"What color cast would you like?"
"I don't know. What do you have?"
"Dark blue, light blue, white, pink, red, and John Deere Green."
Well now - the choice was obvious back on March 8, wasn't it? Had to be green. Spring coming soon (or so we thought). And the old wannabe farm girl in me loved the JD name.
Today, 6 weeks later, the cast came off.
"Cast for what?" you might ask. The short version is I fell on March 3, and landed square on my wrist, headed downward on outdoor granite steps. Left hand out in front of me to break the fall, the way they tell you you should not (they're right - don't do it.) Full body weight with a little extra inertia on my left wrist. Broke two bones in my wrist, plus one in my elbow, because good things come in threes, right?
Why am I bothering to share this with you? Because I found some surprising life lessons learned in the past six weeks, and I want to write them before I forget them.
1. I have a new respect for anyone living with physical disability or pain on an ongoing basis. Everything is just that much more of a challenge, and tiring. I had an idea, but know now it was barely an inkling.
2. I learned to think ahead two or three steps before doing things to which I never before gave a second thought. Example? The time I took the rubber band off a rolled up bag of partially eaten potato chips - ate a few - then looked at the bag and realized I could not re-do it with one hand (bless whoever invented the Chip Clip!). Probably not a bad idea to do even when healthy. And to move more slowly and intentionally. Walks on the bike path became more precious time to pay attention and really notice nature.
3. Living for six weeks with a broken arm was not terrible. Terrible is a permanent injury, or illness, or any number of other tragedies we witness in our world on an ongoing basis. Or the woman I spoke with at church less than a week after I did this who fell and broke both wrists (talk about a perspective builder.) This was simply an inconvenience. It was also an opportunity for my friends to love me - to help me - and I will remember each and every kindness extended to me during the past six weeks quite fondly.
4. Things that absolutely require two hands:
- cutting steak
- opening a can with a can opener (the manual type - not electric)
- pulling hair into a pony tail or braid
- shaving both armpits (TMI?)
- tying shoe laces
- flossing teeth (thank goodness for those little plastic pre-strung flossers!)
5.. Things that can be done with one hand, but require extra effort:
- shampooing one's hair
- hand washing dishes in the sink
- putting toothpaste on a toothbrush
- pulling on a pair of pants
(oh - and don't even ask about trying to put on a bra with only one hand!)
6. My entire wardrobe is now available to me again! (not just the things that fit over the cast!)
7. Opposable thumbs are not overrated! That's a whole other list! But I've possibly already said too much.
In closing - one special thank you...
Thank you to my sweet pup Rosie, for wearing your no-pull harness for six weeks so that I only had to snap on the leash (doable with one hand), not try to connect a buckle (requiring two hands.) You were very patient with me. Somehow we managed to get through this six weeks without pulling in a dog walker to help. I promise we will start taking longer walks now. And yes, Dora the cat - thank you to you for trying to sleep right on top of my broken elbow. I know you thought you were offering special kitty healing powers - but ouch!
As the Joni Mitchell song goes - "Don't it always seem to go that we don't know what we've got til it's gone."
Our bodies are amazing creations. NOT to be taken for granted. Gifts from God.
I am wowed at how quickly an injury can happen, and by the healing process.
THANK YOU to this vehicle of skin and bones and organs who knows how to do things without me telling them it how to do it! You have carried me through 58 years of life so far. I promise to pay attention just a bit more... and hopefully to appreciate you a whole lot more.
ps - oh - and it was my left hand! through it all, I could still paint. SO grateful!