Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An Unexpected Break, Repaired

And so, while there's never any good time to break any of one's body parts, I couldn't have fallen prey to that errant cat toy at a worse possible time. My first unwieldy cast was applied on July 15. I was informed that it would take six weeks for my break to mend. The major fly in this ointment was the fact that our long since planned vacation was to begin on August 14. And, not only was this our vacation; this trip was going to surround the Second Annual Springs Nymph Weekend at The Springs. See post dated September 24, 2007 A Weekend of Springs Magic.

No way was I going to be laden down with a cast for this trip. I pushed very hard to get my cast taken off a bit early which, in fact, was done on August 11. Having that cast cut off was not unlike the joy of childbirth providing great relief from such a heavy weight! I left the hospital with a soft, velcro-fastened removable splint. I promised to behave myself and not get it wet nor fall again and rebreak my arm. The soft splint worked out beautifully. There was a lot of hauling and lifting that I couldn't do and I babied my left arm to the max. Our vacation was grand, my sisters had a marvelous time and my arm was just about back to normal by the time I returned to work. When the day came that I could wring out a washcloth thoroughly, snap a towel before folding it for storage and pick up, carry to the sink and dump a large potful of boiling water and pasta into a colander, I knew that break was truly healed. It's given me no problem at all since.

As it turned out, physical therapy never entered the picture. I think that returning to work almost immediately after my accident was a good thing. Using my arm as best as I could probably helped it heal quickly. I strongly believe I earned a great deal of respect from my peers at work as well as the seniors for whom I work by coming to work each day, doing the best I could. It was quite an experience; one that I don't wish to repeat but there's nothing like losing the use of a part of oneself to make you appreciate it all the more.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Unexpected Break

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Boy! Did this oft repeated platitude come to pass this summer but not quite in the way I expected it.
Let's back up in time a bit. Yes, I was thinking maybe some time off from work, some quiet time would be nice. Little did I know that some little demon, gremlin or something of that ilk was listening. On a Sunday morning early in July while "putting the house to bed", I tripped over a cat toy in my living room. I was unable to catch myself and I fell to the floor with a crash. I've had a few falls in my recent past and I've always recovered quickly and jumped right up to resume whatever it was I was doing. Not so this time. I knew I had hurt myself. I was pretty sure something was broken judging from the pain emanating from my left arm.
It was very late. My husband had taken himself off to bed earlier. I gathered the pieces of myself up and got as far as the living room sofa. I felt awful and my arm hurt...a lot. I think I just lay there for awhile, doing the injured animal whimpering thing a bit. Before too long, my son loomed over me asking, "what's wrong, Mom?"
I told him what had happened and the next thing I knew, I was being bundled into the car by my husband and driven to Kaiser ER. The long and short of it: I fell, I was x-rayed, I broke the radius bone in my left arm. This was a new experience for me, having never broken anything in my life before this. Thank God it was my left arm because I am a predominate "rightie".
Ah, how quickly life changes. I've been with the same man for almost 40 years and in all that time, I've managed to handle any bathroom emergencies on my own. Not so this night while still at the Emergency Room. I was wearing a pair of shorts with a zip fly, buttoned at the top. I had to GO and I couldn't manage to undo myself with one hand. Nothing like your spouse taking you to the toilet to help you undo lest you wet yourself. This was just the beginning. In the ensuing weeks, my husband, my love, my best friend became the most considerate, attentive caregiver one could possibly imagine. He did everything.
My accident occurred early Sunday morning. I had that Sunday off, called work to report what had happened and said I wouldn't be in that Monday. I did return to work Tuesday, however, and apart from leaving early in the day a couple of times, worked through my entire casted confinement. About two weeks after my fall and initial ER casting, I reported in and my left arm was subsequently encased in a cast from the first joints of my left hand to halfway between my elbow and my shoulder. Suddenly, I was very much aware of how much our elbows come into the daily routine of life. I couldn't use a curling iron, put in earrings, apply makeup very well, button buttons, zip zippers, put on socks, tie shoes, bathe properly, wash my hair, pin on my name tag, etc.
My husband helped me every single morning to get ready for work. We bagged up the left arm, showered together at which time he washed my hair and scrubbed me clean. I was very much aware that I didn't want this cast to get wet to impede my recovery in any way. My back has never been so clean before or since this episode. He helped to dry me and I discovered lo after all these years of assisting seniors with their showers that places that need drying most seem to get missed. I learned very quickly to dress myself as much as I could because I soon discovered that I hated having my socks put on my some one else.
To be continued...