February 21, 2021 Bluffside Trails near Holzinger Lodge
Do you remember the frozen cold of February in the Upper Midwest? It was very cold and snowy. I still got out and walked and hiked with good friends or solo. And then it began to change. It got warmer. There were warm days and freezing nights. The melting snow created some icy conditions on sidewalks and road ways.
So, here’s the story of how hurrying to get somewhere was not a good idea for me. It was February 24th and I was making a plan with my friend, Rosemary to take a walk across the East Lake in Winona—the Big Lake. I was excited; I had never walked across the frozen lake before—though friends have and some friends swore never to do such a crazy act.
On my scurry to get to my friend’s house, I slipped on the ice and went down on my right/dominant palm near my wrist. (I don’t blame this on lack of balance—my balance is good; or on my age or any such nonsense. I was in too big of a hurry to pay attention to the conditions. No more.)
The fall hurt like crazy, but I could move all of my fingers and could move my arm—I decided that I was ok and I kept going. I met my friend and we walked across that big lake on a most beautiful morning. Imagine sunlight on a line of bluffs—there were pinks and blues shining on the bluffs. We chatted and had a grand time. When I came home, called my friend who gave me some good advice about icing it and resting, and taking some Ibuprofen.
When Bob got back from work in the late afternoon, he suggested going to Urgent Care to have them take a look—there are a lot of bones in the hand, he said. I asked if he’d join me and we went together to get me checked over. When the physician and her assistant saw the swelling and the pain I had to move the wrist, they ordered an X-ray with an idea that it was broken. The X-ray confirmed their thoughts. They put a huge splint on my arm all the way up to the elbow. Not again—my elbow had been broken in a biking accident in 2018; she did not appreciate this lack of movement. (Read about bringing peace to healing pain and Healing injury through time.)
Bob was scheduled to ski the American Birkenbeiner Race for Friday,
2/26/2021. He suggested that he not
go. I said, no to that idea. I was not in that much pain; and he’d trained
for months. He had to go. And when he was convinced that I’d be ok; he
did go. (I had not even seen the surgeon yet to know the next step.)
Our community came in with gifts of food, cards, and so much love. Thank you to LeAnn, Kim, Kathie, Anne, Mary, Colleen, Greg, Jenni, Carolyn, Lynne, and so many more. We live in a loving community. I feel so blessed.
Bob stayed overnight on Thursday, 2/25/2021, at Bill and Kim’s lodge near the race in Cable, Wisconsin. He skied on Friday, February 26, 4 hours and then drove home to check in on me that evening. I was home. It was nice to see him.
3/1/2021 Bob and I went to see the Surgeon, Dr. Millis. He ordered a CT scan and after looking at the results, he said that the break in my radius bone was about a ½ centimeter. He recommended surgery to put a plate in. The plate would secure the bones to grow together in alignment. The healing would be quicker. I agreed to the surgery. It was scheduled for Thursday, 3/4/2021. Before that I needed to get checked that I was healthy for surgery and did not have COVID 19.
On Tuesday, 3/2/21 I checked healthy to have surgery and had a negative COVID 19 test. The surgery was two days later. The operating team of nurses, anesthetists, and doctors was amazingly kind, thorough and worked so well together for my benefit. I felt held by some amazing humans. Bob took me to get all of my pain medications and then off to rest. It was a time of lots of sleeping or being awoken to take more pain medication and then back to sleeping. And this time I was able to sleep and rest well.
During my healing, I couldn’t use my right hand—yup, the hand that I use to make art, write, and chop veggies was “on vacation.” I had to learn in a big way to ask for help. And I couldn’t drive. “Bob will you put a plastic bag on my arm to take a shower?” Will you help me set a timer to take meds? Will you make us food? Will you take me downtown?" Bob was gracious. I learned it was good to have my voice heard and ask for help. I also continued to write and paint with my left hand. In fact, I took a weekend painting workshop and painted all weekend with my left hand.
Top: left hand writing; Bottom: right hand writing
Fiery Lolita with Mary Lee
Luckily a couple of weeks later, 3/15/2021, I had X-rays taken again, the doctor looked at them and gave me a good report that the wrist and thumb were healing well. They would take the permanent cast off and have a removable cast in its place. And that is allowing exercises for the hand and wrist, and typing like I am doing now. Flexibility is coming—on so slowly. I think this week we’re beginning strength work with my Occupational Therapist. Those exercises are painful and worth every bit of it to get my wrist back into complete movement. Another thing that I’m doing is dancing NIA. Ahhhhhhh, that feels so good. Pleasure all the way.
On 3/16/2021 Kim came over and put henna in my hair. Oh, the touch on my head; the tender way that she cared for me. It felt so good. We wore masks to stay safe.
Now I’m working with an OT, Holly, and she is doing a great job with me. Kyann reached out to me as well and sent me exercises that I could begin with to get the healing moving forward. I do the exercises three times a day and then elevate the arm and place ice on the wrist/hand. It’s a practice in self care and patience. I’ve cried a couple times at the utter feeling of helplessness. When I think of how quickly I could do something before, I remind myself that I’m in the middle of a healing cycle. I remind myself that my body healed from a much more involved situation in 2018. I send my wrist and hand love and Reiki multiple times per day.
Here's to healing and warmth and new growth.