- It’s day six since the Almeda Fire started. We last left the house on errands (other than stepping out to look at the sky and yard) last Thursday.
- One cat was sitting on the floor. Another one came around the corner, encountering the first. Both released a startled, “Meow!” We thought that was so funny. I think maybe we’ve been locked up in the house too long.
- Looking back to March. COVID-19 struck. Stay in the house, we’re warned. Then, wear a mask. Businesses shut down. Eventually, we made progress about what should and shouldn’t be done. Businesses opened and set up to accommodate new guidelines to help flatten the curve. Summer arrives. We’re warned to curtail outdoor activities due to extreme temperatures. Wildfires spread up and down along the west coast. We’re warned to stay inside because of unhealthy air. The Almeda Fire starts in our town and rips north and west, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses within twelve hours. We’re warned to stay inside because of hazardous air.
- Meanwhile, we monitor hurricanes and cyclones, melting ice caps, rain and flooding in other places.
- It’s been a tense and stressful six months.
- With all that’s happened in the world, and the things we’ve survived, we’re still among the more fortunate.
- Took the trash out last night. The smoke’s smell seemed less offensive and irritating. Am I developing a tolerance to the stench, or is it finally starting to leave our valley? Naturally I check purpleair.com. Eureka! One monitor reports we’re down to two hundred in one part of town and below four hundred. If we can lop off two hundred more, the air will be just ‘unhealthy’.
- My broken arm and hand’s swelling has finally significantly decreased. I can make a fist with little pain and tightness. Hurrah for progress!
- Writing isn’t going well. I’m an info junkie, hunting a fix, and vetting what I learn. I keep letting myself off the hook. Where the hell is my discipline? Going to go get some coffee, and you know…try to write like crazy, at least one more time.
I broke my left arm on July 7, 2020. Both the ulna and radius (distal ends) were broken by the wrist. The ulna had mild displacement but the radius was all the way across my arm, with the tip threatening to break out of my skin on the outside of the ulna. Looking back, my hand and fingers had also been crushed under my weight as I fell. I couldn’t bend or straighten my fingers or thumb for the first several days. Now I’m working to get it all back.
I wore a splint for six weeks. Film showed healing and no movement so I was given a removable splint. I wore it for most of the first two days. Swelling was heavy, as was inflammation. I try to avoid drugs but ended up using Ibuprofen, per my ortho’s recommendation.
I haven’t seen him since my first two appointments. I’ve been turned over to a young PA. I’m not concerned; I think it’s better that my condition is good enough that I don’t need the top person’s attention, thanks. But his wife, our friend, says I should insist on seeing her husband. Her approach makes me smile.
Progress is evident, with victory celebrated by little things. I can now type with both hands. My left hand is again effective for scratching an itchy spot on my right side. I can hold a glass or mug full of water or coffee and drink from it using my left hand, and I can open the microwave, oven, and refrigerator doors with it. House door handles remain a challenge. I can’t rotate my wrist enough.
I’m seeing progress with rotation, with less pain and stiffness everyday. Bending the wrist forward and back is a problem. I’m working on it.
I began working out with two pound weights a few day ago. My elbow and shoulder movement and strength are improving by the day. Last night, I used five pound weights. Eight curls, although not to full extension or contraction, were achieved. Eight pound weights were tried, with some success but a great deal of tremors, pain, and discomfort.
It’s all coming together, though. I consider myself fortunate. I had good medical care and insurance, and could pay for whatever I needed, and my genes seem pretty good in this regard. Many in this world aren’t as lucky.
Thanks for reading. Cheers
Having this broken arm stirred memories and prompted realizations.
- My broken wrist, broken neck, and this broken arm, my only three breaks, involved the summer months. I wore the halo from June through August (yeah, in the Okinawa humidity — we lived off base and didn’t have A/C) and had the wrist pins and cast July and August (central Germany).
- Worst thing about the halo was that I dislodged it. I’d talked everyone into letting me return to work. Yes, I was clever, charming, and quick back then, a deadly combo. Barely at work for an hour, I sat down in a chair, leaned back, and flipped over. The halo held my head immobile with four screws. I’d managed to knock my head out of them. Blood everywhere. This was about eleven at night, the mid shift. Commander, paramedics, ambulance all arrive. My CC and the paramedics enter an argument; my CC wants to ride with me. They wouldn’t let him.
- After that night, wife, friends, boss, doc. were all of the opinion that I should just stay home.
- When my halo was removed, my head felt weirdly light. (Guess I was light headed…) My wife and friends said my head would start bobbing during the first few days. They worked hard not to laugh. I never noticed it.
- My CC then, Col. Mike Kerr, was one of my favorite commanders, but I was fortunate to have several good ones. He’d had twenty-four staples in his skull. This all happened in the Vietnam era. He was a forward ground controller, but had additional duties on base. There’d been a mortar attack. His job was to go out, find unexploded ordinance, mark it, and call it in. The enemy knew this routine, so they put snipers in trees just outside the base. One was shooting at Kerr, so Kerr hunted him down. Hand to hand combat ensued. Kerr received his injuries.
- My splint is off. My arm has shrunk. Dry skin and wrinkles abound. I’m wearing a removable wrist brace. Elbow movement is very good but hand, wrist, and fingers need work. The healing continues.
I believe I posted most of this stuff before.
Hope you’re all surviving and thriving, wherever you are. Wear your damn mask, please.
- Poor air quality today. Only a fool doesn’t pause to think, “But we’re not on fire. We’re not evacuating.” Even agnostic me thinks, “Come on, whatever power there is – God, Jehovah, Allah, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Universe. Help California.”
- The list of places, people, and animals requiring help continues to grow. Just a few short months ago, we held our breath as Australia burned. Now 77 fires in fifteen states are burning. California has lost 1,000,000 acres. Read of the sad situation on CNN.
- Need to indulge in a somber moment of reflection after reading that.
- Boy, there are so many good reads out. Masked and walking downtown (after picking up library books), we arrived at an Ashland book store, Bloomsbury, and ogled the window display and the plethora of offerings. It’s a sigh moment. I want to read more but I also want to write more. Doing more of either encourages more of both. It’s a vicious and delicious damn cycle.
- Being downtown on Saturday did nothing to assuage our rona worries. Town was very busy. Signs requiring masks while downtown were frequent and prominent. There wasn’t any enforcement, so groups of the great unmasked were regularly encountered. Not a surprise, given that 57% of Republicans think the current level of death from COVID-19 in the U.S. — almost 180,000 people in five months — is acceptable.
- Still not much better as a one-handed typist. Type a sentence, and then go back and fix all the typos. Going to the doc for a follow up. Fingers crossed (on right hand; that remains impossible on the left). He told me last time that could probably fit a removable splint today. Like I say, fingers crossed.
- Time to leave for the doc, so later, gator.
Returned to the doc today but I’m in the same splint. Sayeth the doc, “You were so close to requiring surgery. If your injury moved, you were just that close. It’s healing well, and the film looks good, but we don’t want to risk anything moving if we can avoid that risk.”
So, okay. Go back in two weeks. I feel it healing and improving daily. I know I’m doing well because I’m antsy to get on with rehab.
Is it redundant to say tiny tidbits? Are not tidbits tiny by definition?
There’s a bit of whinging in this week’s short stuff, because I, an American white male, am a champion first-world complainer, often suffering first world blues much like “The Princess and the Pea”. I play the princess (call me Princess M, please) and the pea is anything from entertainment offerings, food prices, and net speeds to ‘things I can’t do well with my broken arm’.
I think I’ll start there.
- Typing. Buttons. Holding things with my left hand. Showering. Washing my hair. Putting on deodorant. Opening cat food tins. Opening ziplock type bags. Tearing toilet paper. These have all been challenges with my left arm in a splint and sling. Went back and read the ER report from that night. I’d overlooked the damages noted to my elbow, wrist, and fingers. I thought it was just the broken radius and broken and displaced ulna, but there was more. That more explains the struggles. All getting better, though. Give it time, right? It’ll be a month tomorrow.
- One-handed typing slows my novel writing. I depend on muscle memory and typing proficiency to expedite learning the tale and telling the story. Using one hand requires more thought, which disrupts the writing flow. Progress is tedious. I shoot for a thousand words a day (yeah word count as a metric, carrot, and stick) but I’m usually lucky to achieve five hundred.
- Other things: one, food prices. They’re rising fast now. Experts are making dire predictions about shortages, food insecurity, and distribution chain issues next year. Like, brace yourself.
- Example of food prices rising. Went on a groc shop today. Twelve items. One bag, mostly fresh produce: $42. Passed on a pint of mission figs for $12.99, and a half pint of blackberries for $4.99.
- The stock market isn’t moored in reality. It certainly isn’t ‘the economy’. One, most stocks are international businesses, reflecting global activity. Two, the wealthiest individuals own most of the stock. As an example, I own stocks, and also have some in IRAs and a 401k. Because of that, I’m worth a chunk more on paper.
- Running short of entertainment offerings. Basically have been rationing season two of “The Umbrella Academy” while working through “The Last Dance” and other documentaries and filling up on Brit faves “Would I Lie to You” and “QI” (with that rand Scandi Sandi and Alan Davis), and “The Kominsky Method“. Have just discovered the “Russo Bros. Pizza Film School“, which I’ll start watching tonight. Last week brought an unexpected “Red Dwarf” treat in a new episode.
- “Red Dwarf” remains unabashedly silly and illogical after all these years. Love it.
- Excitement on the streaming front. “Hitmen” with Sue and Mel on Peacock is coming. (If you asked, “Sue and Mel?”, it’s probably not your cuppa.) New Frost and Pegg series on Amazon Prime, “Truth Seekers”, is coming…someday. The second year of “The Boys” is finally arriving Sept. 4, so I’ll start watching season one again.
- Saying the long good-bye to a friend. Brain tumor. He’s trying to hang on to vote for Biden and have one final Thanksgiving with his family. Eighty-eight and an accomplished physicist, he’ll be the one to tell you he’s had a good life, but he had a lot more to do. He’s the third friend lost to brain cancer/tumor in the last few years.
Tell me about your world – books, streaming, writing in progress. What’re you watching? Eat anything interesting lately? “Red Dwarf”: for or against?
Got my coffee. Time to do me best to write like crazy, at least one more time.
- Typing with one hand is a challenge. Fortunately, my right hand is dominant, and it’s okay. Also fortunately, this isn’t permanent. Tedious process, though. Seven hundred words a day is my current limit. Meanwhile, the muses are running amuck with story ideas. I considered (and haven’t discarded) the idea of writing with a pen in a notebook. Anything to keep the tales moving, hey?
- Haven’t been drinking coffee. First, wanted to rest and sleep. Second, read to avoid caffeine to promote healing broken bones. So, no coffee, no alcohol, and no chocolate. Had dropped the latter from my diet after I discovered what it does to my prostate. Thinking about drinking coffee tomorrow, as I’m weaning myself off the Percocet. Only had one Perc today, three yesterday. Four are prescribed.
- My walking has declined. Been spending most of my time abed. Reached eight thousand steps for the last three days, ten thousand on the last two. I have a long way to go.
- Poor spouse. She’s doing such a terrific job, doing everything, and complaining. This is my fifth trauma in our fifty years together (boyfriend and hubby). In order, cut off tip of my toe, mono, broken neck, dislocated wrist, and this. She should’ve vetted me better. In fairness, I had mono when stationed in the Philippines, and she wasn’t with me. One trauma a decade average; is that normal?
- The cats on that first night and morning were so sweet. I usually feed them. With daybreak, I asked my wife to do that, but the cats refused to go and eat. She brought the food in to them. Nope; they weren’t eating. Wasn’t till I got up a few hours later that they ate. Number one and two cat continued to stay with me through the day. Their loyalty and concern flatters me.
- I feel for the rest of America, enduring a heat wave. Our temps are brushing ninety in Ashland, quite bearable, as night temps fall into the mid-fifties.