. It really looked like Mexico this winter. I am an importer and was doing an 8 week sale relatively close to the marina. This would give me a lot of time to repair ports, new rails and mount the Monitor. I decided to remove the funky old companionway hatch cover and build a hard dodger incorporating the new f/g cover. After removing the rotted wood cover, I needed to move my Livingston dink that was preventing access to cleaning the area. It seemed to be jammed or stuck on something, so I gave it a quick jerk with my right arm...SNAP!!! I could not believe the intensity of the sound. It sounded like a piece of 3 strand line popping one strand at a time but in a span of 2 seconds. Then I felt the creepy feeling of something slithering inside my arm. I was injured and injured badly. My intincts was to grap my arm and sit perfectly still.
As it turns out, It was a distal bicep tendon tear. This tendon attaches your biceps muscle to the bones just below your elbow. I am now in a sling after 1 1/2 weeks and the area has since turned black and blue. All I could think about was never sailing again. It made me want to throw up. It was a totally freak accident but it could have been prevented. I'm in my early 50's and because I lead such an adventurous life...caving in Thailand, Sailing, building houses on occasion, I thought I got plenty of excersize. At my age what I needed to do was stretch more. Keep the body use to extending all of my joints. That tendon was not ready for it. If I stretched every morning I really feel this would not have happened. I had surgury on my right armpit after a motorcycle wreck in 1975. After that I was unable to extend my right arm fully. It never bothered me and I never thought about it. The tendon, ligaments and muscle got use to limited travel. So when I jerked it straight...well, you get the picture. I talked to 2 Doctors that say it may mend on it's own. The other option is expensive sugury and 6-9 months of expensive therapy. I'm praying for option one. Needless to say, Mexico is off this year. Just imagine how nice Faiaoahe will look with an extra year of sprucing up.
I guess the message of this post is to say, for the rest of you getting on in years, your not 20 any more. Time to take care of yourself and wring an extra couple of years of your body. The other message is...if your young...go now!!!
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Old 15-05-2007, 22:15   #2
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It may be difficult, but if you were to just amputate your arm, you could still sail with only one arm. Just kidding, we all bang up our bodies sometimes, deal with it and don't ever say you can't go sailing anymore' because that is just giving up hope and we can never give up hope. I know an 87 year old man out there sailing and he doesn't let a little pain stop him. Good Luck.
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Old 15-05-2007, 22:59   #3
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Aloha Marty,
I'll bet that hurt like H---. Sorry to hear that your Mexico trip is canceled. Had a shoulder injury from chainsawing above my head on one of my Ohia trees. I'm still recovering after a year but able to do more each day. Can't pull the cord to start my mower or an outboard with my right arm because of it. It doesn't feel terrible when I do but sure does in a couple of hours.
Good luck on recuperating without surgery.
JohnL
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Old 15-05-2007, 23:19   #4
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"All I could think about was never sailing again."

It's hard to face our own limitations and mortality and this is a good reminder to be thankful for our abilities and capabilities. It's also a good reminder to not "wait for retirement" or some other future time to enjoy life. As far as we know for sure this is our one and only trip and there are no dress rehearsals.

Our club runs a program for disabled sailors. We have about 15 boats rigged with all kids of different controls. We have boats with hand controls only and boats with foot controls only for double amputees.

It's amazing what is possible.
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Old 15-05-2007, 23:36   #5
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See there you go, Thank you.
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Old 15-05-2007, 23:45   #6
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Dude - hang in there. I fractured my r elbow 15 years ago. I can't straighten my arm and I have a 1.5" screw and 2 washers in the end of my humerous. Radial head is cracked and slightly displaced. I live with some amount of pain every day. From your ealier accident you have found that your body will adapt. You are right, stretch it and build your strength up slowly. Wait to heal before you do this. After 15 years of cigars, whiskey and beef, I decided that I need more excerise. What do I do? I take up kendo. Now I have young korean boys hit me in the head with a bamboo stick 3 times a week. Elbow hurts like hell, but I am getting stronger. I have learned to adapt to my body's limitation. You can too and be happy. At our age we should have the patience and wisdom to accept reality, work hard to improve it and enjoy what we love. Occainsionally I get to hit those young korean men in the head as well. Now they don't treat me like I'm their first manager at McDonalds.
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Old 15-05-2007, 23:48   #7
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Ouch. I was expecting that you were goignt o say you broke somethign on the boat. Not yourself.
Hmmmm, tendon damage is slow with even the youngest. I have damage done from teenage years and even younger that have never healed.
I am also not sure if "warming up" would have helped. Research in sport medicine has shown that warming up before playing a game, has not lessend the percentage of injury sustained in sporting games. I doubt (although I am not a Doctor) that a tear from a bone could be helped by stretching etc. Tearing from a bone is a little more seriouse and complex. And besides, you have already said you are still very active. So it isn't down to simply no excersise and no strength. Just age/wear and tear from playing hard.
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Old 16-05-2007, 02:31   #8
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I was doing some heavy work (oil industry) about 5 years ago when I heard the same sound, coming from my right shoulder. Tore the Supraspinatus tendon off my femur. Had a shoulder reconstruction, where they drill a hole in the femur and sew the tendon back on, and I was told - "you cannot actively move that arm for A WHOLE YEAR (!) till the tendon has reattached properly"

I had similar thoughts to you, my life is stuffed, no sailing for at least a year, no work for even longer than that, what am I going to do?.

Then I had a physiotherapist tell me that I would NEVER be able to do any heavy work ever again..... real morale booster she was..... but after two years I'd say I was at about 60% of where I used to be, (I used to be very strong though) and I was able to do heavy work just as well as most people.

Now I am halfway through building my own boat, so I would say I proved the physio wrong.

During the 12 months my arm was immobilized I still went sailing - my wife learned a lot about sail handling in that year, and we sailed VERY conservatively, never unreefing the mainsail at all.

Having 2 years of restricted duty at work meant we travelled a lot, work was too boring, and we found a far better place to live, and a far better lifestyle too. In fact that torn tendon could be one of the best things to have happened to me.

Looking at 12 months plus of having little or no use of one arm was a real shock - but when it's over it really wasn't the end of the world, just something to adapt to. When I was undergoing the physiotherapy (which was sheer torture, 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, for the most part) I saw people who were facing much tougher times than me, so I was just happy to have gotten off as lightly as I did.
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Old 16-05-2007, 04:16   #9
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What a great post! Not such a good thing having an injury, but to remind everyone that we need to be just as careful with ourselves and our health as we are with our boat's health (more so, even).

This post rings true. If you're sick/injured, etc... it could prevent you from sailing no matter how well prepared the boat is. Excellent reminder.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestialsailor
I live in Hawaii and my beloved "Faiaoahe" is in San Leandro, Ca. I bought her in the State of Washington a few years ago and have been refitting her ever since. Everything was coming along quite nicely...New rigging and roller furling, almost new Yanmar 4JH, electrical system, solar and wind gen. You get the drift. It really looked like Mexico this winter. I am an importer and was doing an 8 week sale relatively close to the marina. This would give me a lot of time to repair ports, new rails and mount the Monitor. I decided to remove the funky old companionway hatch cover and build a hard dodger incorporating the new f/g cover. After removing the rotted wood cover, I needed to move my Livingston dink that was preventing access to cleaning the area. It seemed to be jammed or stuck on something, so I gave it a quick jerk with my right arm...SNAP!!! I could not believe the intensity of the sound. It sounded like a piece of 3 strand line popping one strand at a time but in a span of 2 seconds. Then I felt the creepy feeling of something slithering inside my arm. I was injured and injured badly. My intincts was to grap my arm and sit perfectly still.
As it turns out, It was a distal bicep tendon tear. This tendon attaches your biceps muscle to the bones just below your elbow. I am now in a sling after 1 1/2 weeks and the area has since turned black and blue. All I could think about was never sailing again. It made me want to throw up. It was a totally freak accident but it could have been prevented. I'm in my early 50's and because I lead such an adventurous life...caving in Thailand, Sailing, building houses on occasion, I thought I got plenty of excersize. At my age what I needed to do was stretch more. Keep the body use to extending all of my joints. That tendon was not ready for it. If I stretched every morning I really feel this would not have happened. I had surgury on my right armpit after a motorcycle wreck in 1975. After that I was unable to extend my right arm fully. It never bothered me and I never thought about it. The tendon, ligaments and muscle got use to limited travel. So when I jerked it straight...well, you get the picture. I talked to 2 Doctors that say it may mend on it's own. The other option is expensive sugury and 6-9 months of expensive therapy. I'm praying for option one. Needless to say, Mexico is off this year. Just imagine how nice Faiaoahe will look with an extra year of sprucing up.
I guess the message of this post is to say, for the rest of you getting on in years, your not 20 any more. Time to take care of yourself and wring an extra couple of years of your body. The other message is...if your young...go now!!!
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Old 16-05-2007, 06:41   #10
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ClestialSailor - I feel your pain - literally - had the same problem as 44CruisingCat with the addition of a large spur in the acromion (socket) and several tears of other muscles and tendons in the shoulder. Had it operated on last November and did the physio etc - but it didn't feel like it was healing properly - got another MRI last March and guess what - they need to re-operate. I am putting it off until after sailing season though.

I was a contractor but have now retired. I took it easy last season and sailed very little because of the pain but now I will still need to go easy this year and I also found out I have bi-lateral carple tunnel syndrome which needs an operation on each wrist. I still consider myself fortunate though because of all that I can do and enjoy.

I'm 52 this July so we're about the same age. Welcome to the Old Farts Club and Good luck healing up.
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Old 16-05-2007, 10:42   #11
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Quote:
Welcome to the Old Farts Club and Good luck healing up.
Hey, junior, that's my line...<BG>

I've had trouble with different tendons (tendonitis) for the last 20 years or so. They heal slowly but they will heal. Good luck. Don't scrimp on the physio if you can afford it.
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Old 16-05-2007, 14:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benny
I also found out I have bi-lateral carple tunnel syndrome which needs an operation on each wrist. I still consider myself fortunate though because of all that I can do and enjoy.

I'm 52 this July so we're about the same age. Welcome to the Old Farts Club and Good luck healing up.
Benny...I'm a year younger than you...I used to have that Carpel Tunnel from handling 5000 bricks a day when I was younger...tough and dirty job...I had sore wrists for about 3 yrs...tried everything to get them fixed....sports doctors...regular doctors...everything....I could FEEL the tendon scraping inside it's sheath in my wrist....I finally went to a sports clinic and unbeknownst to me there was a chinese doctor there...he used acupuncture on my wrists ONCE for about an hour....my pain was gone and my wrists healed in about a week...it has NEVER returned....try that before getting cut open...good luck...
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Old 16-05-2007, 15:12   #13
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Celestial,
I reread my post and might have led you to believe my shoulder injury was from a cut from a chainsaw. It really was from holding the big old saw too high for too long. I think it is a torn something or other in the rotor cup? My brother has had surgeries in each shoulder from that same type of injury. Long recovery from the surgeries and no guarantees that it will work so I took the rest and recuperate option. So far it is ok and I can still sail and work on the boat.
Hope your injury heals at least as well.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 16-05-2007, 19:45   #14
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Rangiroo - thanks for the tip - I'll give eastern medicine a try - can't hurt and maybe it will wrk for me too
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Old 16-05-2007, 22:52   #15
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Actually SkiprJohn I thought the Ohia limb hit you.He he he. I do not want to mislead anyone. I have NO intention of not sailing and following my dream of voyaging. If worse comes to worse, I will get self-tailing winches and use my left or just hire an all female crew to go with. But Mexico is difinately out this year.
They whole area of the arm now is black and blue and I probably have 25% or so strength at the moment which is not bad after 10 days. So work detail has slowed to very simple projects now. I had ripped all the facia interior out of the boat before the injury, so now I can make patterns and make new facia boards. I may do a bit of plumbing also. My Thai Fiancee is on her way to Hawaii and I'm sure she will be aboard soon. Don't want her to think I am a total Caveman onboard. I want to thank everyone for their support. I will keep you updated as to my progress...Aloha...Martin
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