Notes from inside a glass castle
Updated: Apr 28
This week's visit to the bone doctors offices where I am never actually seen by a doctor but by a horde of technicians and assistants, wasn't as encouraging as I had hoped. The PA who pronounces judgement and writes up notes on me, expressed disappointment. She "would like to see more progress with healing, less inflammation at this time..." and then she went on to prod, rather hard, with her index finger, at the site of the distal radial fracture, causing intense pain. To demonstrate to me why I have no thumb movement. Or her superiority. Or just because she could.
I left the offices feeling discouraged, angry and frustrated but with a referral in hand to a physical therapy outfit in my home town and instructions to begin PT twice a week. Immediately. Only trouble is, it turns out, the PT business in my home town cannot give me an appointment for six weeks. I continue to seek alternatives while I trawl the internet for videos on physical/occupational therapy exercises to practice after a broken wrist. Yes I also, in the process, learned there's a difference between physical and occupational therapy. I just want a semblance of quality of life back. I want to stop trailing a useless broken wing alongside me in the dust.
And, though I can't hold a block or exert any pressure with the (admittedly, Nurse Rached, very inflamed and swollen) left hand, I printed a few cloths, for the first time in six weeks, in an attempt to head off the big black dog galloping towards me, slathering jaws open in readiness to devour me wholly.
When I was looking for my stash of Talavera tiles for The Bathroom Project, (currently stalled while I wait for the trim tiles to arrive) I discovered five old printing blocks which date from over thirty years ago, from a time when I was playing around with designing and carving blocks for handcolouring.
I thought I had discarded these little pieces of my creative history when I disposed of the bulk of my life's work of carved printing blocks on leaving Hawaii in 2015.
It took me a whole afternoon to print just four cloths what with one handed clumsiness and all. Even though, without the arm brace, I feel as fragile as fine blown glass in a world full of jagged a'a lava rock, I shall persist.
I have also acquired compression gloves. Will this help with the inflammation and swollen fingers, hand and wrist and help me move the same, in order to release the ligaments and tendons from atrophy and entanglement in the bone scar tissue? I dunno. Rooibos, honeybush, lemongrass and hibiscus tea are brewing in the kitchen as well. Kidney support.
Nurse Ratched in the bone docs offices notwithstanding, independent research seems to indicate that inflammation after a fracture such as I experienced can take up to THREE years to heal. Tomorrow marks just six weeks since a little piece of my body got broken, changing my life rather abruptly in a multiplicity of ways.
Next week, after farmers market, and if there's a windless day, I plan to take the smallest, lightest kayak out for a paddle. I've already tested my ability to drive manual transmission by taking Janis truck for a little spin around the neighborhood. I wouldn't be able to take on the ocean right now, but a lake at sunrise? Seems doable.
Take that Nurse Rached and your big black dog.
The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larsen. Not just another WW2 history, this 2020 title from an historian and non fiction author whom I admire hugely, details how Churchill "taught the British people to be fearless". Amongst other things. Read it even if you, like me, are not a fan of history or war. The narrative is based on excerpts from a variety of diaries, letters and speeches. These original words are fascinating: inspiring in their authenticity, facility with English language and humanity (variously, depending on who wrote the words). Churchill also comes alive as a flawed, moody eccentric but consummate leader at a time of crisis in the world.
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey (1962). Not only to understand the Nurse Rached reference, but because some things remain relevant, even after more than sixty years.