He jests at scars that never felt a wound

So on Monday my laser eye surgery got cancelled. Just as I was about to walk out the door to head to the clinic, I got a call saying that the laser had not met its parameters in the morning safety testing, so they had to cancel all the surgeries for the day because they needed to get the laser fixed. I’m glad that they take safety seriously and that they found this out before starting surgeries for the day rather than while they were shooting a laser beam into my eye, but it was really annoying because I’d specifically picked the date because it was after the end of the summer hockey season but before the start of the fall hockey season. Also because it’s before the semester starts and things get busy with teaching and a week when lots of people are on holidays, so I wouldn’t miss too many meetings. But mostly so I wouldn’t miss hockey. They’ve rescheduled my surgery for next Wednesday, so it’s really throwing a wrench into my schedule. But what can you do?

The silver lining was that since I’d booked myself to be off work, I had no meetings scheduled for the week, so I was actually able to get work done. It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you don’t spend all your time in meetings/preparing for meetings. It also allowed me to go see my doctor on Monday (since I didn’t have any meetings) to find out what was wrong with my elbow.

Two weekend prior, my elbow hurt. I noticed it on the Friday night. I felt like I’d banged it really hard and caused a bruise, but I hadn’t banged it at all. On the Saturday, I was at my friend’s place and she was like “what the hell is wrong with your elbow?” She’s a paramedic and she was like “You should go get an antibiotic. I think it’s infected.” She took a photo for me and I was like “omg, that does look horrible”. You can’t really get a good look at your own elbow, so I hadn’t seen how bad it looked.


It was quite warm and definitely hurt. My friend pointed out there was a scrape on my elbow and she asked, “Have you played hockey recently?” I had, in fact, played on the Wednesday, so her theory was that I had a scrape on my elbow and then put on my filthy, filthy elbow pad and it got infected. “Your body clearly fighting the infection and it might get better on its own, but if it doesn’t, go see your doctor.”

By the Monday, it was mostly better, so I didn’t see the doctor and then it was pretty much fine, until the following Saturday when I woke up in pain as I bumped my elbow and it hurt like a mofo. it didn’t get nearly as red, but it was still a little swollen and a little warm. So when my eye surgery got cancelled on the Monday, I called my doctor and was able to get an appointment (not with my own doctor, but with one of the other doctors in her practice.

I fully expceted him to say that it was infected and to prescribe an antibiotic. But he did a bunch of tests and then was like “It’s two separate issues. You have olecronon bursitis. You also have medial epicondylitis

915 Elbow Joint
OpenStax College, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bursitis, as I learned all too well from that time I had hip bursitis, is the inflammation of a sac of fluid in a joint known as a bursa. Thankfully, this isn’t nearly as painful as the hip bursitis, but it’s very unpleasant. It hurts if I bump it, or even lightly brush it up against something, and it hurts a bit if I bend it. The only treatment for bursitis is to rest it, but do you know how hard it is to rest your elbow? You bend that sucker all the time1

I took a few days off the gym to let it reset and when I went back on Friday, I talked to the trainer (who, as luck would have it, is studying to be a doctor of osteopathy, so is very knowledgeable about anatomy and injuries like this) and she helped me modify my program so that I am not doing anything that woudl aggrevate the elbow. Unforutnately, the trainer who write my programs wrote my next two programs because she’s off on mat leave2 and they are pull-up/chin-up focussed because that’s what I’ve been working on lately. And pull-ups and chin-ups are definitely something that would aggrevate the old olecronon bursa!

Medial epidcondylitis, which is also known as golfer’s elbow or baseball elbow, is caused by damage to tendons in your forearm. It’s usually caused by repetitive motions, but I don’t usually do repetititve motions involving my elbow. I definitely haven’t been playing golf or baseball.

I read that bursitis can be caused by an infection, so it’s possible that I did have an infection a couple of weeks ago and then my body fought it off, but not before it irritated my bursa and caused the bursitis. As for the medial epicondylitis, I didn’t read anythinga bout it being caused by an infection, but maybe it’s just an incidental finding? Like maybe it’s from something like typing (which is a repetitive motion that I do that involves my forearms) but it’s never really been symptomatic and the doctor only noticed it because he was testing my elbow because of the bursitis.

So, at any rate, the only thing I can do for these things is try to rest my elbow. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that my eye surgery will cause me to miss my hockey game next week, so that I have one extra week of resting my elbow?

  1. I’ve started trying to hold my phone only in my right hand, because I tend to hold it in my left hand with my elbow bent. I’ve been holding books I’m reading only in my right hand so I can keep my left elbow straight. I’ve decided to not crochet until my elbow gets better, because you have to have your elbows bent for that. Oh, I guess I haven’t mentioned on her that I am learning to crochet! It’s super fun and now that I can’t do it, it’s all that I want to do. []
  2. It’s not unfortunately that she’s on mat leave. That is lovely. It’s unfortunate that I can’t ask her to write programs to accomodate my elbow deficiency for the next couple of months. []

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