The story – I fell
Three days ago, I fell. My husband and I were out for a walk. We had already walked a mile, chatting and enjoying the great outdoors. Unfortunately, it is still quite warm in Central Texas, so enjoying the outdoors is still a bit of a chore. On this morning in question, I tripped. Our sidewalks are uneven, and I’ve stubbed my toe before, stumbling, but I’ve never fallen before.
This time, I didn’t just fall; I fell forward, stretched out, nearly face-planting. My right shoulder connected with a sidewalk first, and I was immediately in great pain. One of the first things I told Ron was that I could not move my right arm; I couldn’t move it at all. I was stunned, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Finally, I was able to sit upright on the sidewalk.
Several people stopped to offer help. At first, we said, “No, thank you,” thinking we could continue on our own. Finally, we realized that I could not stand without help, and it would take at least two people to help me up. So the next gentleman who stopped pulled me up from the front while Ron stood me up from the back. Yes, I was embarrassed but also in a lot of pain. Shocked and shaky, I realized I could not walk the last two blocks to our house. We stopped yet another traveler, who drove us home.
We headed to the ER, and as you might imagine, the day slowed to a snail’s pace. It was some 6 to 7 hours before I was home, arm in a sling with the promise of a painkiller at our pharmacy. I was surprised to learn that the CT scan said my shoulder was not dislocated, but instead, I had fractured my humerus bone close to the cap, close to the edge of my shoulder (Closed fracture of the proximal right humerus). The ER doctor said my treatment would likely be a sling for several weeks. But it wasn’t until I saw the orthopedic trauma specialist two days later that the treatment was confirmed – immobilization with a sling for a good eight weeks and then physical therapy over the next several months to regain range of motion.
There are so many challenges. The first one is pain. Some of the pain is excruciating – sharp nerve-type pain that goes down my arm, making me want to shout. But even when I am nestled in my pillows, I still ache. Surprisingly, the transitions are complex. I was surprised to learn how much we use our shoulders getting up, sitting down, and even in a car going around a curve. That change of motion affects my shoulder and makes me want to cry.
The second challenge is getting dressed. I can’t move my shoulder without wincing and crying out, so putting on a shirt is particularly difficult.
The third challenge is that I hurt my dominant arm. Everything I do, I do with my right hand. If you are reading this, you know I blog, and typing is now a prolonged process – hunting and pecking with my left hand. Today, I’m trying a Google speech-to-text tool that works well.
I have also been drawing and was planning to participate in the Inktober challenge that begins on Sunday. I will still learn to draw with my left hand, but that will likely produce very different results than what I was able to do with my right hand.
There are other things. I can’t drive while my arm is in a sling. It’s nearly impossible to cook with my left hand. I need help opening even the simplest containers – the medicine bottle, the tea bag, or honey jar. Brushing my teeth with my left hand is awkward. I’ll improve over the next several weeks, but right now, it’s just not fun. I’m not complaining. People have sustained much worse injuries than I have. I’m reporting a change in my life and processing it out loud.
In January, I wrote a few reflective posts anticipating the new year. Today, I reread those posts. Nowhere did I write about calamity. Instead, I wondered how God would show up and how I might serve Him more faithfully. I also wrote about the four words that resonated at that time. The words were relationship, connection, discipling, and joy.
As I rest here, looking forward to more stillness than I can imagine, I am contemplating how God will use these days, weeks and how I might serve Him well.
I prayed this prayer in the early days of January and prayed it again today …
Father, you who set the sun and moon in place,
who created time, and
who knows the fulfillment of time,
Teach me to redeem the time
To be counted worthy of the calling
But even more, Lord, teach me more and more
About Your love, may I explore its depth, breadth,
Length and width – this love that surpasses knowledge
Filling me to the measure of all the fullness of God –
Tuning my heart to sing Your praise
For Your great glory in the power of Your Holy Spirit –