Thursday, December 22, 2016

Things that are hard to do one-handed

I can dance with my granddaughter and children
one-handed (although this photo
is from before I got my sling).
Button Jeans.
The first day, when I had just come home from the hospital in my sling, I had lots of fun embarrassing my teenage sons by asking them to button my jeans for me.  Since then, I've worn sweat pants with an elastic waist.

Butter my bread
The bread keeps dancing all over the plate. Very frustrating.

Buckle my seatbelt and unbuckle it.
I think it's hard mostly because I have to reach across my body, and my body has a big old arm in a splint stuck to the front, blocking me from reaching things.

Sharpen a pencil.
I'm actually doing a half-decent job writing with my bad hand, but the dull pencils are piling up around me.

Funny how different people talk to me about my broken arm, depending on whether they're  bicyclists or not.  Cyclists act like that tough-love parent who sees a child fall on the sidewalk and skin a knee: "okay, you fell, but now get up.  You're going to be okay."

Here, for example, is the entire letter from my father, three days after I told him about my trip to the ER.  If you listen to Prairie Home Companion and know the laconic father "Hank", you've got a pretty good sense of how my dad talks:

Dear [daughter]:

I am sorry to hear about your run-in with a car, but glad you were not more seriously injured.  Cars almost always win in these confrontations.

I was once hit by a car (from behind) while riding my bike.  Ruined the bike, but I only lost a little skin when leaving the bike in a hurry.

Love,  Dad

Or this letter, from the mathematical colleague who introduced me to the dictation feature on my computer.

Oh my gosh - so sorry to hear. I had a similar thing happen in 2000: wrist, radial head, scapula, and some ribs. Oh, and a shattered helmet. Glad to hear your brain faired well - scary stuff. Also glad to know that the dictation has come in handy, just sorry about the need! 

In contrast, my non bicyclist friends say things like this:
. . . And, in closing, I hope you get well (heal) quickly and without setbacks. I'm still shaken up by what happened to you and it wasn't even me. I so don't regret now not getting on my bike more than once this summer. I think I will stick with the exercise bike in my apartment.
Where do I stand right now? I, who named my bike SPDM (for "sudden painful death machine")?  I think I've gone over to the dark (bicycle) side.  I think it's really annoying that I can't ride now, and my reaction to the accident is not to blame the bicycle, but to feel that cars ought to be banned from roads.

Meanwhile, today I'll get a pin put in my elbow. My surgeon is a tall and extremely genial guy with movie-star teeth, who is positively gleeful about this operation.  He says, "I love broken bones, because bones heal."  He happily drew me a little picture of my olecranon, which I've included here. ("Olecranon" doesn't make it into crossword puzzles; it's part of the ulna, which is a great crossword puzzle word.)

Supposedly, the splint I'll get today will be shorter than the one I'm currently wearing, which means I might be able to use my left hand for writing and typing again.  I'm really looking forward to sharpening those pencils.


  1. Ha! I'm totally with you on banning cars. I got hit once by a woman who saw me, stopped, waved me on and they apparently got so distracted by some combination of her phone and the small child in the back seat, that she hit me anyway! Fortunately, no broken bones, just a front wheel shaped like a taco, and groceries all over the intersection including a broken bottle of milk (with the obvious accompanying jokes.)

    CatMan says that you have to assume that all drivers are actively trying to kill you and behave accordingly. I used to think he was overly cynical, but these days... well... not so much!

    Anyhow, here's some inspiration for you on the "banning cars" front... it's not a crazy idea!

  2. p.s. And perhaps the reason we cyclists have such a cavalier attitude about being hit is that so many of us have had the experience! And when you think about it, that's a pretty sad state of affairs!

    1. Wow. I'm definitely going to buy a few more lights to hang on myself. At the very least, I'll make the cars feel even more guilty for not seeing me. Sorry about your broken bottle of milk etc.