And Then They Put Me In a Straitjacket

**  Ok, first things first – I'm having a giveaway beginning tomorrow and you will NOT want to miss out!  I am SO excited about it, I can hardly stand it.  Make sure to stop by again tomorrow!  **

So, I have a confession to make.  Right before I left for my trip to New York, Dr. Painless determined it would be in my best interest to have me fitted for a straitjacket.

Those of you who know me, and those of you who have been reading me for any length of time, are probably not at all surprised.

Dr. Painless was hoping he could have me straitjacketed before my trip to New York, but the entire transaction required more time than he had imagined and it ended up not happening until I returned.

That being said, the other day a Medical.Type.Person arrived at my house to "fit" me for my new NINE HUNDRED DOLLAR straitjacket.  

I shit you not.

Fortunately, my medical insurance company has deemed me straitjacket-worthy (could there be any doubt?) and they're picking up the tab for all but $50 of the cost.

My new brace straitjacket looks like this from the front:

Detail-s3-brace-front
It's tighter than you can imagine even in your wildest dreams of tight straitjackets.  (You do dream of straitjackets, don't you?)  It zips up the front and squeezes me tighter than I've ever been squeezed.  The lower portion wraps around my hips.  It's made of spandex and … (?) other stuff.

The back of my brace straitjacket looks like this:

S3-Brace-Top
 

The straps pull my shoulder blades (including the one that doesn't work) back into perfect posture/alignment.  It's something I can't accomplish on my own post-car accident.  The straps then wrap around to the front, stringing me up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

S3-brace

Since my accident, I'm usually hunched forward – particularly on my right side.  My right shoulder also is often raised very high if I'm trying to use my right arm.  (Since my arm doesn't work, my neck muscles strain to lift my arm creating a hunched-up look.)  

Hunch
 

When I'm not using my arm, my shoulder falls down lower than it should because I can't keep it where it's supposed to be on my own.

When I have the straitjacket on I stand up tall.  My shoulders are held back.  My posture looks perfect.  My breasts are flattened to near-nothingness.  My fat squishes out in all sorts of places because it's being squeezed in all sorts of inappropriate ways.

I'm very attractive in my designer straitjacket! 

(The straitjacket can be worn UNDER a shirt, but if I'm at home I wear just it.  Oh, and pants.  Sometimes shoes.  Did I mention panties?  A bra?) 

The idea of fitting me with this particular brace straitjacket, is to hold my upper body in the position it's supposed to be in.  I'm told it stabilizes my displaced shoulder.  It apparently does what my non-working muscles/damaged tendons/missing ligaments can no longer do.  The hope is that, in time, having the upper part of my body properly aligned will help with both my pain levels and the function of my arm.

I was in tears after ten minutes in the straitjacket on my first day.  I can't even describe the pain.  (Except to say … holy shit!)  Each day I'm supposed to increase the amount of time I wear it until I can handle a full 8 hours a day.  I'm up to about an hour now, but I need pain meds in order to handle it.  Supposedly, as my body becomes accustom to the straitjacket, the pain will decrease.

I don't know if I believe the pain it causes will ever decrease because, damn, it REALLY hurts!  (Not just while I'm wearing it, but for hours afterward also.)

To help with the pain, Dr. Painless has prescribed me pain patches.  They are non-narcotic patches of lidocaine which is a numbing drug.  These patches are generally used for nerve-pain – and yes, my arm and shoulder also have nerve damage.  I cut the big adhesive patches into strips and apply them to my arm.  I can wear them for 12 hours and they do help a lot, although nothing is strong enough to counteract the pain caused by the straitjacket.

Nonetheless, the patches are saving me lately.  They're reducing the amount of narcotic pain meds I need.  They allowed me to get to, and from, New York and function fairly normally while there.  (Of course, that was pre-straitjacket and the increased pain that came with it!)  

If I combine the pain patches with pain meds (and skip my straitjacket responsibilities) I feel the lowest pain levels I've experienced since the accident.  With the straitjacket, my pain levels are quite high, but I know I'd be in even worse shape without the patches..

The straitjacket is hot.  

I don't mean sexy hot.  It doesn't breathe.  It's a sweaty type of contraption.  I'm also convinced it will squish my boobs out of existence.  It's not a perfect device, by any means.  (I wonder if it would still work if I cut boob holes in it?  Probably not.)

Dr. Painless also wants me to consider having electrodes put in my arm and shoulder which would mean two (fairly simple?) surgeries.  That's another story for another day, but it's something he'll be meeting with me about in the next two weeks.  It could possibly help me a lot, but …?

If I have electrodes put into my shoulder, the two surgeries involved would put me at a total of EIGHT surgeries (so far) on my arm/shoulder.  Are the docs going for a new world record?

In addition, I already have bionic nipples.

Do I really want a bionic arm and shoulder too?

© Twenty Four At Heart

27 Responses to “And Then They Put Me In a Straitjacket”

  1. Joanne

    your bionic nips probably think this whole garment is an insidious plot against them. With no other intention than to make them behave! (maybe you could get away with nip cutouts?

  2. Karen

    LOL.. how did you end up with bionic…
    I have chronic back spasm and neck pain, going to a new PT today… I feel SOME of your pain, I can only imagine how frustrating it all is for you because the reason is some idiot driver’s mistake. I’m sorry you have to deal with it.
    BTW..you totally rock the purple hair thing. It really does look great on you. I could never pull that off.

  3. Jan

    The straight jacket sounds effing uncomfortable, but I hope it works! As for the electrodes, the temporary device my nephew had implanted worked really well for him until it came loose – he’s having a permanent one implanted next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  4. Erica

    Whether or not you get the electrodes it’s great that you’re discovering new options. I wonder if you’d still have the bionic nipples even if your boobs were squished out of existence.

  5. Michelle Pixie

    Monkey’s arm is the exact same! Slumped at the shoulder when she isn’t using it and raised when she is. I have to dress her in clothes that don’t need her shoulder to hold it up because it alays slips off and she ends up being half naked because her clothes don’t stay in place. Her muscles have started to atrophy around the shoulder blade, I sure hope we don’t have one of these in our future. I am so sorry you have wear this!

  6. Liz Tee

    But why no boob holes??? I would ask. That just seems so wrong, to silence The Girls like that.

  7. Kelly

    Would you wear the brace even with the electrodes in your arm?

  8. Tami

    I have questions. Why did no one give you this sooner? Would it have helped? What do the electrodes do? Is the strait jacket a forever thing? Or temporary?

  9. Pam

    It sounds like getting used to it is horrible, but I hope in the long run, it’s a huge success for your pain levels and movement. Good luck!!

  10. di

    Hmmm, are the implantable electrodes made by Medtronic? Hubby worked for them as a test engineer. They were and probably still are designing implantable pain devices… going to have to ask him about yours. He probably knows all about how they work.
    Glad to hear about the jacket. I hope it serves the purpose for you and gives the results that the doctor hopes it will.
    DI

  11. Maura

    That is quite a contraption, but if it does the job, hopefully it will be worth it in the end. Sending love and luck to see that it does!
    In the meantime, you *are* going to be getting out that Bedazzler, right? 😉

  12. Mattie

    I love how you try to make light of the stuff you’ve had to go thru. You have such a good attitude, but I wonder how hard it is for you REALLY to be going thru this.

  13. Joanne

    I like the way the front of it sort of has eyebrows for your boobs (boob brows?) crap, now I am getting all sorts of inappropriate visuals of smiley faces…… I may need meds too………

  14. Rob

    You don’t really want your bionic nipples to be lonely, do you?
    Invite your arm and shoulder – and other body part – to sign up!
    It’s gotta beat the hell outta being in pain.

  15. The Queen of Chaos

    While it’s literally a pain now, I’m sure that once your body gets back into alignment, and is used to the brace … I mean straitjacket … you will look back and wonder what the fuss was about! Ok, maybe not, because it hurts like hell… but it sounds like you finally have someone that is listening and responding to your needs AND is feeling that progress can be made.

  16. Jason

    This never ends, does it? I wish it wasn’t so expensive so you could cut boob holes in it. That would be fun. I would enjoy that. At least then you won’t have sweaty boobs.
    And even though you clarified, I still have an image of you walking around your house wearing ONLY your straitjacket.
    I’m frisky today, am I not?

  17. Poppy

    Hmm, might be worthwhile to ask about cutting boob holes. Hey, boobage is good, thinking if done right would not throw off the straitjackets purpose.
    I think I need a straitjacket. Would do wonders for my posture me thinks.

  18. Jill

    Holy sh*t. That’s a hell of a lot of surgeries – and way too much pain for anyone to be in. Hope this works… ‘cuz blessed, your poor boobs!

  19. San Diego Momma

    After all this? Which I am verrrrrrrrry sorry for?
    I would take your boobs over mine any day.
    Because I’ve met you, and bionic nipples and all? I would like to have your boobs.

  20. Alexis

    Suzanne,
    There are t-shirts specifically made to wear under our ballistic vests that help keep you cooler. Cool-max comes to mind right off the top of my head but it’s not the only brand. Check out ANY law enforcement uniform place like….(http://www.keeprs.com/)or(http://www.qmuniforms.com/) or even(http://www.uuniforms.com/). You might want to call them to explain what you’re wearing but one of those t-shirts should help keep you a little more comfortable while wearing your “vest”.

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