There’s Nothing Funny About My Humerus

The irony of the story I am about to relate here is not lost on me, so, unlike the top of my humerus, I guess my sense of humor is intact. Mostly, anyway.

It was just last month that I proudly announced that I had become an athlete. You can read that story here. A lot can change in an instant.

I have not posted since my instant, which was Sunday afternoon, February 20, when I was happily playing Pickleball with Bob and a few of our friends. Bob and I were becoming regular Pickleball hosts. Several times we invited friends to learn to play and then we would enjoy some time practicing with them. February 20 put an end to that. I sustained a career ending injury. It was a very short career!

I don’t remember exactly how it all went down. All I know is that I went down. Hard! I was going for a shot close to the net and the next thing I knew I was on the ground and my shoulder was not where it was supposed to be. The pain was immediate and excruciating. Yet, the moment was kind of surreal. I looked at my right shoulder and I remember thinking – there are no shoulder pads in this shirt. I looked from my left shoulder to my right shoulder and back again and it didn’t make sense to me.

Bob and our friends immediately knew that I was hurt. It was difficult to get up because my right arm was useless. And the pain, the pain was off the charts. Somehow we managed to get me to the car and to the ER. I will spare you the details, but after five long hours they finally gave me conscious sedation, and a team of four people lined up the break in the top of my humerus and reset my dislocated shoulder.

Ouch!
Less ouch and freshly lined up.

They gave me that good news, which was even better news because there was a good chance I was going to have to have surgery. Because they could line things up well, that was not necessary. They sent me home with my arm in a sling and orders not to move it.

That was almost 6 weeks ago. My arm is still in a sling and I am still not supposed to move it. I take the sling off twice a day and do little circles for five minutes to make sure that I don’t get frozen shoulder. The pain is a weird thing. Because there was so much bruising and swelling, pain was showing up in places that surprised me. Why would I have more pain in my upper arm and then I had in my shoulder? They tell me that’s normal. It has to do with swelling. Swell!

As you can imagine, life at our house looks different than it did six weeks ago. I am right handed, so normal tasks are no longer normal. Probably because of the swelling and the tendons and nerves that were stretched, I can’t really write. I also cannot use the keyboard unless I do everything left-handed. I am thankful for voice activated typing!

Bob has been amazing. He has taken over cooking, laundry, washing my hair, opening bottles, putting my hair in a ponytail, and many other things that I will not mention here. I am very thankful that he is retired because if it weren’t for that, I would be in my pajamas all day long with half a ponytail in. Plus, I am not allowed to drive yet. And because I still have pain, I don’t really want to drive.

But, I saw the doctor last week and I am healing. Praise God! The healing is a slow process though. I still am not allowed to use my right arm. I start physical therapy on Monday. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that! OK, to be honest, I’m looking forward to the results of the physical therapy and not the actual therapy. I will probably have 8 to 12 weeks of PT. Oh boy!

So that is the sad and rather long explanation of why I have not been blogging lately and why I probably will not be for the next couple weeks. Doing everything with my nondominant arm is tedious and slow. I also did not realize how tiring it is on your body when it is healing. I have a new empathy for people who break bones!

Thank you for hanging in there with me. I appreciate you and hope to be back to blogging regularly in a few weeks.

Pickleball

I’ve been meaning to tell you that I’m an athlete now.

When Bob “retired” back in July he started playing pickleball three times a week. He’d probably play more but it might interfere with his golf game or his going back to the office as a contract employee (kind of like retirement light). Bob has a lot of energy and the heat down here in Florida doesn’t keep him from playing these outdoor games.

Then there’s me. The summer sun beating down on me can almost keep me from going to the mailbox. That may be a slight exaggeration, but after sweating that 15-yard walk (x2 since I have to return) six days a week, May through October, I’m ready to take a dip in the pool. I garden on the shady side of the house only in the late afternoon or after dinner. Once when I parked far away from a store just to park in the shade, my daughter told me she thought shade was my idol. She’s not completely wrong.

But Bob wanted me to play pickleball with him, and I love that. It was so sweet of him, especially since he knows darn well that there is not an athletic bone in my body. I am competitive, so I guess he thought that might see me through. I agreed to play but insisted I’d start in November or December after the blistering heat had subsided. That would up the chance that I might like it (from 10 percent to about 30 percent). Then we all got COVID in November, so that gave me a pickleball reprieve until December.

December arrived and I couldn’t come up with more excuses, so finally Bob got me to go with him to the neighborhood courts, which was great as I didn’t have an audience. We had a couple practice sessions and then joined the regular Wednesday night group, which he had already become a part of.

Pickleball, despite its ridiculous name, has a few things going for it. It’s played with a wiffle ball, so it doesn’t hurt too much if you get hit. The court is slightly smaller than a tennis court, so less running. To me it felt like ping pong, only with large paddles and strange scoring and rules. The part of the court close to the net is called the kitchen, and you are not supposed to go in there. That was endearing.

The most surprising part of the game was that I liked it. Right away. Even though I was just learning and wasn’t good at it yet. I’ve only been playing for about six weeks, so I’m still not “good,” but I am improving. I set the bar for enjoyment pretty low, and I have leap-frogged over it. I now even suggest playing pickleball, much to Bob’s delight. We are teaching friends to play. It’s practically a miracle!

But that was before the injury. Last week I sustained a hamstring pull. Yep, I pulled a hammie! I must be an athlete! In validation of my athleticism, I would have high-fived my friend who was with me, but I could barely walk, so that will have to wait.

The irony is that I sustained this injury while bird watching. I am still in disbelief that my hobby has so cruelly turned on me. We were walking along the shores of Lake Apopka, enjoying the beautiful, cool January day, spotting alligators and birds, and wham – I nearly did a face-plant after tripping on a partially buried rock. I guess I should have stretched before doing such rigorous exercise.

It might be a couple weeks before I’m back on the court. I sure hope this doesn’t hurt my game!

American Alligator posing at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
Various ducks and water fowl on Lake Apopka