Monday, June 30, 2014

Two Hands Are Better Than One

I should have seen it coming.

I should have recognized an omen.

But I did not.

The omen was our wine opener, which faithfully served us for 20-odd years, until, this:

A week later, carrying out the recycling, I managed to fall off the front two steps and land sprawling on the asphalt driveway.

I lay on the driveway for about a minute, watching all the recyclables clatter down to the street. It was rather funny, because there were several one-gallon plastic milk jugs, and they looked so terribly joyful somersaulting and bouncing down the slope.

I knew that this time I wasn't going to get away with the usual bruised knee or scraped hand, but still practiced complete denial and got up, gathered the recyclables, dumped them in the cart, and then went into the back yard to clean up after the dog, holding the shovel with the arm that couldn't move and raking with the good arm. The next day, the Resident Teen took me to urgent care, where my poor fractured elbow was put into a temporary cast.

Came home with my arm in a stiff L-shape, my fingers dangling uselessly out the front looking like an unfortunate sea star being slowly digested by a gull.
All I can say is OUCH.

Here are a few things I have learned after breaking a bone for the first time in my five decades on this gravity-prone planet:

1. Some things are really hard to do with one arm, such as opening childproof pill bottles, holding a cup of coffee while opening a door, holding a book and turning pages, chopping vegetables, squeezing toothpaste onto a toothbrush, folding towels, making a bed, keyboarding, tying shoes, fastening waistbands, buttoning a shirt (even putting on a shirt), blow-drying hair, clapping, opening envelopes, opening most packages of pasta and other foods, opening jars, using a manual can opener, and clutching your library books while picking up the one that invariably slithers out of the pile and falls on the floor. Among others.

2. People are really nice to you when your arm is in a sling. They will help you out and will usually tell you a broken-bone story of their own.

3. There are lots and lots of awful hand- and arm-related puns in the world.

4. A sling is a handy place to keep a cell phone.

5. You can buy shirts with Velcro-seamed shoulders for ease in dressing and instantly look more frumpy than you'd ever imagined. And a spinny-knob thing to put on the steering wheel of your car for one-handed driving.

Fortunately, the cast came off after a week because the doctor's verdict was no cast, no surgery, get thee some physical therapy straightaway so your elbow doesn't lock up. But it'll be three months til full healing, which means no lifting, no lawn mowing, no vacuuming, more's the pity...

My advice: Watch your step!

Warning signs for slips trips and falls


  1. Sorry if this appears twice - Google appears to have eaten my comment. My advice is to teach the dog to vacuum. It's the way forward. And I do hope you get better soon.

    1. Google eating one of your comments and leaving you with the other is, I guess, Google's way of honoring my post about losing one arm but keeping the other. Google is so thoughtful that way. Hmm...the dog SHOULD learn to vacuum anyway, as she is the one who provides the second carpet of hair...

  2. 3 months without vacuuming! Sounds great to me but surely you could have found an easier way...
    So sorry to read of your accident, it must be horribly painful, sending all best wishes for a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

    1. Thanks for your good wishes, Carol! Half the people I know immediately think I broke it by falling off a horse, but as I would never hop aboard Avi, there is little chance I would ever fall off him :)