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Lieve Lissens Broken Arm Interview
Part 2 - The Hospital
In part 2 of this 3-part interview with injured Belgian skater Lieve Lissens,
she describes what happened
at the hospital after her skating fall, including the diagnosis of her injury
and the operation to repair the damage to her arm. (For a description of
Lieve's skating fall see
Part 1 of this interview).
Interview Part 2
After your May 2003 skating fall at the track in Tienen, Belgium
did you realize immediately how seriously you were injured?
Yes, I knew it was bad, because a few minutes after
I fell, my wrist expanded to twice its normal size.
When I tried to move my fingers and my wrist I could move them a little bit, but
it hurt a lot when I tried. I also thought my hand was not in the right place,
and it felt like things were moving inside my arm and my hand.
The other skaters at the track could
see how serious my injury was, and one of them took
me to the hospital immediately.
How far were you from the hospital and
what happened when you arrived there?
It only took about 5 minutes to drive to the nearest
hospital. When we got there, the first thing they did was
X-Ray of my hand and my arm.
X-Ray of the Bones in Lieve's Hand
After the doctors looked at the X-Rays,
what did they tell you about your injury?
They told me my hand and arm were fractured in multiple places
and they needed to operate immediately.
It was lucky for me that I had not eaten lunch that day, because
since my stomach was relatively empty, they were able to
start the operation 30 minutes later.
How badly were your bones broken?
The large bone above my wrist was broken in several places, and
one of the smaller bones in my arm also had a piece of it broken.
What procedures were performed by the doctors during the operation?
The doctors put metal pins in my arm in four different places.
Two pins were put in the large bone in my arm and two pins
were put in my hand.
How long were those pins?
I saved them as a souvenir, so I will go measure them.
OK, the pins are about 8 centimeters long.
Ha - some souvenir!
Did the pins stick out of your arm, or were they
completely enclosed inside your arm?
Four pins were sticking outside of my arm after the operation,
and I had to wear an arm appliance that had metal bars and screws
to prevent the pins from moving.
Lieve's Broken Arm After the Operation
When you have pins sticking out of your arm
like that, over an extended period of several weeks,
are there any special procedures required to prevent infection
and other problems?
Every day a nurse came to my home to remove the tissues,
disinfect the skin around the pins, and apply new tissues
around the pins.
She came every day. That's incredible. I don't think I could
get that kind of service in Los Angeles
unless I was completely disabled.
When you have four pins sticking out of your arm for
six weeks, doesn't it HURT?
The first two weeks after my operation
it did not hurt a lot, but after that it started
hurting like hell when I moved my arm.
It was so bad, the only thing
I could do was sit in one place without moving at all.
Was it the pins that were making your arm hurt, or
was it the broken bones that hurt?
Most of the pain was not caused by either of those things.
It was my muscles that hurt,
because they were growing around the pins inside my arm.
How long did that kind of pain continue?
About two weeks after that pain began, it started going away,
but every time they changed the position of my hand, the
pain started up all over again.
Lieve I know you have several skating Web sites of
your own, and you are the (very excellent) Webmaster of the
RSC Tienen skating club Web site. Were you able to
work at your computer at all after the injury?
And could you exercise, at least a little, to stay in shape?
I could not skate or take part in any other sport during this time,
but working on my computer was
possible using only my left hand.
One handed typing.
I guess I would do that also, if I had to, but it seems impossible,
especially if you are a touch typist.
Yes, and it takes a long time to get a story out using only one hand.
You were injured and operated on May 5, 2003.
That was almost four months ago. How long were
those pins in your arm?
The pins were left in my arm for six weeks.
Do you remember the exact date the pins were removed?
Yes, the pins came out on June 16, 2003.
Six weeks after my operation the doctors
removed the pins, and they did not use anesthetics
of any kind.
Yes, but they told me if it was hurting too much
I could return the next day and have it done
using an anesthetic.
How did they get the pins out?
Did they spin them around like you do with
a shish kebab, and just pull them out?
It seems like that would really hurt.
Yes, that's what they did. And you do feel it.
After they removed the pins, could you start skating immediately?
How much recovery time was left?
I could not use my fingers to type properly for several weeks
after the pins were removed, and I could not do many other
things. To open a bottle I couldn't. To open a door with
a key I couldn't. I spent time with a physiotherapist,
but there were many things I couldn't do
during the first weeks.
When were you able to start skating again?
I'm still not skating!
I know it's been four months since my injury,
but two weeks after I had the pins removed they discovered
some serious problems.
More of This Interview
Part 3 of This Interview, Lieve talks about
the serious complications that followed her broken
arm surgery and why she is still not able to skate
5 months after her injury.
Lieve Lissens Bio and Photo
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