I broke my wrist last February (same night as the Superbowl); slipped on the ice.
As I lay on the sidewalk, my grocery bag on its side with most of the contents spilled out, I tried to move my wrist, and was pretty sure it was broken. I evaluated my options. I knew my BFF/roommate was home; maybe I should just call him and have him pick me up off the ground and take me to the hospital. But then, my groceries might go bad.
I decided to try to make it home. Clutching the bag with my good arm, my other dangling by my side like a broken chicken wing, I walked the couple of blocks back to my place. When I walked in, my roommate was relaxing on the couch, watching the game. “I think you have to take me to the emergency room,” I said.
He looked at my dangling arm and obligingly got up, turned off the T.V., and took the grocery bag from my hand. “Could you put the perishables in the fridge?” I asked. He opened the refrigerator and tossed the bag inside, and we left for the hospital.
Sitting in the emergency room, I faced my first challenge when I had to pee. Would I be able to unzip my pants? How could I pull my jeans back up over my hips with one hand (not always easy even with two hands)?
Having made it over that hurdle, I was examined, x-rayed, and splinted, with a cast to come. I was told I had broken my radius and ulna, which sounded vaguely sexual. Apparently the ulna wasn’t something to worry about, even though a piece of it could actually break off, permanently adrift inside my body. Hopefully it won’t wander into my brain or intestines – the two organs you least want to be poked with something sharp.
Breaking a limb is pretty overwhelming, particularly when you don’t have a spouse or partner to help with all that daily-living stuff you never realized you needed two arms for, like flossing. Although I’m not sure flossing someone’s teeth other than their own would be something a person you’re sleeping with would be willing to do anyway, unless you’re sleeping with a dentist – or maybe someone with a tooth fetish.
In the shower with my wrist immobilized, I realized I could only shave one armpit. After some rather elaborate contortions, I managed to slice off a few hairs, but since it was still winter and no one but me would see my armpit, hairy or otherwise, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort.
And speaking of armpits, when you have a broken wrist, your armpit is your fallback – for everything from carrying laundry to opening a jar (though regrettably inadequate for childproof caps).
I was soon referred to an occupational therapist, who I hoped would give me tips on hooking my bra. Alas, I had to figure this one out on my own (again with the assistance of my armpit). He did, however, give me exercises that eventually helped me to use both hands again to navigate my underwear.
And in case you ever need them, here are one-handed bra-hooking instructions:
- Grasp bra firmly by one cup with your good hand
- Swing the hook part around your waist so it’s in the front
- Lift your boobs up with the crook of your arm, so you can see what you’re doing
- Hold the eyes (the things the hooks go into) under your arm
- Push the hooks and the eyes together with your elbow, attempting to keep the material straight so both hooks fasten instead of just one, necessitating an expletive or two while starting the process all over again
- Hope for the best
- When eventually successful, use elbow to push bra around so the cups are in the front
- Pull straps onto shoulders with your good hand
- Resign yourself to doing this every day for at least a month
- Start going braless
Explode, a comedy thriller….Spontaneous combustion, or murder?