It looks like it’s time for some more growing – growing of me and my capacity to deal with another injury. One might think I would be a pro at this by now, but I’m not. I haven’t figured out how to accept each new injury without throwing a little fit about it first.
I fell back on October 30 – a sudden face-plant on our front cement when my pants caught on our gate. My arms were full of stuff and I went straight down to the ground like a plank. Somehow at the last millisecond, my right arm shot out and caught me just a hair before the rest of my body hit. I dislocated my shoulder, elbow, and wrist. After getting those joints kind of back in place, I was not in too terrible of shape and I actually went and taught gym for the day. The next day I had a big passing out episode at our monthly baptismal service and when I came to and found a group of men ready to help carry me to my wheelchair and then into my house, I was super concerned about them lifting up under my arm because I knew my shoulder was still super sore and I knew it would dislocate again if they touched it. What I wasn’t too concerned about was my wrist. It was a little sore, but nothing like my shoulder.
A few days later Jeremy put me all back together much better than I had done and I thought my arm was going to be fine. it was sore, but didn’t seem too serious to me.
Unfortunately, the pain is increasing. He has now worked on it three times and not only is it not improving, it seems to be getting worse. Especially with writing. And mousing (the act of using a computer mouse). And doing my hair. And stirring food.
So yesterday we had the gist of this conversation.
Me: You’ve got to work on my neck, my neck really hurts.
J: I will, but we need to check on your wrist. Tell me where the pain is. Tell me what makes it hurt more.
Me: Oh, it is just STUPID. Just a stupid, little injury. I don’t want to spend any more time on my wrist. Let’s work on my neck and ribs and knee today.
J: I will get to those things, but we need to work on your wrist.
Me: Fine. But it is stupid. How can such a small little thing be taking up this much time and be affecting so much of my life? It just needs to stop hurting so we can focus on the more important stuff.
J: Tracy, this is your hand we are talking about. Your right, very dominant, hand. I’d say it’s pretty important.
Me: Well, yes, when you put it like that, I guess my hand is important. But it just seems so stupid that we have to take time away from my neck and ribs and hip and knee to deal with this stupid injury. It’s such a distraction!
J: Tracy, let me tell you about the Stanford Tomato Study. The researchers had two greenhouses with identical tomato plants in each one. Every day they would go in one greenhouse and say, “I hate you. You are bad tomato plants. You won’t grow.” In the other greenhouse they would say, “I love you. You are beautiful plants. You will grow big tomatoes.” The tomatoes did just what they were told. You need to be telling your arm, “You are a good arm. You are hurt and we are going to help you get better. I love you. Thank you for serving me so well. You will heal and get stronger and I will help you.”
Me: Argh. I know that. And the water study and the rice study. All cool beans. But don’t you agree with me that this injury is getting in the way of more important things? I mean just a few weeks ago we were super concerned about brain stem compression and now we are spending all sorts of time on this little
stupid wrist injury.
J: It is NOT stupid. This is your hand. A major part of your functioning as a human being is in your hand. It is important and we need to get it better so you can use it again.
Me finally humbled and listening with my heart instead of my head: Hmmm, okay. I will stop calling it stupid and start sending it love and do my best to give it what it needs. What is wrong and what does it need?
J: Well, I think your TFCC or Triangular Fibro-Cartilage Complex is either torn or stretched really badly. You have all the symptoms. Your radius and ulna aren’t tracking together and the TFCC is the cartilage and ligament structure that connect those two bones. You need to not use it. Don’t do things that hurt it like write and mouse and definitely no more stirring pots of soup. You need to brace it if the tape isn’t working as well as it needs to and rest it and send it love. And start juggling with your left hand to build some coordination because it needs to take over.
Me: Okay. Okay. Fine. I will do those things.
I have been trying to work this all out in my heart and mind, to really take his words in and believe them…and while I do, I am still fighting it a bit. It does seem like a silly injury! And it is super exasperating because it is a whole new body part that is injured and the last thing I need is to add another body part to the list of damaged areas…right hip, sacrum, pubic bone, left foot, right foot, right knee, spine, brainstem, vagus nerve, facial nerve, temporomandibular joint, cerebellum, ribs, clavicle, esophagus, stomach, cecum, IT band, hamstrings, left shoulder, right shoulder, and now my right elbow, wrist, and hand. Oh my goodness, what body parts are left? My left hand, hip, and knee? For heaven’s sake, I need to keep the uninjured parts of me UNINJURED. Once something is damaged on me, it doesn’t get back to its preinjured state, it is weakened and much more prone to future injury, so it is really important to not get the first injury.
At the same time, I can see that it IS important and I need to stop thinking of it as stupid. I need to honor this injury and view it as something just as important as my brainstem or hip. It is harder for me to do that though because I can walk just fine with an injured wrist. I can move without wincing. I think something is wrong with my brain’s processing of things because it seems I believe that if I can still move, it must not be very serious – only injuries that completely stop me in my tracks are important. Maybe that is why the first injury did stop me in my tracks and put me in bed? Hmmm. Big things to ponder.
I ordered the new ulnar support brace along with a compression sleeve this morning and am hoping Amazon pulls a miracle and gets them here faster than the estimated delivery dates. In the meantime, I am trying to train myself not to use my right arm for anything…basically impossible, but I am giving it a valiant effort. Tell me, how am I supposed to put my contacts in with my left hand? Or do my hair? Or anything? How am I supposed to not write?
Okay. Deep breaths. Time to learn more lessons and grow.