Monday musings & random thoughts…

And, oh, yes, an update on the much-anticipated shower! I know you are all waiting with bated breath to know if I did get the shower that I was desperate for after two weeks. Ha!

  • I did get the shower. It might have been the best shower I have ever had. Before, when I was dealing with medical issues (“crises” seems a bit strong… :>), I hadn’t had these types of restrictions. I had other ones (e.g., covering something while showering) but never the strict admonition to keep the dressing dry no matter what it took. Anyway, I came back from the clinic appointment and got in the shower at… 9:30 am. It was glorious.
  • I will confess that I did get the dressing oh-so-slightly wet most days. This didn’t seem to matter – much – until the last few days, when it did start to threaten to peel up from the edges. This meant that I frantically applied tape to those edges in an effort to avoid having to take more drastic measures (like, um, wrapping my arm in saran wrap, no thanks…).
  • I have no shame in admitting I took another shower that evening. None at all. I need to donate to an environmental group, though, to make up for my excessive showering that day…
  • A bit more arm stuff, then I promise I’ll move on!
  • The good: I am improving every day. I am completely off pain meds (I was only taking 1 tylenol at bedtime and… yeah. Let’s just say that’s probably not doing much…) It still hurts but it’s not bad at all. Maybe a max of 5/10? Nothing I can’t deal with. I’ve also started eating more – yay – and moving more – double yay! I think I’ll be okay for our vacation next week – this will be a moderately active vacation but no hiking up the sides of mountains. 🙂
  • The not-so-great: Well, sleep still isn’t fantastic, although I have gotten a few nights when I’ve slept 2-3 hours at a time! This is amazing for me. Those nights, unfortunately, are usually followed by nights when I wake up every hour on the hour, pretty much. Sigh. My hair is still falling out (see below). And… the bills are rolling in. Double sigh. Thank goodness I have insurance but honest to Pete, you should have seen the full charges for the not-even-overnight hospital care! Gaaahhh…
  • Things making me happy…there are many of them. Which makes me happy. 🙂
    • I still talk to my parents every morning. It makes me so darn happy.
    • I’ve also started eating an apple and roasted almonds for my snack and I completely forgot how much I love apples. I tried Pink Lady this time and they are wonderful. Not sure what I will try next. Mini desserts (chocolates + some ice cream and fruit). Whew. I missed these!
    • 56 Hours. Wow. I’m totally sucked in. It may not be high literature but you know how sometimes you just read the right book at the right time? I suspect this is one of those situations. I also read One Night on the Island and enjoyed the slightly non-traditional ending.
    • My class. It’s nearly over – uploading grades on final assignments today – but oh, this class helped keep me going this summer! My students were awesome. Absolutely fantastic. Such a joy to enjoy this part of my job!
    • My hair. OK, this is both frustrating and good. My hair looks terrible when I grow it out. It gets straggly and kind of limp and looks very thin and kind of pathetic. How I wish I could have long, gorgeous hair like so many of you. But alas, it seems as though my thin (and now thinning more, sigh) hair does not want to be long anymore. As I was supposed to have a hair cut in May and had to reschedule, and her first appointment was last week (yes, I love this stylist but oh, it is hard to schedule with her!), my hair was reaching the “wow, it looks amazingly awful” stage. Last week I had over an inch and a half cut off and I LOVE it. It’s doing the curly thing it does in the summer, which I’ve learned to live with. I also bought some (ahem, ridiculously expensive) stuff that is supposed to help thicken it. We shall see. I have my doubts.
    • Back to food… summer plums and peaches and apricots that are so juicy you need to eat them over the sink to catch the drips. The. Best. (I’m sorry if you dislike fruit, but… I just don’t understand you…. :>)

I am hoping to be back here with more normal, non-arm posts soon. I’ve been (finally) reading some posts and long-form articles that are really making me think (in a good way!) and I have thoughts that I feel compelled to share.

A brief taste of those bits of wisdom making their way into my life…

  • The word “umwelt”, which entered my personal lexicon last week…(from Rob Walker)
  • Seeking “aliveness” vs. seeking “meaning” (from Oliver Burkemann)
  • Being present… paying attention…
  • In light of current events in the US, this from Krista Tippett in an interview with GQ: “We have a bias—which I also inherited, it’s in our education—to take what is dysfunctional and catastrophic and frightening and failing more seriously than what works well and what is quietly flourishing. The bias is a really powerful one. …The question for me in the beginning is, how can we make goodness as riveting as evil and destruction? … A part of that is the way we’re wired and the way we’ve been educated: not to take in the fullness, the reality, and the complexity of what is happening that is generative, that is redemptive, that doesn’t cancel out that the terrible story of our time but it stands alongside it.” Making me think about how I can work for good, rather than just lamenting the bad, the awful, and the cruel that seem to surround us these days…

And I shall leave you with that. Here’s hoping that “normal” really does make a re-appearance here soon. I hope you are all staying cool and at least getting some time to enjoy your summers. I am – still – dreadfully behind on blog reading, but hope to make up some ground in the coming week+.

How things have been going…

(Apologies for missed typos in advance…)

  • Overall, I’m so happy with how things are right now. I mean, given the fact that I have a fracture in my arm that I didn’t expect to have, they’re going as well as I can have expected.
  • The difference between now and a couple of weeks ago is amazing. I know everybody was freaked out when I said I had to have surgery, but honestly? It’s much better having had the surgery, than feeling the bones move around in my shoulder. Sorry to all of those who get squeamish about these things, I tend not to given the whole ‘nurse’ thing… However, I’m sure you can imagine that having a fracture that was unstable and moving around is a lot more painful and difficult to manage than having a fracture that is now stabilized even if it’s with some metal.
  • I am now within two days of being able to take a regular shower. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I already have my plans for Wednesday morning. If I get to my clinic appointment, and they tell me I can’t take a regular shower? I think that may be the point when I lose it. 😊
  • This experience has made me realize just how lucky I am. I’ve been in this area for five years now. I kept saying I didn’t have friends, and my parents would worry about me. But it turns out? I actually kind of do. This has been a revelation to me. One of my friends came and made my bed for me two weeks in a row. I told another friend, who promptly offered food, visits, etc., despite her own stresses and challenges (3 kids under 7, etc.). And then, there’s the person who is a year ahead of me on the tenure track, who was unbelievably understanding when I had to back out of a guest lecture. She’s someone I actually would like to get to know better … except for the fact that we’re both dedicated introverts. Ha!
  • My students have been amazing. This shouldn’t be unexpected, since all of them are in Health Sciences, and one would expect them to have a little bit of empathy for a medical problem. However, they’ve been so understanding of my need to move things online for several weeks. That wasn’t the plan for this course, and it’s not what I signed up for, and it’s not what they signed up for. Their flexibility, their support, and their cheerfulness in the face of all the change, have made my summer that much better.
  • I’ve started off my days in a very different way than I did before. I’m not able to work out right now. I simply don’t have the reserve, and as I’ll get to in a second, my body has a lot of challenges dealing with physical stress. So instead, I’m sleeping a little later, and I’ve been starting my days by having a phone call with my parents. I love connecting with them, and I love the daily check in before I start my day.
  • People around here are unbelievably nice and helpful. I strongly suspect this is partly due to my location, but I also like to think that anybody with a sling who’s looking rather lost and in pain in a grocery store will be helped by someone! I’m very grateful for this.
  • That’s not to say there haven’t been some challenges. Sleep has not been great. I’m only really able to sleep sitting up, to lessen the pressure on my arm and my shoulder. This is not conducive to prolonged sleep, as you can imagine. So, essentially, I’m up about every hour on the hour during the night. If I get 2 hours in a row, it’s cause for a middle of the night celebration. I’ve also had bizarre headaches, which I think are due to both allergies, and not having dessert. More on that in a second. So I’ve been eating saltine crackers in the middle of the night, which is a bit unusual. And no, I am not pregnant!!!
  • My appetite goes away completely when I face physical stress, or injury. This is common for me. I may be physically hungry but I’m not able to eat. I literally sit there and look at the food, and I’m unable to stomach it. Which means I lose weight, and I really can’t afford that. I’m also completely deconditioned… sigh. I know I’ll get back in shape, but my stamina, flexibility, and strength all disappeared in the last almost-month. It’ll be (another) long road back…as before.
  • Also? I’m not eating dessert right now, which is driving me crazy. I know that having dessert would probably help my middle of the night headaches, as well as the fact that I need to gain back the weight I’ve lost. But every time I’ve sat down the last week or so with a cup of tea and dessert, my stomach has completely revolted. I don’t quite understand this, and I’m hoping it resolves soon. My evening tea, dessert, and reading time is precious to me.
  • One good thing that came out of this is that we changed our family vacation – we’re no longer going to Canada (sorry, Nicole and Elisabeth) but instead we’re going to the Finger Lakes in New York State. This means that I’m the only person who has to fly. We had already had multiple flight changes and issues, and knew that even if we GOT there, by some miracle, we’d then start worrying about getting home. This is a much better choice. My sister-in-law has already been actively researching, so we’re all relying on her to fill our days with good activities. I should be good to go, but I won’t be able to climb up the side of a mountain or anything.
  • OK, this is getting long – time to wrap it up! So what’s been keeping me going this all this time? The end date. My clinic appointment is Wednesday morning. I should get the stitches out then, and my hope is that I’ll be able to take a regular shower that day. I will probably come home from the clinic appointment and do so. 🙂
  • The other things are reading your blogs, even if I’m really late in commenting. My parents, of course, and the rest of my family. The texts and the pictures and the showing me what they’re up to, when I’m mostly restricted to my apartment, are so wonderful. Believe it or not my air fryer is saving my life, too. It’s so much easier to work with than the oven when you only have one arm!
  • At the same time, it hasn’t been easy. I’ve had times when I’ve been really really down. But that happens. I will get through this, I know I will. I’ll definitely be different and changed afterwards as I am after every one of these major health events but that’s the way it goes! Thank you all for being here, as usual. You sustain me.

I promise a new post is coming soon. Hopefully you all won’t desert me if I keep focusing on this for a few days. I’m trying to process it for myself, as well as share with you what’s going on in my life. I will say, though, that I did have to have surgery. That was unexpected, since I was originally told that all I would have to do would be wear a sling for a few weeks and then start physical therapy. So it’s been a bit of an adventure, particularly because I live alone, as you know, and I am very independent, which means it’s very very hard for me to accept help from others…I am heading into week two, following the surgery last week. My next appointment isn’t until next Wednesday, when I will finally get the stitches out.

I was grateful for the long weekend, which gave me a bit of a chance to catch up. Of course, I don’t feel like I’m caught up at all. but it is better than it was. I have a few more things to check off the list before I log off.


Thank you all for being here, and for making me feel heard, and supported. My parents are fabulous, but they weren’t able to come back with me. And after that travel debacle few weeks ago, I was beginning to despair.


I’ll try to get an update posted tomorrow, perhaps cutting it a bit shorter than I had intended. You don’t need all the details of the days in between my arrival home, and when I finally got some follow-up care. it was interesting, to say the least.


And, of course, this has all meant that I haven’t commented on everything going on here in the US in the last week. I have lots of strong feelings about everything that came down from the Supreme Court, and I’m feeling extremely vulnerable and challenged as a woman in this country right now. I know not everyone’s politics agree, but I firmly believe – and hope we can agree – that women should be able to make decisions about their own bodies, whether we would make the same decisions or not. I probably won’t say much more about it, as I tend to keep my personal views rather close. But I did want to acknowledge that I have been paying attention, and that has been taking up a fair amount of brain space as well.


There’s never a good way to end an open-ended post like this, so I will simply say that I hope you are all well, that I hope you have the support you need for whatever you need it for, and again, thank you for being here. I appreciate all of you more than you know. <3

So, about the last two weeks…

What happened to me…

Oh, my, where to start this story. I want to write it down before I forget it, as I know I will. Well, not the experience, per se, but the details. And I don’t want to forget them. As I’ve learned all too well over the years, these experiences that shape me come back to haunt me in the future, and I’d rather know and remember what happened, and when, so that I can be ready when that does happen.

So where to begin? I traveled out east for a visit with an established specialist to try to get some answers to my chronic undiagnosed medical issues. And it gave me an opportunity to see my family – bonus! The trip started well, with travel going smoothly, a wonderful visit, and time with my parents. Since my brother and his family live near where my medical visit was, we had lunch with him, before my appointment, and my parents hung out with him while waiting for me. That night, we’d planned a family dinner, in part to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary.

We arrived at the restaurant with my parents, brother, and his family (2 kids, spouse), and were seated on a lovely outside patio, and had a toast to my parents after we ordered. Then I made my way to the bathroom… which was in a basement requiring me to go down some outside steps and then into the basement of the restaurant itself.

And that’s where things went off the rails. I caught my foot on what was apparently a 2 inch high threshold that was not marked in any way, and could not catch my balance on the rug inside the door, which propelled me… right into a cinderblock wall, which I hit with my arms (I’d stretched them out at some point) and eventually my head (ow).  

The next thing I knew, I was face down on the ground, my left shoulder was killing me, my glasses were knocked around, and I was bleeding a lot from my forehead. Cue chaos – some poor kid from the kitchen found me immediately, and then there were staff and lots of paper towels for my head. Someone finally found my parents and brought them down, then the EMTs arrived. Fortunately, I never lost consciousness, and my glasses, while somewhat worse for the wear, survived, too.

A short ambulance ride later and we were at one of the inner city hospitals that was one of the only ones accepting patients that night. Who knows what was going on, but all the others were closed. To make a VERY long story short, they were so busy at that ER that my parents and I decided to leave (I was very stable and just fine other than ow, my shoulder, which was probably dislocated) and get me to the ER near where they live, which would be much faster. This ER actually saw me, took some x-rays, gave me a sling, and sent me to a room to wait for the PA. Whew.

The PA showed up to look at me, told me she’d reviewed my x-rays, and when I said, “oh good, I think my shoulder is dislocated” she looked at me and said, “actually, you have a fractured humerus” (that would be the upper arm bone). Oh. Oh great. I think I said “Really?” And she said yes, again. Management is typically conservative – sling, then PT, and she said I could travel home and then follow up with ortho here. She did stitch up my head quite nicely – and without a numbing injection, which I requested since I HATE them. (She was a bit… doubtful but I did just fine!)

I finally got a shower when we got to my parents’ house, got maybe an hour or two of sleep, and spent the next day trying to do some work and figure out how to do things with one arm. I couldn’t move my arm much more than bending my elbow – I couldn’t move it out to the side, or up, or put any weight on it or carry anything in my hand.

Everything seems to take forever when you only have one arm to use and you’re used to having 2. Think about dusting (If you dust, that is…). You pick up things with your nondominant hand, usually (fortunately, I broke my non-dominant arm, which has been a huge blessing in a way!), and then dust with your dominant hand, right? When you have to do that all with the dominant hand, it takes for freaking ever!

I also had to break the news to my friend, who’s also in charge of our academic programs, to let her know I’d have to be teaching online for a few weeks since my face looked like, well, like it had met a wall. Sigh. She was fine with it, of course! Otherwise, I haven’t told many people here. This friend, the person for whom I was supposed to guest lecture today, my ex, and his mother, who lives locally.

The next day, I was traveling home. Mom got me to the airport well ahead of time since I was worried about traveling with one arm in a sling, and an unstabilized and painful fracture. The only problem… the check-in line when I arrived was not moving. At all. People were just standing there and EVERYONE at the counter was taking forever and that’s when I learned that my first flight was delayed and I’d miss my connection, but the little “find an alternative” link in the app didn’t have ANY options. I didn’t know that Thursday had been an epically bad day of travel due to the weather that week in the Midwest and south so everything was backed up and people had been rebooked from Thurs to Fri and so everything was overcrowded and delayed and awful.

Then began the debacle of trying to get home. When I finally got to the counter – an hour after I arrived, I think – I explained the situation, and through some miracle the agent found a seat on the later flight from my connecting city home. But then the first flight wasn’t as delayed as anticipated, so she also put me on standby on that – my original – flight. Which, unknown to us, put me on standby on the first flight to the connecting city. Oh yeah, it was a mess. And I didn’t find out until I got to the gate, and the poor agent told me I did not have a seat, and I lost it. I just dissolved into tears for the first time since this had happened. I was in so much pain, and so tired, and just couldn’t believe that this was all falling apart at the last minute.

A couple of minutes later… probably wanting desperately to be rid of the crying girl on the other side of the counter (I NEVER cry but, well, this was hard. Really hard.), he handed me a boarding pass with a seat on it. I didn’t even care if it was in the bathroom at that point. I thanked him profusely and finally – finally – got on the plane. In the way back. With a tight connection. Fun! After the deplaning debacle when we landed (Everyone had tight connections, seriously), I moved as fast as I could to the original connecting flight, got to the desk, looked down, and… there was a boarding pass. With my name. And a SEAT. I HAD A SEAT. Cue the tears, again. (I was really really tired and in pain, obviously, but even weirder? No one noticed, or seemed to notice. No one asked if I was okay, or if I needed help. Maybe I just looked too scary? [I had a major black eye and bruising and oh, yeah, stitches on my forehead…] Maybe COVID? Who knows, but… it was a bit odd…)

We finally landed, finally got off the plane, and miracle of miracles, my bag finally arrived in baggage claim. Getting the suitcase in the car and then myself was interesting – and painful – as was figuring out how to drive with one hand, but I managed and finally got home. Where I’ve mostly been for the last almost two weeks.

Because the saga isn’t over. Oh, no. But that gets its own post. I’ll just say that I’m okay for now, but the road to recovery is never smooth and I’ve definitely had some… bumps.

I’ll be back as soon as I can, but dealing with some of those recovery-related things today, so it may be a day or two. But I’ll be back! I swear.

Unexpected

Well, disappearing for nearly 3 weeks was not planned, to say the least. And sharing why will take a bit of time. So just…well, just a head’s up that if you’re paying attention to this random space on the internet, I haven’t been vaporized, and I promise I’ll be back to explain a bit more. I’m hoping to get some time to do this today or tomorrow…

I do hope all of you who regularly stop by are well – I have been keeping up with all of your blogs as I am able, although my comments have certainly dwindled. I hope to rectify that soon, too.