When I broke my shoulder I wasn’t prepared. I never thought I’d injure myself in such a way that I would need to so much assistance from my kids and good friends. I am fortunate to have people to help me, but I wish I had been more prepared for such a devastating injury.
A fractured shoulder takes a long time to heal – upwards of a year I am told, but I refuse to Google because I don’t want to create a self fulfilling prophecy. This is part of the reason I am taking a social media break – I don’t need the algorithm telling me when I will get better, or well meaning friends sharing with me that their shoulder never quite healed right. Thankfully I have a friend who private messaged me – complete with x rays – that her shoulder was much better after a few months and back to 100% within a year with physical therapy.
I know how contagious the internet can be and I just don’t want to be exposed to those people who seem to enjoy sharing horror stories.
No one is ever prepared for a devastating injury, but there are things we can do to prepare in the event something bad does happen. And let’s face it, the longer we live the more likely we are to have something bad happen, best to be prepared.
How to Prepare for a Devastating Injury
Sleeping with a broken shoulder is the pits, but to heal you need to sleep. Sleeping with any injury sucks, better have a comfortable bed because when bad things first happen you’ll spend a lot of time there.
Last year I replaced my mattress that had seen better days. Instead of getting the mid-range mattress that was good enough, I opted for something better. I invested in a premium mattress with an adjustable base. At the time I worried it was an unnecessary and expensive luxury. Today, I am so thankful I splurged.
At first I just set the head of the bed up as high as it would go so I could sleep sitting up like I had been advised by my doctor. This was comfortable, but sleep was still difficult in the first weeks. Recently I discovered the “zero gravity” setting which raises the head and the legs. It looks ridiculous, but I was asleep in seconds after lying down and stayed asleep for hours. I wish I’d discovered this setting sooner.
Cooking at first was impossible. I couldn’t even open can of Campbell’s soup – the kind with the lift off lid – because I didn’t have the strength or dexterity in my left hand and I still needed to hold it still with my right, which I couldn’t do at first. My daughter and I did a lot of Door Dash the first couple of weeks.
It was also overwhelming to cook and clean. Even now, more than a month out I run out of steam doing housework. I didn’t cook, even when I could, because I didn’t have the energy to clean.
I was lucky, on the day I broke my shoulder I was wearing a convertible bra. This means I can change the way the straps go. They can be normal, or criss cross my back. The bra I just happened to be wearing had the shoulder straps attach with a snap on the front. This meant I could undo the straps and then twist it around until I could unhook it. To put it on I have hook it up, step into it and pull it up and then put my arm through the straps. It takes several minutes to put it on so unless I plan on leaving the house or have a Zoom meeting I’m not wearing a bra.
I have been wearing sweat pants for the last 48 days. At first I needed something loose because my body was so sensitive – everything hurt – that I couldn’t stand anything putting pressure on my skin. I also wear them because tugging at jeans or leggings wasn’t a possibility. I can wear pants now, it’s a little challenging and it hurts a bit to pull them on, but I can do it. I only do if I have to leave the house.
I’m not the kind of person who goes braless or wears sweats everywhere I go. I believe that we’ve become a nation of slobs – just go to any Walmart and see – and it’s is hurting us as a nation. We’d all be better if we put a little more effort into the way we presented ourselves. However, I understand why it happens. I actually flew on a plane wearing sweats and a baggy shirt due to my injury. It was glorious.
It took me weeks to take down the Christmas tree. I still have a few holiday decorations that I missed when I finally got the energy to put everything away. They can wait, it’s just too much to go to the attic, find the right box and put them where they belong.
Besides, the rest of the house is a mess so visitors aren’t going to notice a Santa or snowman in all of this pet hair, laundry that needs folding and whatever else has collected on the dining room table.
I actually have a cleaning lady, but I canceled her twice now because I didn’t have enough energy to clean up the house before she came. Now I’m at that point where I have to just bite the bullet and let her see how bad things have gotten. I hope she understands.
It’s winter as I type this, and we’ve gotten a lot of snow. Obviously I can’t shovel. I am so lucky to live next door to the best neighbors ever. My neighbor has shoveled for me every time it has snowed since my injury. His wife made me a TTHD. You may think you have great neighbors, but they will never be as amazing as mine. If you don’t have neighbors who would do this for you you should consider moving. Life is too short. Also, be this kind of neighbor to your neighbors – the world will be a better place for it.
I’ve had a ton of help. Friends, especially at first, came over and helped in every way possible. I am grateful for these people. And still, they will never be able to do the things the way I would do them. I am persnickety. I like things the way I like them. I tri-fold the bathroom towels, but no one else seems to know how to do that so I have to not let it drive me crazy. I also know how fold a fitted sheet. It took me decades to master so I don’t even mind when I see them just wadded up and shoved into the linen closet – I get it, it’s difficult.
I don’t have the option not to work. I can’t phone a friend and have them do my job for a few days (I don’t know anyone who could do this, but it was suggested). I still did the work, but it took me several times longer than usual because at first I could only type with one hand (my left). I just returned from a convention in Orlando for work. It’s always an exhausting trip, it’s just more exhausting with a broken shoulder. I was in bed by 8:30 every night I was away. I don’t know how you prepare for a devastating injury with regard to work. Hopefully you work for someone who is patient and understanding. I’m fortunate that I have a boss who is very understanding.
Having a devastating injury plays mind games on you. When I first got injured, even though I was in the worst pain I have ever experienced, I actually thought I could shake it off and go about my day. I have done this before, but I was much younger. Being in pain 24/7 screw with you mind. I’m not depressed, I know this will get better, but I have to remind myself of that several times a day.
I practice self-care that actually helps me. I have not given in to the impulse to stuff my face because I feel like shit. I might have a piece of good chocolate for a serotonin hit, but I’ve actually made better choices with regard to what I eat since this injury. I want to get better as fast as I can, I can’t do that on a diet of pizza and cheesecake.
I also got back on my Peloton (with my doctor’s approval). I had to switch out the peddles because I hadn’t mastered clicking in or out yet and didn’t want to hurt myself again. I had to get back to exercising because my Apple Watch wouldn’t shut up and because I am unable to spend the day on the couch watching TV. I think this might be the thing that gets me through this whole thing.
Wordle 239 5/6