Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start all over again…

...or how I've spent the first part of 2023

Gosh, it’s September! I’d say “hey where has the time gone?” but I know the answer. It’s been a really weird year. Things started out okay – we had a nice trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 20th anniversary in Dec 2022 then came home and had a quiet holiday and welcomed in 2023. So far, so good.

Then on April 1, we were out for a walk with the dog when I managed to trip over a branch in the road (never saw it, was looking elsewhere) and broke both my elbows. I wish I were kidding. The good news: the left elbow break was fairly minor and would heal on its own. The bad news: the right elbow break was bad and required surgery (Open Reduction Internal Fixation, aka ORIF). In a lucky turn of events, one of the best elbow docs in So Cal is right here in Long Beach. The ER doc referred us to him and on April 7 I went in for elbow surgery. It was really sketchy for about two weeks when I had no use of either of my arms as both were in slings. Happily by the second week I could use my left arm (gently). But my right arm was out of commission for about 8 weeks. By the time I was released from the splint my hand, wrist and shoulder, as well as my elbow, were all in need of rehab after having been stuck in the same position for so long. Usually two weeks after ORIF surgery you can start gentle physical therapy which jumpstarts your return to mobility but I wasn’t so lucky as the break was serious enough that the doctor determined I needed more healing time. Ugh.

So my entire spring and summer has been spent in slings or physical therapy regaining use of my elbow, wrist and shoulder. Boy, you really don’t appreciate how important elbows are until you can’t use them anymore. It’s been a long, slow slog back to functionality. Since I had to sleep on my back the entire time I was in the splint (and I’m a side sleeper), I slept in our spare bedroom where we have a Tempurpedic mattress that can be raised or lowered. So I slept on my back at a slight incline on a too soft mattress. Hello, can you say back pain? More ugh.

It’s mid-September now and after 5 months I’m around 90% back to normal. But all my other parts were also affected so I have been slowly rebuilding all of that lost fitness. Chuck has been an amazing and patient support, putting up with my occasional meltdowns and acting as my arms when I couldn’t use them. Honestly, if it weren’t for him I would have ended up in a rehab center, I was that helpless. My sister came out for a week as well, providing much needed comfort, as did my best friend. I’m a lucky person to have such wonderful support.

To say my confidence took a hit is an understatement. I am walking much more carefully these days and it took me a long while to get over thinking I was going to trip and fall again. My anxiety levels, which can be high on a good day, skyrocketed with this weird concern about falling. Yet more ugh. I am wrestling my anxiety into submission slowly but surely. And my right elbow, wrist and shoulder are all doing better. The doctor predicts that I’ll regain full range of motion (eventually).

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