So yesterday M’jito and I visited the recommended orthopedist at the Mayo. Basically what he said was Yup! You broke your shoulder. Yup, the best course of treatment is to swallow a bunch of pain pills and keep the wounded paw in a sling. He did give me a new sling to take the place of the one I got at the ER — the one whose support strap velcroes to a spot around in the middle of your back, between your shoulders.
Actually he said he wanted me to do physical therapy starting in a couple of weeks, after meeting with me for a second time. Having done a course of physical therapy in the past, I wanted to be take myself to my guys, because they really are good and they’re only about a three-minute drive from my house. He also gave me a new arm sling. This one attaches either at the top of your shoulder or behind your neck, depending on how tight you wanted to be. [P.S. OMG, did you spot that typo? 😀 Yes, as a matter of fact I wanted to be quite tight!!!)
So, referral in hand, I go to call my good old physical therapy dude. His office and number are listed in Google but when you call the phone number you get an annoying recorded phone company message saying “that number does not exist.” So now I have to get back to the Mayo and schedule physical therapy with them. That will mean I have to traipse halfway to Fountain Hills, God knows how many times a week for God knows how many weeks to cope with the aftermath of this fun adventure.
Paroxysms of hassle — painful hassle most of the time — occupied half of another day.
To get into this new sling or any similar one, you need to wear a shirt under it. That shirt needs to be easy to get into and out of. And when you have a busted shoulder, a shirt that pulls on and off over your head does not fit that description. I have three, count’em 3, shirts that button up the front. One of them is a pajama top.
So, it was off to Amazon for a shopping spree. Ultimately I ordered two shirts, which I hope will work for the current medical project and also will be usable in the future with blue jeans.
Meanwhile, my confidence in the Mayo’s crew of docs was mildly shaken, but exceptionally so regarding the handsome young doctor. He told me things that I happened to know — and have since confirmed — to be misinformed. First and foremost in the “wrong” department: he told me to quit taking ibuprofen because, said he, ibuprofen interferes with bone healing.
I remarked that acetaminophen, his drug of choice, does about as much for me as a caramel candy. Come to think of it a caramel candy would probably be better: at least it would taste good. Oh no, nothing would do but what I dare not take ibuprofen and must take acetaminophen.
Being the skeptical old bat that I am, naturally the minute I caught my breath after that junket, I looked up the question of whether ibuprofen interferes with bone healing. Right out of the box, what should I come up with but this interesting 2020 comparison of ibuprofen and acetaminophen when used as painkillers for fractures. A “Colles’ fracture” is your basic broken forearm. But the type of fracture is irrelevant: the issue is that this 2020 study concluded that ibuprofen is a “bone-safe analgesic treatment in an acute fracture-phase.” Moving on, we come across another report, also from 2020, in which researchers divided a group of patients whose average age was 65 into a set that used ibuprofen and a set that did not. They found that “There was no difference between treatment groups in bone mineral density, histomorphometric estimations, and changes in bone biomarkers. These findings may offer an indication of ibuprofen as a bone-safe analgesic treatment in an acute fracture-phase.”
So the orthopedist wants me to come back in two weeks, after which he proposes that I start physical therapy. That all seems fairly reasonable. The wounded paw is sore if I move it wrong, but by and large not too intolerable. It would help a whole lot if I didn’t have hair that came halfway down my butt. But next week I’ve got an appointment with my long-forsworn hairstylist. Between now and then I’ll have to decide whether just to trim off four inches of split ends or to go all the way and have him cut it off into a pixie. I really don’t want to get stuck on the hairstyle merry-go-round again. The trouble with the cute short hair style is that to keep it cute you have to go back about every four to six weeks. Even if you stretch it out to once every two months, that adds up to a lot of hairstyling bills. On the other hand, there’s no way I can deal with long hair single-handedly… as it were.
Meanwhile, I’m having grand fun (heh!) learning what it’s like to live with a disability. It certainly enhances your respect for people who have to deal with pain or disability on a permanent basis. You have to adapt yourself to so many workarounds, extra considerations, do-withouts, and roadblocks that it pretty much defies belief. Yesterday a friend on the choir who is nearly blind called to commiserate. I can’t even imagine how she gets by. She’s now had…what?… three? four? surgeries on her eyes in attempts to save the vision she has left or to recover some vision. All of them have failed. So, when you consider what other people have to deal with, you realize your little dilemmas are as nothing
Yesterday, speaking of little dilemmas, I dropped my glasses,. Natcherly, they fell between the nightstand and the bed. Stupidly, I knelt down to fish them out and ended up on the floor.
Without both hands to push myself up, I cannot get off the floor once I’m down. Hot day-um.
Fortunately, though, I now have a strategy for getting myself upright. So I butt-walk up the hallway, across the kitchen, and into the dining room — this is a journey, in a 1900-square-foot shack, under the circumstances. Luckily, this house was built during the time of the rage for sunken rooms, and the family room happens to be one of those. Once in the dining room, I can dangle my feet over the ledge between the dining room and the family room. This gives me enough purchase to stand up.
The busted arm is sore on a low-key level, but it doesn’t actually HURT hurt unless I do something stupid. Alas, we know “do something stupid” is part of my stock in trade.
It’s interesting to consider how many of the various devices intended to assist people with permanent or temporary disabilities leave a whole lot to be desired. We could for example remark upon the shortcomings in Apple’s dictation function, with which I am clumsily writing this post. Sometimes it’s kind of hilarious, but most of the time having to correct phrase after phrase after phrase and word after word after word by hunting and pecking with your left index finger is just annoying. How exactly for example, does the word of sound like I’ll? How does I’ll sound like am?
We’ve already touched upon the ludicrous Velcro-decorated arm sling that attaches in the middle of your back — that’s handy and dandy.
My son has been picking things up at various grocery stores for me, but he cannot do that forever — he does after all have a full-time job. So one of these days, I’m going to have to send Instacart out to gather some serious provisions for the Funny Farm. While I’m very grateful for the existence of Instacart, all their employees suffer from the same shortcoming: being merely human. Ask for item a and invariably you will get item b — simply because a person who does things differently from the way you do things doesn’t understand what you’re saying when you ask for something that does not fit into their way of doing things.
I suppose if these antics continued very long, you would devise all sorts of workarounds, so that over time you would arrive at a point where you could get most things done the way you want them done.
Several other small challenges remain to be figured out. For example, I have no clue how and when to get my hair washed. I don’t think it’s possible to wash a mane of hair that falls to your waist with one hand, to say nothing of picking the tangles out of the soaking wet mop. Literally, in the months since we were told we must not go into beauty salons, my hair has grown a good 4 inches; from shoulder length to waist length. I’m awfully afraid that I’m going to have to have it cut off into a pixie. I don’t want to have to run to the stylist every 4 to 6 weeks, but neither do I want to go around looking like an agèd Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Would that be Sheena, Grandmother of the Jungle?
Yesterday, though, I did decide to take a chance on the plumbing in the back bathroom and use Satan’s fancy travertine shower stall to bathe.
The thing you have to bear in mind about this spectacular happy handyman production is that, after all was said and done, the gorgeous stonework that he lined the shower stall with has to be stripped and resealed every six months. This he told me in the last five minutes of the final walk-through before clinching the sale of the house.
Seriously, dude? That bathroom is smaller than the closet in the master bedroom! And it has no — 0.00 — ventilation!!
Is that not brilliant, I ask you? It puts Satan smack in the same class with the designer of an arm sling that has to be attached between your shoulderblades. The upshot: I never use that shower.
The middle bathroom has a regular bathtub with one of those showerheads on a hose that you can pull off and use to wash whatever you feel like washing — like, say, the dog. But it has the disadvantage, of course, that one must step over the side of the bathtub to get into it. And the other disadvantage: the plastic tub floor gets slippery when dampened with shampoo or conditioner. The shower pan that Satan installed is also plastic, but it’s textured, so one would be unlikely to slip in there. And you only have to step over a barrier about two or three inches high to get into the thing.
Of course it presents the enormous disadvantage, besides the semi-annual refinishing chore, of having clear glass sliding doors, which means that somehow you have to get the hard water deposits off the glass every time you clean the flicking bathroom.
Fortunately, though, Luz the Wonder Cleaning Woman just came back this week — or rather, I just allowed her back, now that I have both the covid shots. So I can foist that job onto her. I think if I keep a roll of shop towels in there to wipe the glass dry and also to wipe down the stone walls every time I shower, it should be okay.
As okay as the ongoing horror show that we’re all living through ever gets. It seems as though the current depressing predicament goes on and on and on. Nor does there appear to be any realistic, believable end in sight. Even though I expect that this arm thing will heal up if I live long enough and I don’t fall again, I think it’s unlikely that the deadly virus presently threatening the future of the human race is going to go away anytime soon. Most certainly it will not go away, any more than the flu ever goes away. Eventually it will pick off all the victims that it’s capable of killing, and those whose constitutions allow them to survive will survive and will reproduce, partially replacing themselves with offspring who are genetically resistant to the virus’s death-dealing skills.