It has been almost three months now since I posted anything new on my Nuggets blog. I am finally getting the opportunity to write again. It was not that I did not want to write but the truth is that I truly was not able to. Literally not able to! As you read this story you will understand what happened but more important I hope you glean from the nuggets that God has given me during my absence from my blog.
December 1st of 2012 rolled in like so many other Decembers as far back as I can recall. I was excited about the upcoming holidays and all that they promised for my family and I. The approaching Christmas season was extra special because my daughter had just had her second baby boy two weeks before Thanksgiving. My four year old grandson was already off the scale in excitement over Christmas. Now with a second grandson just weeks old, I just knew that these were going to be the best holidays ever!
Even though I had not wrapped a single gift yet I was very close to completing my Christmas shopping. We had decided to put up the Christmas tree and get the house decorated on the first weekend of December in order to have plenty of time to enjoy everything. Yes things were moving along quite nicely. I even had a mental checklist of all the wonderful things I was going to bake to give to our neighbors and close friends as was my usual holiday tradition. I was quite proud of myself to think that I was on the road to a very well organized holiday season. Even my Christmas cards were sitting on my desk just waiting to be signed, sealed, and on their way to friends and family near and far. Those of you who know me know that I am a planner.
~I make lists.
~I check off the items on my list.
~I make more lists.
~I savor the sense of accomplishment as I cross more things of my lists.
Yes I am quite happy when things get accomplished. But I have to say that over the years I have learned, though at times painfully, that plans can change and flexibility must step in. And that is exactly what happened within a matter of minutes in early December!
On the afternoon of December 5th I was taking packages downstairs to our basement with a plan to get my Christmas wrapping underway. I was on about my fifth trip down the stairs and I had a large package that was too awkward to carry down the stairs. I did not want to wait to get someone to help me. Bad decision! So I decided to drag the package down the stairs backwards…yes backwards! Second bad decision! I think I was three steps from the bottom of the stairs when somehow I missed my footing and down I went landing hard on my posterior end. As I fell I instinctively put out both hands behind me to break my fall. As I came down on my hands I heard a pop in my right wrist. I remember sitting at the bottom of the stairs stunned for a few seconds. Then I looked at my right hand and it was not a pretty sight. At the same time my left wrist was beginning to throb. I remember saying, “Oh Lord! No! Please don’t let my right hand or wrist be broken!”
I painfully made my way upstairs to the main floor. As I tried to keep from shaking, I called my daughter on my cell phone. I knew she had planned to go shopping after dropping off her four year old son at preschool. I tried to keep my voice steady as I told her to come back home because I needed to make a trip to the ER to get my hand and wrist checked out. She told me to stay calm, not move, and that she would be there as quickly as she could.
By the time we got to the ER my right wrist and right hand were swelling quickly and the pain was growing more intense by the minute. You know how they rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10? I was definitely at a 10! The ER staff was kind and understanding. They were quick to apply an ice pack to my right wrist and gave me something to try to alleviate the pain. X-rays of both wrists were ordered and quickly taken. I kept hoping, believing, and praying that my right wrist was only badly sprained. At the same time I tried to ignore the growing discomfort in my left wrist. Much to my dismay, when the ER doctor came in with the x-rays, the story was quite different. I had a real mess on my hands…no pun intended! The x-rays of my right wrist revealed one badly shattered bone and one badly dislocated bone. The x-rays on the left wrist showed a questionable hairline fracture also. The doctor said they would put a cast on my right wrist and a splint on my left. I started crying. My mind was flooded with anxious questions all of a sudden.
How could I have let this happen?
Why did I get in such a hurry?
Why did this happen now, right before Christmas?
As my daughter held her infant son in her left arm, she walked over to my bed and put her right hand on my shoulder in an attempt to comfort me. As I looked at her and the baby I begin to cry even harder as I wondered if I would even be able to pick up and hold my tiny grandson anytime in the near future. My mind was being flooded with questions, all of which I had no answers for at that moment which only made me feel more anxious. All I knew was that I was in for some challenges!
Long story short I ended up seeing two orthopedic surgeons and underwent surgery by a hand specialist on December 16th just nine days before Christmas. Now here I am not quite three months after my surgery and I am still traveling the road to full recovery of my right wrist and hand. Thankfully by the way, my left wrist was not broken after all but only sprained. The right wrist has been a different story altogether. I have been going for occupational therapy three days a week for an hour and a half sessions each. I begin my therapy two days after Christmas. Sometimes I feel like the hand therapy clinic has become a second home. It takes a chunk out of my day but I know it is necessary if I want to see the full results of the treatments. I am truly grateful for this hand clinic and the staff who make me feel so cared for.
The first several weeks after the break and surgery were extremely difficult and challenging in so many ways. With pain in the left wrist and no real use of the right hand I became dependent on my family to do so much for me. I was in pain most days but the pain meds brought on side effects of their own which brought about other problems to deal with. In a lot of ways the month of December following the fall is still a blur to me. I was too tired and too overwhelmed some days to do more than try to rest and keep myself pain free. I will admit that some days were quite depressing as I wondered if my hand would ever be normal again. Oh did I mention that, yes, my right hand is my dominant hand!
Those of you who have followed my Nuggets or who know me personally have heard me say more than once that Romans 8:28 has been my “lifeline” scripture verse for years. It reads as follows:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
One of my frequent prayers is that I remain teachable in whatever circumstance comes my way. I admit that when adverse circumstances occur I sometimes find myself saying, “Lord let me learn this lesson quick!” So yes even in spite of the unexpected fall, the sprained and broken wrists, the various stages of dependency for help each day, the surgery, the ongoing therapy, and the seemingly long road to full recovery there have been lessons to be learned! In spite of all this and more I know that God has lovingly placed little nuggets of truth within me in the journey because again I am reminded that God does not waste anything in my life, not even the hard things! There are a number of things I have learned these past months. I want to share some of them with you with the hope that you will find a nugget of encouragement as well.
1 )I have learned that things do not have to be perfect in order to be perfect!
I was in a near panic one day that I was so limited the month of December. Then I remembered my prayer just days before the accident and asking God to help me keep my focus on the true meaning of Christmas during this past Christmas season. That is exactly what happened! No of course I am not saying God caused the accident but it happened. The aftermath of it caused me to do very little in the activity realm of the holiday. I was not rushing off to parties and making commitments to be in too many places. Since I could not drive and you cannot easily get my hubby within 10 miles of a mall, I did not have to fight the crowds and risk losing my sense of goodness toward humanity! No I did not get all the baking done that I do each year and yet my neighbors did not suffer nor feel slighted from lack of my holiday treats. And in the end I have to say that I spent a lot of time sitting back and letting others pull things together and guess what…Christmas was perfect!
2) I have learned that it is ok to ask for help and to graciously accept the help of others!
I am the type of woman who is always trying to help lighten the load for everyone…perhaps even at times to a fault. Those early weeks after the break and then the surgery I was quite dependent on my family, especially my husband, for pretty much everything. I needed help with showering, drying my hair, getting dressed, preparing my meals, tying my shoes and needing transportation to appointments. The list was lengthy but gradually it has grown shorter as the use and strength returns to my hand and wrist. There were times I needed help from friends outside of family and I am so grateful for the meals, the rides, the many notes and cards of encouragement and for being a shoulder to cry on some days.
3) I have learned that God has the answer even before we know there is going to be a problem!
Even before my surgeon gave me clearance to start therapy I had already prayed and asked God to help me find an excellent therapist who was really knowledgeable in hand therapy. Well isn’t it like Him to “do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think…” as Ephesians 3:20 so beautifully reminds us? Not only did I find a therapy clinic that specialized in hand injuries, God gave me not one but THREE wonderful therapists to work with. These three women are a gift from the Father. They have a passion for helping their patients and it shows in the way they use their knowledge to encourage and challenge me to push harder with each session. They are truly a blessing to me and I have enjoyed coming to know them each in a special way.
4) I have learned that perseverance is the key to learning patience.
James 1:2 tells us to “count it all joy” when we find ourselves in various trials. Without trials our faith is never really tested. It is this testing that produces the patience we all need to learn. There are some things in life that you just cannot rush. Recovery from a broken wrist definitely falls into this category. I believe that being patient is one of those things that is learned, not once, but through out one’s life. Through this season I can honestly say that my patience has been and continues to be stretched. I have earned to be patient not only with myself but with others as well in a whole new way.
5) I have learned to focus on the “I can” rather than the “I can’t.”
Some of the things I still am unable to do are open some jars, tighten a lid, or lift and carry anything over five pounds with my right hand. I still cannot hold a knife efficiently to cut my food or slice my fruit. It is still a challenge to turn a door knob at times. However the list of things I CAN do grows longer than the “can’t do” list each day and for those things I am so grateful. I am now able to shower, dress, and dry my hair without assistance. I can tie my shoes again, use scissors, open the refrigerator door and even cook simple meals. Much to my delight, I can use my keyboard and computer mouse again to type my heart out. Two weeks ago I was able to resume my driving which has truly given me a renewed sense of freedom again. And joy of joys I can pick up and carry my now three month old grandson again! Life is good and each day is a gift to be cherished when we learn to appreciate the simple things.
6) I have learned to find humor in new situations because laughter is good for the soul.
Eight days after surgery my husband drove me for my post operative appointment with my surgeon. We brought our four year old grandson along. The doctor showed the three of us my wrist x-rays which revealed the titanium plate and 8 screws very clearly. Well let me just say that I have risen to a whole new level of cool since my grandson saw that his Gramma has real screws in her right wrist! He could not wait to get home to tell his mommy and daddy that Gramma was packing some serious hardware! I cannot help but chuckle every time I recall how big those brown eyes of his got when he spotted those screws!
7) I have RELEARNED that God has it all under control.
I list this as the LAST point but it is definitely not the LEAST point! The truth is that none of us are in control of anything. We may think so at times but the fact is that God alone holds each moment of our lives in his more than capable hands. Stuff happens, often when we least expect it. When we hit those bumps in the road of life we have a choice. We can allow those obstacles to become stumbling blocks or we can use them as stepping stones to keep going. Often it is not the huge mountain before us that hinders us but rather the little pebble that finds its way inside our shoe that makes us stop walking into our destiny! So my friends whatever you are facing today do not be discouraged. Have you “fallen?” Get up! Dust yourself off and start over. And even if you find that something in your life has gotten broken, do not dismay. Mending may take time but the One who is in control of everything will put those things back together for you in time if you are willing to trust the road of healing he has specifically for you. And oh by the way, do not be surprised at the nuggets you will likely pick up along the way!
FROM MY HEART TO YOURS,