• Under the Knife

    Injuries are tough to deal with, but they are part of the game of baseball. After playing nearly every day for six months, there are bound to be aches and pains. Some things resolve with rest, while others need medical attention. After this year ended, I had a wrist issue I knew I had to get taken care of. I got an MRI and after meeting with Dr. Steubs (the head Twins doc), I was referred to Dr. Berger at the Mayo Clinic. He is an ulnar sided wrist pain expert, so I was hopeful that he could fix me up.

    My wife, Emily, and I took the trip down to Rochester on Monday to have an evaluation done. Dr. Berger introduced himself and began feeling around for pain and discomfort. He found a few areas and then looked at the MRI to determine the significance. While wrist pain is often very difficult to diagnose, he told me there was a 95% chance I had a split tear in one of my ligaments called the ulnotriquetral ligament (UT for short). The best way to explain this is with Twizzler's Pull and Peels. Rather than the ligament ripping across the Twizzler's, it was separating the long way. The fibers were tearing and opening like a book.

    Dr. Berger had performed this operation many times since he invented it eight years ago. He has performed it on baseball players, golfers and many others. I felt fairly confident in his ability to fix the problem so we decided to do surgery on Wednesday.

    We arrived at the surgery center around 9 am and by 9:30 I had an IV in. The nurse advised my wife to ask questions after she put “truth serum” into my line. An anesthesiologist arrived and explained that the surgery would be performed with a nerve block. She numbed my skin and hooked up an ultrasound machine so she could see exactly what she was doing. She was trying to explain to me what was happening on the screen. All I could think was, "I'm just glad you went to a lot of school to learn how to do this."

    Once a sufficient amount of numbing medication was injected into the nerves beneath my armpit, she checked the results. She asked me to pull and then push. Eventually she pushed my wrist down and it just flopped, all feeling was gone. Staring at your own arm without sensing it is a very odd feeling.

    A little later, in the operating room, I was given more sedative drugs and sent off to lala land. I woke up what seemed like 5 minutes later. Dr. Berger came in and said the split tear was deep (picture the binding of the open book falling apart), but he was able to stitch it closed. He also found another small tear in the area and was able to clean it out. He handed me a sheet full of pictures for proof. It appeared to be a bunch of clouds inside my arm, looked like it was about to storm. Again I thought, “good thing he knows what he’s looking at.”

    I'll be in a post surgery cast for two weeks, followed by four more in a plaster cast and then a removable splint. The doc tried to apologize for the hour and a half drive to get the casts changed, I told him it was a very small price to pay to have him cut me open.

    I'm not allowed to exercise for two weeks, so Netflix is currently keeping me sane. A healthy dose of pain meds, Parenthood and naps will fill the next few days. I'm lucky to have a wife that takes care of me/puts up with me post surgery (she was also there after the nose smashing incident my first year).

    I hope you enjoyed the look at an injury from the player's perspective. I'm happy to be on the road to recovery!

    Follow me through the recovery process and the offseason on Twitter! @APettersen1


    You can also follow my wife as she gives a little different take on minor league life @em_pettersen or on her blog emilyandaj.blogspot.com


    If you have any questions or comments you can email me at [email protected]
    This article was originally published in blog: Under the Knife started by AJPettersen
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by perkins7 View Post
      AJ, thanks for your writeup! I've always wondered what it looks like behind the scenes when players need further medical attention. I'm applying to medical school a year from now so to combine a story like this with my love for all things Twins is great! Slightly off-topic, but do you happen to know what Dr. Stuebs specialty is? I've always been curious as to the career path for physicians on professional sports teams. I feel like most are orthopedic specialists, but that's mostly just a guess on my part. Do you have any idea?
      No problem, glad you enjoyed it! I am not sure what his specialty is exactly, but he works at Tria, so I'm sure you could find it somewhere. In my experience, he is extremely knowledgeable in many different areas. It has been a pleasure to work with him.

      On another note, good luck with applications to med school!
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      AJ, thanks for the kind wishes on the leg.....Tria has been great to me and my son when he broke his arm, I recommend them for sure.
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      AJ, thanks for the kind wishes on the leg.....Tria has been great to me and my son when he broke his arm, I recommend them for sure.
      They are great, they have a great group of doctors and other medical personnel there. Plus the facilities are fantastic. Between them and having Mayo down the road, we are lucky to have amazing access to care here.
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Great article, AJ. It's a really neat perspective and thanks for sharing it with us.

      Feel better soon!
    1. Mai.K's Avatar
      Mai.K -
      Though I live far away from you, I will support you all the time.
      S.Korea Twins Fan
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      I pray for a complete recovery and I hope for many more AB next year.
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
      Great article, AJ. It's a really neat perspective and thanks for sharing it with us.

      Feel better soon!
      Thanks James, I appreciate that!
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mai.K View Post
      Though I live far away from you, I will support you all the time.
      S.Korea Twins Fan
      Wow, thanks! Do you ever go to professional games in Korea?
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thegrin View Post
      I pray for a complete recovery and I hope for many more AB next year.
      Thank you for the support!
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I join in the wishes for you to have a speedy and full recovery.

      Because you have Netflix, I would highly recommend that you check out the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black". I can virtually guarantee that watching Laura Prepon portray a lesbian prisoner will greatly increase your blood circulation and promote healing.
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      I join in the wishes for you to have a speedy and full recovery.

      Because you have Netflix, I would highly recommend that you check out the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black". I can virtually guarantee that watching Laura Prepon portray a lesbian prisoner will greatly increase your blood circulation and promote healing.
      Thanks, I appreciate the well wishes!

      My wife and I already finished season 1 of OITNB, great show!
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      AJ Pettersen- just wanted to say how cool it is for you to interact with the online community here at Twins Daily. 99% of sports writers don't interact with their readers/commenters and here you are responding to everyone who commented. I for one appreciate it very much.

      And of course good luck on your recovery!!
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by orangevening View Post
      AJ Pettersen- just wanted to say how cool it is for you to interact with the online community here at Twins Daily. 99% of sports writers don't interact with their readers/commenters and here you are responding to everyone who commented. I for one appreciate it very much.

      And of course good luck on your recovery!!

      Part of the reason I like writing for Twins Daily so much is the opportunity it presents to interact with fans. The fact that people take time out of their day to read and comment on my articles is neat. I owe it to everyone to do my best to respond.

      Thanks you for your comment and the well wishes!
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.