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I Was Hoping For a Different Kind of Break

As many of you know, the past number of years have brought a lot of challenges to me. Between losing my job, family issues, health issues, and other things, I have been working through a lot of my life and seeing how it really needs to change in order for me to move forward in the next stage of my life. I’ve been doing a lot of good work (like meditation, going to the gym, yoga, etc.)  To really see what new things I have to install, and I feel like I’ve really been doing some good work. The previous decade felt like it was just really tough not only for me but for the world, and I was really looking forward to the 2020s being a better time. After my recent birthday and the turning of the new year, I was feeling pretty positive and felt like I was starting on a new path.

From all of this activity I felt like I was doing the things that would charge a new path and then I get a new break in life.

Well, I got it. It just wasn’t the break I was hoping for.

On February 16th, I was on a weekend in New Hampshire with a number of friends. We’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, doing various activities such as cross country skiing, downhill skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, skating, tubing, and other winter activities. On this day, I was cross country skiing with three of my friends and I fell down on an icy downhill and broke my shoulder in two places. Luckily, one of my friends had a cell phone, the ski resort had a snowmobile that could come and bring me back, and my friends could bring me to the hospital in North Conway (which is the nearest hospital to five ski resorts, and they really know how to deal with breaks).  While it wasn’t the best situation for me, at least all of the situations worked out the best they could given the situation.

So, I arrived home to my own apartment with the need of a lot of help. After posting my plight on social media, a number of friends have stepped up to the plate. I’ve had at minimum two visitors a day for the past week to help me with various activities that a one-armed man really can’t do.

My situation is as follows: My humeral head, which is the top part of my right upper arm bone, is broken in two places. It is not displaced so I will not be needing surgery, but I need to be in a sling for the next 6 weeks, and I will need to manage my pain levels. Right now, I have been on opiates for the past week, and I’m working to wean myself off of them. I have had numerous improvements in my ability to do things for myself, including being able to shower by myself, but I believe for the next few weeks I will still be in need of assistance from my friends.

I have found that there are numerous small activities that we do daily that we don’t notice are really important to have two different hands in order to accomplish. Here are some that I have noticed.

  • Drying One Hand: While I’ve gotten decently skilled at washing one hand at a time, I found it drying one hand is a real challenge. You have to take the towel and grab it and rub it against your body or other parts just to see if you can get the spaces between your fingers dry.
  • Opening Bottles:  A lot of times you just need the leverage of your second hand in order to have the strength bottle. Just this morning I was trying to open a jar of applesauce and I had to wait until a friend came to open it for me. Luckily, I had some jam that I could use instead of waiting.
  • Applying Shampoo: When you squeeze out shampoo, you need a hand to squeeze it into. My solution to this has been to squeeze the shampoo onto my shoulder, put the shampoo bottle back, then scrape the shampoo off my shoulder and apply it to my head.

While I don’t know what the universe has in-store for me through this new challenge, I have learned a few things.  I am very grateful for my friends who have really stepped up to help me in this time of need. Whether it is washing my dishes, giving me a ride to an appointment, or just sitting and talking when I’ve been stuck in my apartment for days, it’s really gratifying to know that I have such wonderful people in my life that I can count on. This challenge is also taught me some resilience. I can manage to do a lot of things that I might not think I could have originally due, and sometimes I had to be creative in order to see a new way to accomplish a task that I’ve always done one way.

BTW, if you do want to bring me some food, you should check out my dietary restrictions, as that can be confusing for a lot of people.

I should be in my sling until the end of March, and then after that I will have to do a lot of physical therapy to get my range of motion and abilities back with my right arm and shoulder.  as I am right handed, this should hopefully really forced me to make sure that I do all of my physical therapy. Until that time, I hope that I can continue to count on the generosity of my friends, and the love of my community. activities such as ukulele playing, yoga classes, and going to the gym will be ones that I will look forward to getting back to in the future.

Also, thank God for Google Docs availability for dictation, or as they call it voice typing. I could not have done this blog without it. Typing with only your left hand sucks.

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