On Tuesday I had surgery on my broken left arm. (I realized that I kept using “arm” and “wrist” interchangeably in my last post. It is technically my arm, but it is close to where it meets my wrist). Before the surgery my doctor came in to see me. I told him to “Be very careful because this is my wedding hand.” He said, “My goodness! When is the wedding?” “Oh, I’m single. But some day this hand will matter.” He looked me in the eye, vowed to take care of my wedding hand, and then the most important thing happened. He slid his pen out of the pocket of his crisp white coat, knelt down beside me, and he signed my left arm - as close as he could to the place that he was about to perform surgery. The concept of a doctor signing a patient was new to me, but it is a way for him to show me that he cares. He isn’t in a hurry. He is paying attention me. He is taking ownership. He knows exactly what he is going to do to heal me. It was as if he was saying...
This arm? This broken one? It is about to get all of my attention. It hurts. And yes, it will hurt worse before it feels better. But it will feel better, I promise. I know this because arms are my thing. I fix broken arms. I make them just like new. And I do it well. Your arm is my handiwork and I am so proud of the work that I know I will be doing on it. Its broken, but it is mine now. And it will be healed. Trust me, it has my name all over it.
I know, I know. Lovely photo, right? But notice the signature on my left elbow right by my cast. That's the important part.
For just a moment, I was calm. I was safe. I was allowing myself to receive healing. In a situation that was out of my control, I knew someone who could take control. My mind raced with thoughts of how God must feel when we are broken and hurt. As if He were saying...
This heart? This broken one? It is about to get all of my attention. It hurts. And yes, it will hurt worse before it feels better. But it will feel better, I promise. I know this because hearts are my thing. I fix broken hearts. I make them just like new. And I do it well. Your heart is my handiwork and I am so proud of the work that I know I will be doing on it. Its broken, but it is mine now. And it will be healed. Trust me, it has my name all over it.
Unfortunately, just as quickly as a little signature calmed my nerves and eased my worries, they gave me a block in my shoulder to numb my arm and started giving me anesthesia. I lost my mind. Nothing was making sense and everything felt hazy. And guess what? Anesthesia apparently makes me a worrier. I was scared that the doctor would be in a hurry. I told every male nurse (assuming that he was the doctor I had just seen) to take his time. One finally replied, “We have to be here whether you are or not. We aren’t in a hurry.” Okay. Noted. “But what if I fall off of the table?” “You won’t. You are surrounded by a lot of people” replied Nurse #15 as he pulled a giant black strap across my waist, literally fastening me to the table. Okay. Noted. “What if I don’t wake u…..?”
The next thing I knew I was waking up, complete with a new titanium plate and six new screws. But the worrying didn’t end there. The anesthesia really did a number on my mind and had me ultra-confused. For the next three days my parents were harassed with: What if I’m not alive right now? What if my arm stays numb forever? What if nothing ever makes sense again? What if my scar is ugly? What if I can never move my wrist again? I really want an O’Charley’s Fried Chicken Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing and five rolls. I think I am alive now but I don’t remember being alive yesterday. Don’t wreck. Don’t drive too fast. Don’t touch me. Don’t fall on me. Don’t let anyone near me. Don’t talk about me. How many times did I die? Are you sure I’m alive?
You see, when I had started waking up from surgery, they unplugged me from the heart monitor, which resulted in a flat-line beeping sound. Thus the reason for thinking I had died. I had several people jokingly text me things like “Well, are you alive?” or “Welcome to the land of the living.” Those texts, although now appreciated, thoroughly added to my confusion!
It has now been five days since surgery and I am proud to report that I am completely aware that I am alive (and that I have been the whole time). Although still throbbing, my arm is improving a little each day. My fingers are still tinted with orange from the iodine scrub which has left me with a permanent craving for puffy cheetos. I also scrolled through my text messages on my phone and realized just how many people love me (and just how many delirious replies I sent – most proclaiming “I don’t know if I’m alive or not, but mom keeps telling me I am.”). I checked my online banking account and discovered that I only unknowingly purchased one groupon. Fortunately, it was to a restaurant that I have actually heard of. I’m thankful that I don’t have a Coach account online. I found a few dresses in my closet that I will be able to get my arm into for work this week and have relearned the art of taking a bath instead of a shower.
Throughout the course of the week, my parents kept encouraging me get out of bed, in which case I moved to the couch. Then I was encouraged to get off of the couch, so I moved to a chair. Then I was encouraged to get out of the chair and do something which required a little effort, to which I replied “You clearly did not watch me try to put on a pair of jeans.” But yesterday I got out of the house. Even though I was grumpy and quiet, mom took me to Scarlett’s Tea Garden. And she was right. Drinking tea from a fancy cup and getting a glimpse of sunlight did make me feel better.
So now my mother fixes every meal for me, washes my hair, and sometimes buttons my pants. I can’t drive yet (legally I can, but the logistics and safety of that are questionable at the moment) so my mom will be dropping me off at work each day as well. So thankful for two selfless parents who put up with my constant whining, middle of the night cell phone calls from the room just down the hall, and my never ending neediness. Also, when you get hurt, you just want your mom. And since I broke my arm 3 hours away from her, I discovered that the absolute next best thing is a big sis who is just like her in so many ways. She was an angel! And my other sister introduced me to Words with Friends and activated our wii with Netflix. My nephews, who couldn’t choose between flowers or a Get Well Soon balloon, got me both. And I’m so glad they did. I needed both, as well as their handmade cards.
I am now well on my way to healing. The road to recovery has my name written all over it. I did, in fact, just type an entire blog with one hand.
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Update: Read about my sleep study here.
Update: Read about my sleep study here.