Adventures I never sought

In January I broke my left wrist, blah blah blah. Here’s how it’s going. If this is going to bore you, I recommend you not read it!

It is an adventure. That is, healing, and visiting the whole medical-surgical-rehabilitation corner of the universe, are adventures. Maybe it’s just the only consolation I’ve had; but my curiosity has come to my aid and kept me interested and fairly cheery, even while I very much wish I did not need to visit this corner of the universe.

I am so grateful for the love and support shown to me and my “little broken wrist” (as one friend put it), especially early on, when I was in pain and also not particularly handy. The day of the fall and the next day, when I learned just how serious the break was, I was dangerously close to panic. I could feel fear wanting to take over, move into my mind and never leave. The knowledge that so many people cared about me & my music, were praying for me and cheering me on — that alone propped me up, more than once.

Daily life was quite a chore from when I broke my wrist in mid-January until mid-February, 3 weeks after surgery. Certain daily tasks like dressing have only gotten fairly doable in about the last week. I hope I am not breaking any more bones ever; that said, the ankle break last year was easier to cope with (except for showering, which was quite a challenge with a broken ankle).

I say daily life was a chore for me — it must have been a burden for my husband, who had all his normal chores plus all my chores plus being my “lady’s maid” for several weeks. And I’ll say here: wherever you are in life, I hope you have good neighbors like we do, who fed us for a full week and more after my surgery. We could not have managed without their help.

I have taken back almost all of my self-care and grooming, although I still can’t quite get my own hair put up! But hey: I can tie my shoelaces! Often I can work zippers too; some are just too tight. I can do light chores in the kitchen and even open cans of cat food, if I’m careful.

My orthopedic surgeon said this was a bad injury for a pianist, but he also said being a pianist would help me in rehabilitation. I’m learning how very true that is. He gave me permission to be taking off the wrist brace and moving my fingers and wrist a mere 9 days after surgery. I was not able to move much at first — that is, I would try and nothing much would happen — and there was a 3 week wait to get into physical therapy. But as a pianist I have a very good idea what I want my left hand and wrist to be able to accomplish. I’d say I was a touch ego-invested in discovering every way of moving possible before I went to therapy! (I succeeded at that, too; there isn’t any joint/direction combo that Olga has asked me for (yet) that I haven’t already been attempting.)

I can play more with my left hand each day. I can reach and play an octave (particularly important to me, which you will understand if you’ve heard any of the pieces on Drivin’! or any of my more vigorous pieces on the quieter albums). I can’t quite touch a 9th yet, but my left thumb is more willing to stretch each day.

Recovery of ability is speeding up a bit now. Things that even 5 days ago were ouch-y in an unpleasant fashion now feel like stretching; there’s still a lot of sensation there, but it’s more on the pleasant side than not. I can play with some comfort for at least several minutes. I still need to make larger reaches non-legato, and scales are not an option, since it hurts a fair amount to cross 3 over 1. But it hurts less, so I know I’m moving in the right direction.

I expect to be playing for the Mountainair Community Chorus if they perform in July. A month ago I was quite confident I’d be far enough along to do that. A week ago I thought even considering it was insane, since every note I played was accompanied by so much discomfort. Then over the weekend I made another of those jumps in recovery, and last night I was actually just enjoying playing with two hands. Very easy music, mind you! Still, ease in playing is everything. If I can play any music with ease, then I know at some point I can play harder music with ease. Yesterday was very happy-making.

This may be more than you were interested in, but I did warn you! If I post on this again, and I certainly might, it will be the details of what I can/cannot play and how it is progressing and what I’m doing to make progress. I may put Schumann aside forever now (his music has always felt awkward to me anyway) but I am confident I can take up Chopin again, once I get all the way back. That’s that thing: I am now confident I’ll get “all the way” back. And, you know, I suspect I’ll play better in the future than I did before my accident. I am definitely going to learn those pieces I’ve always thought I’ll learn someday, since now I know for sure how quickly someday can disappear.

I get more somedays! I plan to use them playing the piano music I love.

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