I was the proverbial Aunt Sarah at the wedding who slipped and fell causing multiple fractures of the wrist. Not wanting to make a fuss, and in true British stiff upper lip fashion, I quickly got up and exited the room before the musicians had noticed a gap in the Ceilidh dancing. Only immediate family were able to help me – I was so conscious about ruining my nephews wedding celebration, one they’d been planning for ages and travelled from South Africa to get the job done officially.
Off to hospital and I don’t care what anyone says about the NHS- in an emergency you can’t get better. One doctor juggling a number of patients, moving effortlessly from cubicle to cubicle fixing, dosing, prodding and in my case pulling tug of war with another doctor to manipulate the wrist back into place. Job done, back to the hotel to ‘rest’ at 3am.
Rudely awakened by a phone call at 7am from the bone doctor (does anyone else think witch doctor when they read that?) telling me to go back to the hospital for an operation. A few hours in surgery and being bought round by NHS staff after the best sleep I’d had for what seemed like ages, to see my arm in a sling, wrapped, bandaged and top cast up to the hilt. Another night courtesy of the NHS; with open back gown and all – yes they still exist and yes they are still as revealing as ever, but by this stage I didn't care any more, I just wanted to go home.
Finally I got home, and then the fun started. It really is true that you don’t know how much you use a part of your body, until you can’t. Spinning the bra round to the front to undo the clasp was a major feat; my torso resembled a helter-skelter, where the clumsy left hand tried so hard to help. Writing, fine’ish except if I needed to write cheques the bank would ask me not to let a 5 year old write on my behalf. After a week or so, I became quite proficient with the left hand, everything got done, OK it might not have been as quickly or as well as previously, but the jobs got done.
This new found left handed liberated me had the original back cast taken off to reveal a 3” scar (yes, I did just measure it!) A scar that is worth bragging rights in anyone’s camp. The local hospital was impressed with the new scar – it reminded me of a piece of pork being trussed up for roasting –but they were happy. Old cast off, new one on. I was even given a colour choice – this was a tough decision as I needed to think ahead as to what I had planned and what might clash. I opted for a blue cast, with the help of my daughter who said I always wear blue (no I don’t!) Two weeks I wore that cast, that’s two weeks of blue clothes I had to find, or at least clothes that went with blue. I didn't struggle with this challenge, so maybe daughter is right. I had an evening dinner booked at the new James Martin restaurant in Manchester 235 Casino, here my blue mission failed miserably I didn't have a blue dress to wear- in fact I didn't have anything to wear – does that sound familiar? Faithful LBD was dusted off. Not too much of clash – black and blue, I think I got away with it, wishing that I’d chosen a different colour.
Three weeks in a variety of different casts and they were all dispensed of, the stitches were removed – that hurt more than the wrist break! And the true extend of the injury, or rather fix, became apparent. Complete with metal work to satisfy the most avid of meccano collectors, together with screws to stock the local DIY shop I'm left with a very strange looking wrist fit enough to be a scene in the next Harry Potter movie. At least the casts hadn't been left on too long and my wrist didn't
look like it was fit for a scary movie involving some kind of scaly bent arm monster!
Favouring my wrist like a dog with a poorly paw, I quickly made an appointment with physio, where I was measured in a variety of angles and given a sheet of exercises to perform. I didn't realise the arm was meant to bend some of the ways of the sheet, but I knuckled down and got on with them. Two weeks later with movement doubled its original measurements; I've still some way to go, but I'm on the way.
Its nearly 6 weeks since the fall, which incidentally I blame the Scottish for coming up with such a fun dance that clearly only nimble footed Scottish can perform, or maybe I could blame the daughters new boyfriend as he was my dance partner at the time – that seems harsh but he’s quite proud of my scar too! “I did that” he announced proudly when I showed him the damaged he’d caused.
There have been some huge positives out of this incident. I was told I’d put weight on as I wasn't as active, so I dieted and have lost 6lb. I was told I couldn't drive a car, so I drove a tractor. I can now do everything left handed, where I wouldn't have tried before. I can now contort and manipulate my wrist into a variety of positions I didn't think possible before. I can chop vegetables; in fact I made piccalilli by chopping everything left handed – it is retro piccalilli i.e. no semblance of order to the size and shape of the veg, a nice reminder for the rest of the year when I pull out a full runner bean that escaped the knife wheedling mad chef. But most of all I feel great.
Things are returning to normal and now I'm getting better, my thoughts are turning to golf. I've mastered the left hand non-dominant art-form (kind of), I've got metal plates in my wrist, surely I'm going to be the best short game player now? My friends have rallied around and muted sympathetic comments along the lines of if there’s a good time to be out of action, it’s now when the weather is turning. But I miss it.
I couldn't have got through this without the support of a few key people though; the hairdresser, who without her help I’d be the next best thing to a fossil fuel from the head down, my friends for their kind comments and rallying around, to one friend, Sue, who without question took the Gloucester County accounts from me, as it was a bridge too far to cope with at the end of the financial, and of course to my family who helped me with my bra and a whole host of other little things one takes for granted. Sorry I'm a terribly independent patient!
What would I do differently – wear flat shoes dancing!
Next month, I'm back on the dance floor; but not that one – I'm going to start with putting!