On a Sling and a Prayer: A Scar is Born

October 01, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

          My descent into oblivion began before I was asked to count backwards from ten,  a request that had been part of my previous experiences of anesthesia.  Dr. X.'s cocktail of chemicals rendered me wholly insensible for hours.  When HL came to collect me, I was able to walk and talk, just barely.  My right forearm was swathed in gauze.  I was given a sling to wear by day, and a foam rubber wedge to immobilize my arm at night.  Presumably, I might injure my wrist anew if I rolled onto it during sleep.  While supine, I could rest my arm along the foam's length or insert my arm into one of the apertures.  Both positions were equally uncomfortable.  Had it not been for the painkillers that I took at illicit intervals, the foam support would have made my bed less appealing than the one that Procrustes offered his hapless guests.

The foam support was more like an amateur art project than a therapeutic device.

          Tempted though I was  to hibernate through my recuperation, I needed physical therapy.  My insurance would cover twelve sessions, a minimum of two per week.  The physical therapy practice was in the same medical building as the surgeon's office.  HL, who was at least as eager as I to have me recover the use of my right hand, was not only my chauffeur but my companion throughout the attenuated process.  He sat beside me as I learned various series of exercises to restore my flexibility.  Even better, he encouraged me to perform the prescribed sequences several times each day.  

          The first therapist who evaluated my condition also fashioned a custom removable splint for me.  In all, three therapists monitored my progress over the course of a month.  Each was personable, experienced and dedicated to her profession.  I suppose that my reacting to competence with surprise reveals a certain cynicism.  In my defense, recent history, both personal and global, may excuse this darkening of my attitude. 

           I approached my rehabilitation with all of the fanaticism associated with my astrological Sign, Scorpio.  I stretched, pulled and prodded as directed, determined to be the therapists' star pupil.  My hand and wrist were weak, but soon I could hold a pen again.  I still needed help to wash my hair and manage daily tasks.  My dislike of dependency provided additional motivation for me to regain full function.  I strove to impress the therapists, and was rewarded with an early discharge after only seven sessions.  When I saw the surgeon in June for more X-rays, Dr. L. was almost as pleased as I was by the results of his handiwork (pun intended).    

The physical therapists gave me progressively denser pieces of putty to manipulate, and mildly abrasive squares of plastic to massage the scar tissue.

          I wish that this were the end of this story.  My wrist bones and surrounding tissues, however, will not heal completely for some months yet.  After that, I can use light weights in hopes of restoring my muscular strength.  The scar will continue to fade.  Less likely to dim is the realization that any one of us can be humbled by Fortune in an instant, and that it is haste as often as pride that can precede a fall.


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