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Point of View: After the Surgery

recovery - deposit photos

Twenty-six days ago I broke my arm. And not your garden-variety break, either. According to my doctor, the top of my humerus basically exploded.

This is not what you want to hear from your orthopedic surgeon.

Undaunted, Mark and I went to BayCon the very next day, me with my broken arm in a sling. It was probably a crazy thing to do, but I had invested so much time in energy into the con, and was running a book sales table there too, and so we decided we needed to go.

Fast forward two weeks, and I was in the operating room, staring up at the big white lights, waiting for my surgery to begin.

It’s a strange thing, having surgery. There’s all the buildup, and then you wake up and it’s over, as if it had never happened at all, except for the hospital gown and the dull ache from your incision.

Last time I had surgery, when I broke my ankle, I lost probably six or seven hours of my memory just before. This time, I remember everything up until just after I was wheeled into the OR – checking in in the beautiful lobby, having my arm shaved where the surgery would take place, and the doctor signing his name there to make sure they operated on the right arm. And I remember the kind nurse who let Mark stay with me longer than she should have, and who got this funny look on her face when Mark and I spoke to each other in Italian and then piped up and said “Oh by the way I speak Italian too.”

And now, the recovery.

I woke up with a fuzzy head and a strange bandage thing on my right shoulder. My hand felt weird, like it had fallen asleep, because of the nerve block. And my arm was wrapped in a tight sling.

Mark took me home – even semi major surgeries seem to be outpatient these days – and each day since then has brought new milestones and challenges. Bruises appearing and disappearing. Aches coming and going. First shower, first night sleeping on the bed, first night without narcotics.

My life is now more defined by the things I can’t do then by the things I can.

And so much of it has fallen on Mark’s shoulders, to take care of me and to keep things going in the house. And he has his own work to do, too. He is my angel, my knight in shining armor, who has done so much more to get me through this than he knows.

And yes, there is progress. It’s hard for me to see it sometimes, but I am no longer taking pain medication, except a little Tylenol at night to help me sleep. I can get up and down more easily, and I can do some things with my right hand, like assisting with my work on the computer. I have nowhere near my former capacity, but day by day, things get better.

And I’m taking advantage of the situation to finally catch up with all the seasons of “The Expanse.” Next up, “The Wheel of Time. “

I do not recommend breaking your arm as a way to get a little time off, but it is a small fringe benefit.

In some ways it’s easier than I thought, this recovery process. But in some ways it’s far harder.

So I take a deep breath – I do a lot of that these days – and I push forward, eager to start my physical therapy and get myself back into shape.

In the meantime, I remind myself that it could’ve been much worse. I was wearing a helmet when I fell off my bike. I didn’t hit my head. I didn’t have any internal injuries on my ribs or organs or to my knee although it got scuffed up rather badly.

Maybe the world is telling me to slow down a little bit. To reconsider things. To make some changes in our work and lives together. Mark and I have talked about this a lot. Events like this make you reevaluate a lot of things.

So it’s one step at a time. And I will get there, probably sooner than I think.

Thank you for all of your love and support. It means the world to us to know that there are so many people out there that love and care for us.

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