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A Fall, A Dislocated Shoulder, And The Things We Take For Granted

Saturday night and I am in my shoulder harness. The large padded velcro strap is tightly secured across my chest. What started out as an ordinary day on Tuesday ended with me in a sling with a dislocated shoulder. Twice in one week to the ER since the shoulder dislocated a second time on Thursday morning.  This Tuesday I get the results of my MRI to see if surgery is needed. My gut tells me it is. Strapped in tightly I can still hear little clinks as I move about.

"You are so positive." My good friend told me that tonight as I plopped down across from her at a favorite local pub. She looked at me with a grin when I told her my biggest problem was what to do with my hair. How do you get a good hair day with one arm? I have managed to figure out how to get showered, wash my hair, put on make up and get dressed with my free right arm. I even got my vintage turquoise necklace on. I hold my left arm close to my chest as I maneuver around taking care of rituals that just a few days ago I did without thinking, movement I took for granted. Then I slip the sling and chest wrap back on and breathe easier that I am secure again.

"Have a glass of wine." She beckons to our waiter.

"No wine. Bad enough I am driving with a sling. Have to have all my senses tuned in. But perhaps I'll make up for it with apple pie for dessert." I smiled back at my friend who is on her second glass of house chardonnay. A smile full of envy.

I have no trouble driving. My left hand is on the bottom of the steering wheel and my right hand is gripping the wheel tighter and I am more aware of my surroundings than I was last week. Before I dislocated my shoulder my left hand was driving and my right holding my cell. I think I am safer now.

Mmmm. I am eating the apple pie with vanilla ice cream and it is better than wine.

As I lick my spoon I think back to how this happened. A silly story but for me, the gal who writes about dogs, how very appropriate.I have six dogs, one is not housebroken. I say one because I refuse to believe I have hooligan dogs who are not trained. Tuesday I dashed into the kitchen my feet bare as they always are when I run around the house. Shoes are for outside. Feet are for inside. Should have worn shoes. I did not see the pee spot on my laminate floor, the floor that is slick as glass. I hit it with my foot, slipped, and my butt hit the floor with such force my left shoulder popped forward and dislocated. Pain? May I say yes and leave the words I would like to use to your imagination.

I got myself up, bent at the waist and called my neighbor who rushed me to the ER, which is actually within walking distance on a better day.

"Gee, I hate to sit down there." I grimaced as he opened the door and I looked at the clean fabric I was ready to descend on. He gave me a funny look. "Yeah, the butt of my jeans is soaked in dog pee."

"Get in." He laughed then winced at my pain. He has dogs and understood.

The next three hours were spent in the ER. Three hours of pain and, for a less delicate way of saying it, sitting in dog pee. I didn't want them to think I had a different kind of accident so as the nurse was giving me a little IV of morphine I had to confess.

"Dog pee. I slipped on it and now I am covered in it." I looked at her sincerely.

"It's Ok, hon." She patted my hand and smiled at me. I think she decided the drugs were working quickly.

As soon as my shoulder was put back in place I had no pain. I went home to relax with very little instruction from the doctor and a very loose sling. "Try to move your arm so it doesn't freeze, but don't lift anything." Seemed easy to do and since I felt fine I figured my ordeal was behind me. I did make a mental note to watch the floor and, well, maybe wear shoes in the house. I didn't want a repeat visit.

Two days later I woke in bed feeling so wonderful. I stretched that long morning stretch with my arms over my head and heard the crack of bone and realized I had dislocated the shoulder again. Not nearly as bad, but still needing another trip to the ER and the entire process again. This time without the pee.

Now I am waiting to see what the damage is and to come to terms with the fact that the sling and I are buddies now for quite a few weeks to come. I am almost certain there will be some form of surgery, but am not dwelling on it until my doctor's visit on Tuesday.

"You are so calm about this." Yes, my girlfriend is chatting at me again.

"What can I do? I am in it now, so to speak, and have to follow the course."

She takes another sip of wine. "I think your hair looks good straight. You look younger."

The magic words.  I look younger. Those words may be what get me through the upcoming weeks. If I don't look in the mirror I might just believe her. In the meantime, I am walking carefully, petting my dogs from a sit position (me, not the dogs) and thanking my lucky stars I am right handed.

The simple things we take for granted. Note to myself: take nothing for granted again. A PS to that note: buy a curling iron. Did I mention my doctor is handsome? I wonder if he has dogs?


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I read your piece with pleasure. Not just because I'm in a similar predicament but because it was real and straight forward. thanks! and i do feel in a similar boat -- 2 weeks ago, sailing along on a Saturday afternoon, just had my tires pumped up for the first time this season, no obligations, really happy & looking forward to all the spontaneous things I would do all day: turned to stop at my friend Shellie's shop where I'd promised to take some photos for her: SLAM. Knee hits concrete first & takes the major hit. I sit on the ground feeling nauseous. I take the photos, get myself the short distance to my home. Cutting to the chase: broken kneecap, crutches. Never broke anything before. Major result: boy, have I slowed down. Way down. Thing I miss most: walks with Tamar the dog in the morning. But, like you say, I'm in it & just have to see it through!...

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Hi Marta - was nice to hear from you. Sorry aout the knee - ouch. I smiled at your story. What is that saying, misery loves company. Crutches sound worse than a sling! I hope you heal quickly. Keep in touch and let me know how you do. I'll get my report tomorrow on what is needed and I am sure surgery is staring at me. I'll have to find a funny way to blog about all this. Last night my thirty-five pound bull dog mix jumped on the bed and tried to put her head on my shoulder. The 7 pound chi who likes to sleep under covers, tried to crawl under the band around my chest. Pretty funny. If I come out of this in one piece I'll be thrilled. Six dogs are very curious about my sling! Good luck and blessings to you. Barbara