No cast for me; it was my leftie
By JANET STOICA
Okay, this is Part 2 of 2. A continuation of my story from last month’s Yankee Xpress where I wrote about my broken wrist/hand experience. It’s been an unforgettable experience. And yes, the CAT scan ordered by my excellent primary care physician, Dr. Beata Stancel-Grabias, proved that I had two separate fractures, one on each side of my left wrist. I guess I was fortunate (really?) that since I’m a right-handed individual, the shatters were in my left carpus. Hey, if you’ve got to go without the use of one wrist for a while, it might as well be the left, right?
All of this was a nightmare. How can you do much of anything without the use of both hands/wrists? The orthopedic specialist advised me that since 3-1/2 weeks had passed from the day of my injury, it was now too late to place my wrist into a cast. I am in awe of my fellow humans who do not have the use of both hands, legs, arms. My situation seems like nothing compared to those of us who have lost their symmetry. Your balance is off as you come to realize that you cannot depend on your twin appendage’s stability to dress yourself, to maneuver, to lift items, just hundreds of everyday tasks that we take for granted are no longer part of our routine. It’s like learning a new set of exercises. You just cannot do what you want to do. Yes, of course, it’s frustrating. It’s also frightening and maddening as well.
Can you drive a car? Maybe, but you really shouldn’t be one-hand driving as we all pretty much realize. You do need the stability of two hands on the wheel at the prescribed 10 and 2 o’clock positions. My sister-in-law, who is an attorney, advised me that “you can drive at your own risk but I wouldn’t advise it.” I learned quickly on my first driving challenge when I ventured out to the grocery store that cast or no cast, splint or no splint, two-handed driving is the preferred method. As I turned out of my driveway onto the street, I found that the two-hand approach is best. I un-splinted my hand/wrist/arm and painfully placed my injured wrist as an anchor on the steering wheel. Once my shopping/driving experiences were over I learned to order my grocery items online for home delivery even if it was using the one-finger method pecking away on the computer keyboard.
Dressing myself? Forget about it. The chore of getting my clothes on became a 20-minute lesson in how to slowly but surely get into my attire. Dealing with buttons or snaps? You’ve got to be kidding! Lots of pullover sweaters and sweatshirts became my new style including sweatpants. The only kind of footwear I was friends with were plush easy-pull-on socks and slip-in shoes. What a royal pain. Earrings? Since I have pierced ears that part wasn’t too bad but slipping a watch over my fractured wrist wasn’t even a remote thought and I had no intention of using my right wrist as my timepiece’s new spot. My cellphone became my new chronometer.
Making Sunday dinner was a huge mistake. How to lift a large pot of water out of the sink to bring to the stove was a dilemma. I was really running on overtime trying to adjust to my new lifestyle. Using a 2-quart pitcher to carry water from the sink to the stove became my latest idea to fill the pot. I think my right arm was starting to look like Popeye’s. Capellini was on the menu and I wouldn’t be denied. How I wished I had a pot-filler faucet right over the stove. Why do pots and pans have to be so heavy?
I never thought I was good at adapting to anything quickly but now I consider myself a rapid responder to changes. Using a vacuum cleaner, washing dishes, putting dishes away, lifting packages delivered or rather empty boxes that carried my deliveries as I learned to open the boxes on my front porch and take items out one-at-a-time, taking a shower and toweling off, so many daily activities that were always taken for granted.
After four months, my left wrist has gone through occupational therapy but the results haven’t yielded anything exceptional. I still wake up with partial numbness of my fingers, my wrist aches before a rain or snowstorm, and I have to be mindful of when I decide to use my leftie for lifting anything major. I’m sure it will improve as it gradually has over the past few months and I hope to see that day sooner than later! Staying off ladders is also part of my new lifestyle too…..