Monday, February 17, 2014

The Comeback Kid

So, this is what Michigan looks like, more or less.  Ice, snow, crummy roads.  All of the glory that winter has to offer.  For anyone new to the party here, I got my ass  proverbially kicked by winter this year when I slipped on some ice and broke my arm.  Or at least I thought I just broke my arm.  Turns out, no, I royally fucked up my arm.  I ripped every muscle and tendon that attaches to my elbow.  I dislocated the joint.  I chipped off a piece of bone.  I basically took my arm and said "What exactly can I do to make you as useless as possible, short of removing you all together?" and then did exactly that.  I ended up in surgery to fix it all, and then I had a week off of work to basically sit around and do nothing.  The thing is, when you sit around and do nothing for hours on end, you start getting the urge to write things, update your blog, let yourself be clever, and then you remember that you only have one hand and typing is a real bitch.  So, instead I just sat around, bored out of my mind.

Now I'm about a month post-surgery and things are starting to get back to normal a little bit.  Not normal enough for my liking, since I still don't have full mobility of my arm, and I probably won't have it for a while since they had to re-anchor all of my stupid muscles and now it's new tissue that has to learn elasticity.  Thanks, muscles.  So I can't do a lot of normal stuff like lifting or holding anything with my left hand that has too much weight.  I can't bend my arm enough to wash my hair with both hands, or fix my shirt when it's all twisted around on my right arm, but I can lift a little more, and my grip is slowly getting better.  Things still hurt, but at least I can notice some small amount of progress.

The thing about this whole busted arm thing is that it's made me see myself, and my life a lot differently.  I've come to appreciate Jason immensely, because when I had to be taken care of he did it without complaint.  Even when it was me waking him up at 3 a.m. to get me more pain meds. I'm not good at letting people look after me or losing my independence.  I hate it, actually, but he did so much to make life easier, and he never made me feel like I was a baby who needed to be taken care of.  I loved him for that.  I'm slowly learning to be dependent on someone else, and while it's a big struggle for me, it's nice to have someone who doesn't make it feel like dependence.  I've also learned that sometimes, even if you're sick or injured and can't do certain things, some people still won't step up and do anything without an engraved invitation, and that was frustrating.

I think the worst part is that for some reason, I can't shake the flashback of everything that happened.  I have dreams about falling and cracking my face on the ice at least once a week.  Even though my arm got the biggest injury, I seem to remember smacking my face on the ice the most vividly and even now if I think about it, my nose starts to hurt where I smashed it.  I start to physically feel panic when I think about having to go in for surgery, even though there are no surgeries on my horizon.  I will spend a day minding my own business and then out of the blue I'll get this image of me falling, and start thinking about how much worse it could have been, and then I get upset by that idea even though I'm really grateful that it wasn't worse.  I don't know why I can't seem to shake the memory of it all, but it's proven harder than I thought it would be.

I have been trying to look for the bright side of things.  It could have been worse, but it wasn't.  It could have been Jason, or my friend Scott, but it wasn't.  I'd honestly rather it be me than someone else, since at least I've been through surgery and all of that before.  The damage is temporary and everyone thinks I'll be back to normal without any problem.  I'm a month out from the surgery date and I'm sitting here, typing with access to both hands, gaining a small amount of mobility back in my elbow, which is awesome.  I was only on pain meds for 4 days total, including the day of the surgery.  I'm able to pretty much shower and dress myself now, and I can do most of the cooking I would normally do, with just a few things that I find myself needing help with.  All in all, I could be in a very different place right now.  That doesn't mean I don't have my moments of frustration where I get upset and think I'll never be able to do certain things by myself again, or where I break down a little and feel like I haven't made enough progress, but when I get my head out of that frustrated space, I have to admit that I've come a long way, even though I have a long way left to go.  I just keep telling myself all of this is temporary, and in a year I'll look back and it'll seem like it never happened.


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, your arm really was damaged! I could tell it was bad though from your photos. Do you have to do any physical or occupational therapy?? I know OTs do hand therapy. Maybe yours doesn't need therapy, but sounded pretty bad. It feels good to have your husband step up I'm sure. Good to know for the future when we're all old fogies having to help one another. Hope it recovers soon, sounds like you're almost there!

Becky said...

I will have to do physical therapy sometime in the near future because I can't actually bend or straighten my arm at the elbow anymore. There is a little movement, but it can only go so far before it hurts or just doesn't move anymore. So, I'll have to do physical therapy to get elasticity back into the muscles and the joint, and then I'm not sure what from there. I'm hoping that just every day tasks/movement will help get the strength back into my hand, but it's been frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine it is frustrating. Hopefully the therapy will help.