On the Road to Healing

I think I am finally on the road to healing. For the past three weeks, ever since I tripped over a parking curb in the dark, doctor visits have only served to add complicated discoveries to an already complicated injury. Originally, I was told that my radius was broken in several places, then I was told I also pulverized the wrist. And finally, I was told that in addition to those severe injuries, I shattered my elbow.

On Tuesday, I had what I hope is my final surgery. Now, in addition to the pins already inserted and the immensely heavy external fixator (to keep my arm from shortening while it is healing), I have more pins, a metal plate, and a titanium elbow.

If you ever think that a single step does not matter, remember that all of this came from one misstep. I have no idea how this will end up, but the surgeon assures me I will have arthritis, about fifty percent use of my wrist, and possible chronic pain.

And so, from that one step, my life has changed.

I try not to think of how the accident happened or why it happened — I simply try to accept that it happened and go on from there.

It’s been difficult. I don’t want to feel sorry for myself — that path can only lead to misery — but I have found myself feeling demoralized and discouraged, lonely and alone. The pain prevents me from thinking, which is probably a good thing, and the pain pills keep me in a dozy haze. I am left to take care of myself as best as I can, though friends have chauffeured me since obviously I can’t drive, a nurse comes once a week to check on me, and an occupational therapist comes to help me shower.

I can’t say that I am learning anything from this. I’m just going with the flow dealing with my disabilities as best as I can, and feeling grateful things aren’t worse. (I am right handed, and it’s the left wrist/arm/elbow that’s injured, so I am nowhere near as inconvenienced as I could have been.)

I’m hanging on as best as I can, finding a way around the pain. (Ice works much better than even the strongest pills, but it is so weird to feel the inside chill from that metal elbow as the ice cools it down. As if something is gripping me on the inside. When I can think/write/type again, I might have to write a horror story based on that feeling.)

My two vanities were that I didn’t look my age and that I am still relatively strong and healthy, but since I have aged at least ten years in the past three weeks, those vanities have been shattered as well.

Life sure is interesting.

I joke that I got a new elbow for Christmas, but I would have preferred something a bit more fun or at least guaranteed pain free.

Well, there’s always next Christmas.

Wishing you a great December, a joyous holiday, whichever one you celebrate, and a wonderful New Year.

***

(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

***

15 Responses to “On the Road to Healing”

  1. Constance Says:

    You seem to have a good outlook. Hope it all turns out better than has been predicted.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Glad you’re on the road to healing, Pat. I’m in the midst of a cold right now, so hopefully we both heal rather quickly.

  3. Wanda Hughes Says:

    You have been on the road for a while now, but the past mileage has been much more fun than the last few weeks. I can empathize with you on that whole how to deal with healing, disability and all that. I wish we’d been closer or that we could have had you up here with us. However, life being what it is I will have to be satisfied with long distance wishes for your well-being. I know you’re doing everything you can do to get healed up and haired over, as my grandpa used to say. Please know my thoughts are with you. Hugs to you sister. (being careful not to nudge that darned wrist, elbow, arm.)

  4. Liberty On the Lighter Side Says:

    Sorry to hear about your accident Pat, sounds pretty awful and I hope happier ‘steps’ are on the horizon! I have emailed you re book. Take care.

  5. Jen Says:

    So sorry to hear of your ordeal! A great reminder as I struggle to get through this season without my beloved — to count my blessings in the midst of the loss. Wishing you peace and strength to endure and come through this trial completely healed.

  6. Dennis Says:

    I just blew out a calf muscle playing soccer. At this age, it will be weeks before I am back in the mix. Heal soon and heal well.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Oh, my. I am so sorry. Injuries make grief all the worse. Sending well wishes back to you.

      • Dennis Says:

        Right. Thank you. Just one more thing making life less than ideal. This, though, I know will heal in the near future. Take care of your arm and the rest of yourself. You will have to be a little bit more measured with movements. This starts one to realize that, yes, one is getting older and less agile and swift.

  7. Deborah Owen Says:

    I don’t know what you’re learning, but I guarantee you’re learning something. You can’t go through those types of things and not learn from it. I’m so sorry to hear about this. I’ll be praying for you. (Yes, ice is always better. For therapy, take pain pills 60 to 75 minutes before time to do them and lie down. The meds will do more good that way and you will be able to accomplish more. God bless. Deb

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you for the suggestion about taking pain pills before therapy. I still am bound up, so can’t do much more than move my fingers, but I might find out more when I go for my post op doctor’s appt tomorrow.

  8. Deborah Owen Says:

    Great. I’m eager to hear what they have to say. I went through a similar situation with my leg and shoulder. It really feels funny to feel the metal inside get cold. As it turned out, I was allergic to the metal and they had to remove it 15 months later. Now you’ll be able to tell when rain is coming before anyone else knows it!


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