Diane after shoulder surger

I’m usually writing about other people’s stories, but this one is going to be all about me. I managed to get my foot caught in the vacuum cleaner hose a week ago and fell hard into a heavy armoire. Luckily, it wasn’t my head that hit, but I did quite a number on my right shoulder. When I slammed into the armoire I not only dislocated my shoulder, I also fractured the top of my upper arm bone. I had surgery Monday and now have a plate and several screws helping to hold and knit the broken pieces together.

I am home now recuperating with thankfully, minor pain, but my right arm will be in a sling for a while. On the bright side of it being my dominant arm, everything I can accomplish left-handed must surely be good for my brain cells!

I am so fortunate that things aren’t worse and grateful for the great care I got from the Gorham, Maine EMTs who whisked me to the ER, the nurses, CNAs, doctors, PAs, and the surgical team at Maine Medical Center who cared for me, the radiology folks who revealed the damage done, and Starr, the patient transporter who helped me get wherever I needed to go.

Starr, shoulder surgery

My husband Barry couldn’t escort me or hang out with me in the hospital, but he has been a loving and vigilant partner here at home. I’m trying to do as much as I can on my own, but he’s right there to tie my boots, open jars, cook even more meals that usual, wash my hair, and make sure I watch where I’m going.

My family and friends have also been extremely attentive, calling, texting, dropping off books and flowers, and sending me lots of love. I suspect I may even find some Dilly Bars on my porch this week, courtesy of my sister Debi.

Flowers Shoulder surgery

My daughter Katharine delivered a bag full of things to nourish my body and my soul, including huge containers of bone broth. Chicken broth for breakfast is now a comforting part of my daily routine.

Broth shoulder surgery

Every day I get to talk with my daughter Stephanie and my granddaughters. Penny is two and only understood that Nana fell down but she’s getting better, and four-year-old Coraline went much deeper with lots of questions and a bit of role-playing.

C in a splint/shoulder surgery

I’m not happy with the situation, but it is what it is. I fell because I wasn’t careful and in one of my lowest moments I apologized to my shoulder for the harm I’d done and promised to do whatever I could to help it heal. To that end, I’m trying hard to listen to my body and take appropriate action, especially when it tells me it needs to rest. I’m used to plowing through things and multi-tasking, but apparently, all of my reserves of energy are busy healing my arm, so I’m putting interviews, podcasts, and blog posts on hold for a week or two.

Although my arm is temporarily immobilized, I got the ok to continue with a Zoom yoga class I take every week. I thought for sure they’d say absolutely not, but instead, both the surgeon and the physical therapist said it would do me good — as long as I did nothing at all with my injured arm. I talked it over with my yoga instructor Martha Williams and participated in my first post-injury class yesterday and it was phenomenal. Seriously. My entire body was tingling after. I’m so grateful I thought to ask instead of taking it for granted that I could do no movement for several weeks.

The last thing I want to share is how meditation has helped me from the moment I realized I was badly hurt. I have belonged to a weekly meditation group (again, on Zoom) since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s hosted by the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth and led by Anne Gosling. I used her meditation methods to keep myself calm and centered throughout the entire ordeal — sitting on my floor shaking like a leaf and trying to explain to my husband that I couldn’t move my arm; riding in the ambulance over sometimes bumpy roads when even breathing would make me cry out; as I waited alone and scared in the ER; when I got the diagnosis and learned I needed surgery; and when I was on the operating room table about to be put under. Meditation didn’t take away any pain but it grounded me and kept me calm, and trust me, there were several moments when I felt borderline hysterical.

So, friends, that’s my story. I got hurt and now I’m healing. If any of you have had a similar experience and have any tips or advice to share, please do. And cross your fingers for me that when I go for a followup next week, they tell me it’s ok to get in the shower!

Take care and watch your step.