Broken bone brings gratitude for simple actions

Guy Dossi

After a long seven weeks, my left arm is no longer broken. It seems like such a long time ago that I broke my arm while sitting in a chair attempting to put on my shoes. It was the first bone I ever broke and, hopefully, it’ll be the last.

What I ended up breaking was the radius bone near my elbow. I was fitted with a hard splint, and I figured I’d have my arm in a 90-degree angle for four or five weeks. Well, after five days, my orthopedic surgeon told me that I can take my arm out of the cast and move it around. The reason behind that is he didn’t want the muscles and ligaments to tighten up, so movement was good for my recovery.

I was so excited to take my arm out of the cast, mostly because I wanted to scratch it so badly. Within 30 seconds of freeing my arm, I was in an excruciating amount of pain. I remembered that, yeah, my arm is still broken and will hurt for quite some time. And because of the type of break and where it was, that caused pain from my elbow to my wrist and forearm. Any movement I did was met with a reminder that the bone was still broken.

Sleeping with a broken arm was no easy task. At least with the cast, I could apply pressure to the arm and the cast would protect it. Obviously, that wasn’t the case with my arm exposed. When it comes to my sleeping habits, I am a roller, and I typically fall asleep on my stomach, with one or both of my arms under my pillow. I couldn’t sleep that way, and every time I turned in the middle of the night, pain shot up and down my entire arm.

I tried moving my arm as much as I could to rehab it like the doctor said. But even doing something simple like picking up a gallon of milk was a chore. I’m very fortunate that the break was to my non-dominant arm, so I could still do the majority of things with my right arm.

My biggest mistake came about three weeks after the break. I thought I was feeling better and I figured there’d be no harm in doing some yard work. Before the accident, I started a project in my backyard that involved shoveling bark into a wheelbarrow and moving it to another part of the property. With two arms, that’s not that big of a deal. But with a bum wing, it became a little more difficult.

Being the genius that I am, I went for it. I shoveled bark for a couple of hours, then I mowed and weedeated my front and back lawn, and finished by pruning some trees. I think that four hours of work may have set my recovery process back a few days because when I woke up the next morning, my arm was barking.

The worst part about having a broken arm was I had to put my guitar playing on hold. As many of you know, I’m an avid guitar player and in a non-COVID-19 world, have a traveling blues band that is busy much of the year. In this time of being in lockdown, playing my guitar was often my escape. But for over a month, all I could do was look at my guitars from a distance. I like to think that during that time, they missed me, too.

Even with my arm out of the cast, I could not play because of the way I needed to bend my wrist to play chords. About three weeks after the break, I got really excited when I could play open chords. I played Elvis’ “Fools Rush In” for the lovely Mrs. Dossi, and I was thrilled to make music again. But the good feeling didn’t last, as pain quickly returned, and I had to put the guitar back on its stand.

Yet, like most breaks, over time it begins to feel better and suddenly, you forget that it was ever broken. For me, that happened the second week of June. Someone asked about my arm and for a moment, I didn’t know what they were talking about. And last week, I was officially cleared by my orthopedic surgeon and told that everything is back to normal. At times there is still some mild pain in my arm, but nothing that I need to think twice about.

I’m just happy that I can return to doing things that I could do before the break. I’m glad that I have the story to tell about the time I broke my arm, but I hope that’s the only bone-breaking tale that I’ll have in the story of my life.

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