AFTER THE FALL

(With apologies to Arthur Miller)

Don’t feel sorry for me.  I fell twice while traveling in Antarctica and South America to launch my Octo year.  Despite some pain and limited mobility in my right arm, I didn’t miss one shore excursion in Antarctica, a city tour in Chile, where I had the second fall; and a glorious three days in Easter Island.

The day after my return home I saw my doctor who determined with my great range of motion, probably nothing was broken—BUT—how about evaluative physical therapy.

I groaned—who needed that, I had to get on with my life. An X-ray didn’t reveal anything and after six weeks of PT, along with working with my personal trainer, I was dismissed.

Despite being religious about continuing the PT exercises, there was constant pain in my right forearm, and nerve loss in my fingers.  By then, you guessed it, COVID-19 and isolation.

Not able to see my doctor in person we had a few video visits. “You need an MRI,” she said, “but not now. I’ll prescribe some pain meds and a nerve relaxer, and when things ease up you’ll get the MRI.

At last, in early June, an MRI at the ungodly hour of 7:45am Monday morning.

At another ungodly hour, 8:30am Tuesday morning, Suzy called from Sports Medicine, “You need to see an orthopedic surgeon.”

I grunted, “Hold on, I had an MRI yesterday. What were the results?”

“You have a rotator cuff injury and need to see an orthopedic surgeon.”

Three hours later I sat in the Sports Medicine wing of Geisel Clinic…how about that, almost eighty years old and a sports injury…who woulda thunk this at my age?

Two days later, the three tendons were put back in place and the torn muscle re-attached.

That was almost five weeks ago. It became a challenge to sleep in a sling, get dressed without pain and still look presentable, and of course the biggest challenge is unmentionable, so I just say it is in the lower part of one’s body. I have about ten more days to go in the contraption and begin another round of PT.

Meanwhile, God bless Chuck Kantor. He flew out from Iowa and arrived, complete with his walker and sixteen meds taken daily, by noon a day after my operation. He’s dressed me, chauffeured me, cooked for me, introduced me to some new TV shows, and shopped with me. He leaves in a couple of days and right now I’m managing well on my own—getting dressed, cooking, typing, and everything else. We have dubbed ourselves “Wimpy and Gimpy”—guess who’s who?

I’m still in recovery and will remain so for the next few weeks. Laura, my personal trainer still comes twice a week and every day I have more range of motion in my right arm.  Here are the criteria that show I’m progressing:

·       Putting on lipstick with my right hand.

·       Applying all my make-up, and I do mean all my make-up, without pain.

·       Lifting my arm enough for deodorant.

·       Writing checks.

·       Going to writing groups and handwriting in my notebook.

I still brush my hair with my left hand, so it doesn’t look so great anymore…

After the fall, I’ve discovered that it really is a right-handed world and I wonder how all those marvelous, talented, left-handed people have managed to survive so well, including Chuck and of course, Marvin Alper.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of full motion.

 

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