After Successful Bicep Tear Surgery, Scenic Arts Designer Gets Back to Building

Medical brace for bicep tear surgery

Sometimes, taking a hands-on role at work comes with the risk of injury. That’s what happened to Grayson K., the owner of a full-service scenic arts company. After seriously hurting his arm while helping put together an event display, Grayson saw several doctors, never learning how serious his injury was (and that he needed to have bicep tear surgery) until he was referred to the experts at Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center. 

Today, Grayson feels good. He’s back, leading his team and helping clients “make the impossible possible” by creating everything from stage sets to props.

This is his story.

Grayson K.’s patient story

Hometown: Indianapolis (originally from New Hampshire)

Age: 49

On the Job Accident

I own a scenic arts company called Impact Group. We create themed attractions and environments for television, corporate, theatrical, professional sporting, and other special events.

We work with a lot of design firms in town and do stuff everywhere. I’ve worked on projects for DirectTV, the Colts, and even Payton Manning.

It’s a bit weird, but I injured my bicep erecting the façade of a saloon for a client’s outdoor, Western-themed party. It even had swinging doors and rocking chairs on the porch. When we were building the hitching post prop (which was 20 feet wide and 60 feet tall), I felt a pop.

Thankfully, my team took over when I got hurt so I could walk to the side to figure out what happened. First, I took off my coat and went to our kitchenette to grab a bag of frozen french fries to ice down my arm, but that wasn’t enough to help with the pain. 

At that point, I didn’t know I had a bicep tear at the elbow and needed bicep tear surgery, but I knew something was messed up. That’s why I went to a rapid-fire medical clinic to see a specialist.

Clinic Care That Doesn’t Cut It

I made five visits to the clinic, and I saw a different doctor each time.

They all would feel my forearm and say the same thing. They didn’t think anything was wrong even though my pain wasn’t going away. 

Even though no one was addressing the real issue, I got an MRI and kept going back to have my arm rechecked because my injury was limiting what I could lift at work.

At one point, I even tried to self-diagnose. Looking at my arm, I could see that my bicep muscle on one side was shorter. I found out later that my muscle looked like that because it was hanging on by a thread.

Lucky Referral During Rehab

During one of my visits to the clinic, I had a doctor tell me to use elastic bands and start rehabbing my arm, so I did.

Then, during one of those recommended rehab sessions, the therapist told me I shouldn’t be there. He said he thought I was injured and not ready for therapy yet. 

He told me I should make an appointment at the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center to see a specialist there.

Finally, an Accurate Diagnosis 

My first visit with Dr. Greg A. Merrell was at Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s location in Fishers. When I went to IHTSC, it was a totally different experience. 

Dr. Merrell delivered my diagnosis that I needed bicep tear treatment in a manner where he didn’t make me feel like an idiot. With him, it was like I was talking to someone in my family. He never talked down to me when explaining what was wrong and why I needed to have bicep tear surgery.

Honestly, I can’t say enough nice things about Dr. Merrell. 

He laid everything out for me, telling me what would happen during the procedure, estimating my recovery time, and even explaining how I might be limited after bicep tear surgery. 

I appreciated Dr. Merrell’s honesty and that he took the time to explain everything in a way to make sure I would feel comfortable. He even made a mold of my tendon to ensure it lined up perfectly in surgery.

Everyone at Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center really took extra care to do things right.

Back to Normal After Bicep Tear Surgery

Dr. Merrell and his entire staff are just amazing. There’s not a bad apple in the bunch. Everyone was so friendly. I like that Dr. Merrell’s old school and cares about his patients. It was so refreshing.

I also like that Dr. Merrell was always able to joke with me. For example, when I told him I would make a tomato stake from my arm brace, he gave me his email address to send him pictures. Who does that? I don’t like to give out my personal email address to anyone. 

That’s another instance when I was like, oh man, Dr. Merrell is just a regular person. He is open, has a good sense of humor, and really cares about his patients.

For occupational therapy after my surgery, Dr. Merrell didn’t want me to push it. He said, “You don’t need to lift a pickup truck. You just need your arm to work like before you got hurt.” He was always looking out for me.

I had a great experience. If I knew someone with an injury like mine, I’d 100% tell them to see Dr. Merrell.

Looking for Specialized Care After a Workplace Injury?

You don't always need surgery or occupational therapy when you’re hurt at work. However, many patients—like Grayson K.—benefit and heal with specialized care from experts in treating patients after getting injured on the job.

Each patient has different needs. If you have bicep pain that won’t go away and need a second opinion, make an appointment with one of our upper extremity specialists to learn about your treatment options and what type of care might be best to help you heal.

Bicep Tear Surgery Specialists

Since 1972, patients across Indiana and throughout the U.S. have trusted Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s world-class upper extremity surgeons

“Dr. Merrell uses the doctor’s vocab but then repeats the information—clearly and simply—so a normal person like me can understand. He made sure that I knew exactly what he would be doing during and after my distal bicep tendon tear surgery.”—Grayson K., Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center patient

How Do I See a Doctor at IHTSC?

Request an appointment today, and take the first step in healing after an on-the-job accident or other upper extremity injury.

Prefer to schedule by phone? Call us at (317) 751-5904.

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