Since I Can’t Journal…

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Before my short term disability starts, I have some lingering work projects to tie up. I sit on the couch, legs crossed, right arm raised above my heart thanks to quilts and pillows, it’s as though my cast is The Princess and the Pea. Typos are so prevalent and painkillers coursing through my bloodstream I look back at a sentence and have no idea what I wrote and was trying to convey.

I was supposed to get a manicure last Saturday, it was already over two weeks and my nails were uncomfortably long. But Sunday Karl and his friend were going to have a playdate with their kids so I could go to the nail salon without guilt. Instead I spent Sunday in the hospital. By this weekend my left hand so awkward and my nails so long I could hardly type in my phone’s password let alone type a paragraph for work.

So yesterday my sister took me to the nail salon. I got a pedicure since I can’t even clip my own toenails, sat with a bowl of acetone in my lap, soaking off my right acrylic tips hoping to not get any of the liquid on my cast and trying not to get a stiff neck from the crazy position. Had the right hand trimmed very short, the left hand got an acrylic fill but also short so I can type again. This manicure was one of the most exhausting and uncomfortable things I have done in a long while; the technician had to stand and squat and bend over her table to care for my right fingers and though she was careful, my fingers got a workout and I had to come home, take two painkillers and nap for three hours.

I keep getting great ideas for blog posts but by time I get to a computer the thoughts have dissolved into Percocet. However I did procrastinate last night and finish a capsule for an Ask Allie post I’m working on. But when I type too excitedly I accidently press something and lose a paragraph or print the page. My Artist’s Way journal mocks me from my bedside table.

None of my coats or sweaters fit over my cast. Karl has to help me put on and take off my bra, and I live in yoga pants because I can’t maneuver a zipper or buttons. This morning I zipped Emerson’s coat using my teeth which grossed her out. I have no appetite, in just one week my wedding rings fit more comfortably. Been careful so no constipation from the drugs but nature decided to gift me with an early period. All I want is to take a long shower but I can’t even bathe without a lot of rigmarole, planning, and others in attendance.

Filling out my short term disability forms, the doc said this will likely be my life for 10-12 weeks. It could be worse, I know. Thank my lucky stars it wasn’t both arms, or my face, or my back. Did you hear my neighbor’s aunt’s boyfriend’s sister fell the same night and is in a coma??? I know, it could be so much worse. I whine as I have family drive me to get manicures, I lie on a leather couch and eat a bomb-ass salad my husband made me, surrounded by flowers from well-wishers. I made the decision long ago to not be a full-time blogger and now enjoy PTO and short term disability and brilliant kind coworkers who can pick up my slack and we can still pay the bills while I boo hoo and online shop for kimono tops and pull-on pants.

Like that damn Passenger song they play every five minutes on the radio, only miss the sun when it starts to snow, only know you love her when you let her go… I only realized how much I think with my hands, be it by pen or keyboard until I can’t do either.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Have you looked into dictation software for your recovery? It may give you some freedom regarding journaling and blogging while your arm heals.

  2. Ugh, I’ve never broken a bone but my husband has broken dozens (skateboarding) and it sounds awful! Hopefully it can only get easier from here as the pain eases and you get better with your left hand (which hey – using your non-dominant hand makes you smarter!) Good luck!

  3. Sweet Alison – I’ve been unplugged for a few days and just played a quick game of catch-up to learn of your accident and the trials of recovery. I’m SO SORRY for you that this happened. And yes, while it could have been worse (much worse), it’s still bad and it still sucks. Please try not to stress over things and just focus on the most important thing – YOU. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. xo
    p.s. Your co-workers are ah-mazing! Who the heck gets a get-well-soon video? So sweet.

  4. Wishing you well in your recovery process, and I owe you my thanks for helping me through my own.
    I broke my right wrist, pelvis and sacrum a few months ago, and your blog was a joy to me when I was housebound…so many cool images! Yay!
    I pretty much went through your whole archive once I could handle using the laptop…really enjoyed the whole thing.
    Seemed like a good moment to let you know how you touched my life and made a tough time a little easier, just by being yourself.
    Happy healing! xx

    1. I’m late in replying, but now that I’m clear headed I wanted to let you know how much your comment meant to me. I teared up and was so honored that my blog was a nice distraction during your healing. The past couple weeks I have spent a decent amount of time catching up on blogs and have felt similiar with some bloggers 🙂 Best to you!!!

  5. I’m so sorry about your arm, that is truly horrid. Regarding blog ideas, have you considered dictating them into your phone? That’s what I do when i’ve got story ideas that I need to get down quickly.

  6. I agree with all the other posts. Take care of yourself and don’t let the inconveniences drive you crazy. My foot was crushed right before Thanksgiving, and I am still healing and can’t wear my shoes. Bathing and hair washing (oily hair) was the hardest to deal with for me, although the toe nails on my injured foot came close. Once things get a bit better there is a heavy plastic sleeve that you can put over the cast for bathing that works well.

  7. Another reader who has gone through a similar experience- shattered my shoulder on a business trip, and had to have a shoulder replacement- 3 months in a splint and many months of physical therapy. I TOTALLY understand what you are saying about the manicure- I had the same experience! You will get through this- don’t negate the pain and suffering you are experiencing (bone pain is the worst). T-shirts, yoga pants, slip on shoes, a big cotton robe for after showers, cottonelle wipes, a back scratcher, a turbie twist for drying hair, some kind of oversized parka you can fit over the cast/sling… These are the things I needed every day.

    1. Oh gosh, that must have been a difficult situation for you! Thanks for the suggestions, though I am late in replying I did take your advice and those items did help things greatly (you’re the only one who suggested the wipes and they were so great to have especially early on when my left arm wasn’t as flexible!). Just wanted to let you know that your comment meant a lot, thank you!

  8. Allie, I pray that you heal fast. I too have had surgery on both my hands and then later both my feet, so I can relate to be physically unable to do the things I once did. It took months of rehab and re-training before I came back to what is now the new normal for me. Take comfort in knowing that you have Karl to help you. We, your faithful readers, will be here waiting for you when you’re ready.

  9. Sorry about your accident 🙁 12 weeks is a long time for a writer and for a mother it is eternity. I’m glad you have a strong support network.

  10. Speech recognition software. There’s even some that lets you use your phone as a microphone so you can get somewhat comfortable. And it’s well under $100, the one I used (Dragon) is under $50 on Amazon.

  11. Hi Allie. You are suffering, and it’s okay to suffer even as you know that others suffer more. You are also grateful for the good things that are happening. Both suffering and gratitude are true for you right now. You’re in a really tough situation, unable to do things that are important to you, like working, writing, and caring for yourself. Acknowledging that it’s awful isn’t self-pity, it’s the beginning of self-compassion. (Nihongo said this with much greater elegance.)

  12. Hi Allie

    I just wanted you to know that I empathize with your feelings right now. In 2010, I fell while chaperoning some of my students at an ice skating party and broke I think the exact same bone (the tip of my tibia-or fibula? I always get them confused). I had a very unexpected and rough surgery, and had my arm twisted outward inside the cast that went from my hand to my armpit, so it was very uncomfortable, to put it mildly. The pills made me sick and all I could think about was how much I had to do at work (I’m a teacher). Showering was difficult, using the bathroom required unknown muscles, cooking was impossible, and all in all it was totally miserable. But it did get better. After a couple of weeks, things started to get a little easier, and I was able to get my cast off a week or so earlier than expected and switch to a much much lighter cast that I could take off when I was at home not doing anything. In no way do I want to sound patronizing or anything, because there is no way to get around the fact that this sucks a**. But keep your chin up. You’ll get through this, it will be ok, and in the meantime, it’s ok to be frustrated. Really. Take it from someone who knows.

    Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery!


    1. Hey Christy, know it’s a late response but thank you for your comment. I’m feeling so much better and you are so right about the unknown muscles, who woulda thunk you could pull a muscle from using the facilities? But you’re right it gets better each day and fingers crossed this Wednesday I get that cast you wrote about! Thank you <3

  13. Try not to make it into the Suffering Olympics. Sure, other people have it worse, but that doesn’t negate your right to feel sad and frustrated and all the other things you feel. Just because others are going through tougher times doesn’t mean your life isn’t difficult right now. Allow yourself to validate your own discomfort, rather than trying to dismiss it just because it could be worse. You’ve got this, and you will make it through, and those who love and support you will ease your path. But it’s still okay to have bad moments. Wishy you a speedy and complete recovery!

  14. Aw Allie, I hope you have a swift recovery! Just take it a day at a time, there’s always something worse happening to someone else somewhere but that doesn’t stop *your* reality from feeling a bit overwhelming for you! Sounds like you have great love and support around you though so just stay grounded and I’m sure before you know it the worst of it will be over and every day will get that little bit easier…

  15. I literally have felt your pain. I fractured both ankles a few years ago (and compound foot fracture and heel fracture) requiring surgeries and was wheelchair-bound for three months. Everything was a pain in the ass and I was miserable. I lived in velour sweatsuits! Keep your spirits up, let people help you, and make a plan for getting off the painkillers when you don’t need them anymore. I gradually decreased the dosage and frequency until I was drug free, but it was incredibly difficult. I know everyone is different, but I didn’t anticipate how hard that would be. Good luck, Allie!

    1. So late in replying, but thank you Anamarie for your comment. The drugs sucked and I realized if I could feel the grodiness it meant I didn’t need them and weaned off to just Motrin, and then eventually only the occasional Motrin. Gosh it made a difference and it was amazing how I was on them such a short time and decreased gently but still had withdrawal symptoms! It has been hard, but it has been a good challenge and exciting when I accomplish something new. Thank you again! <3

  16. I know what you mean – I think broken bones help us to understand a bit about life as a permantly disabled person. When I broke my foot I got to use the disabled parking at Uni but it was still several flights of stairs and really quite a long walk from my lecture theatres! I struggled on crutches but I’m sure it would have just been too hard for some folks.

    Best wishes as you recover.

    1. I deal with 508-compliance and accessibility at work, but it’s mainly related to websites and web-based content. With this cast I see how so many other things in life are difficult for the permanently disabled. Salt and pepper grinders at restaurants, motion-activated soap/hand sanitizer that are at standing adult over 5′ level, round door knobs that need to be twisted to open… I could go on and I know you understand. It has been quite the learning experience!

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