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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Things You Didn't Know About Me: I Have Erb's Palsy



Say WHAAAAAT? 
Don't worry, it sounds worse than it is. Well, than it is now. 


If you've never heard of Erb's Palsy and would like to read more, read my Hub: What is Erb's Palsy? 


Lets start waaaaaaaaaaaaaay wayyyy back at the beginning, because that's why I have Erb's Palsy. 



When I was born, I suffered from a birth trauma where the doctor pulled too hard on my right shoulder, tearing the nerves in my right arm (known as the brachial plexus).


Because of this birth trauma, my tiny little newborn self was left paralysed in my right hand and arm. When I was just a few months old, I had my first surgery to try and repair the damage.


As a baby, I had regular physiotherapy/occupational therapy to try and repair the damage that was done. Thankfully, t payed off and by the time I was 2, I was beginning to regain movement in my arm and hand.


As I got older, my arm was always an issue. It was the reason I didn't get picked to be in dance groups, never played sport, hated PE, could never do freestyle or butterfly and didn't like wearing singlets. I couldn't catch a ball properly, had no chance of throwing anything with it and couldn't reach up to grab anything.


As I grew, the movement and functionality of my arm did too. It seemed to jump up in stages. I remember one year, I was only able to lift my arm 90 degrees from the side of my body - and then all of a sudden, I could suddenly life higher. 


These days - My right arm is much weaker than my left, and my shoulder blade and collar bone sit incorrectly from the muscle and nerve wastage. I can now reach up to about 135 degrees from my body without pain - and can do a lot more when I'm pushing myself (which I do a lot and regret even more). 


It causes me a considerable amount of pain on some days, and others I don't notice it. I don't wear singlets because I'm self conscious about how much my shoulder blade appears to someone who doesn't know and, like in the picture at the top, I am commonly seen with my hand across my stomach - simply because it's more comfortable than holding my arm at my side. 


The way it affects me most is with rotation and lifting. I cannot turn a door knob with my right arm because it's impossible for me to rotate my wrist. Likewise I can only reach upwards completely if I'm using my left arm to help. We call it the gammy arm because sometimes I just look like a right royal idiot when attempting to do something I probably shouldn't. You'll never see me lifting weights on Southern In Law because it just doesn't work!


Do I think I have a disability? No, I have limited ability.


So tell me, what's something about you that others don't know?


    
   


4 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story, Kristy :) I have an Erb's Palsy resource over at www.erbpalsy.org. If you find the information useful I would be so grateful if you would link to it from this blog article.

    My best to you,

    Arthur

    ReplyDelete
  2. and checkout facebook for a multitude of support groups out there :)

    ReplyDelete

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