Hello, friends and readers!! It’s been 7 weeks since I personally posted on A Writer’s Tale. My dear friend Emily shared an emergency update, of course, but it’s been a long time since I shared my own thoughts here. I’m so glad to be back!
As Emily shared with you, we got a rare ice storm the day after Saint Valentine’s Day. Temperatures dipped well below freezing for three days straight and everything was glazed in half an inch of ice. The next day (Mardi Gras Tuesday) we even got some snow, so my siblings and I decided to play in the snow before starting school (or, in my case, working on my novel).
Well, we were “ice skating” on our long driveway…and finding myself in a winter wonderland turned me into a overgrown kid…so when I saw a particularly pretty patch of ice, I thought I’d “skate” on it, just like I’d skated on even bigger patches closer to the house. No problem, right?
(*Narrator voice*) It was a very big problem.
My foot slipped out from under me, I threw my hand out to stop myself, I heard/felt something in my elbow pop or crack…and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a puddle of ice water, holding my arm to my torso and hardly able to move or speak. After it became very apparent I’d broken something (I could feel bones moving around in my elbow), my dad drove me down icy roads to our local hospital. Turns out my elbow was shattered in 10 different pieces–yet by God’s grace the surgeon was able to put it all back together again that afternoon! After a two-hour surgery, I now have two plates and 14 screws in my elbow.
I wore a heavy splint and a sling for two weeks. Then I graduated to a removable, lightweight splint the day before my 29th birthday (Best. Present. Ever!) and started physical therapy. I can now go without the splint during the day and I’m working very hard at bending and straightening my arm as much as I can. My therapist tells me that even if I don’t get full mobility back, I’ll get (and I quote) “pretty dang close.”
Needless to say, this has been an experience of monumental proportions. Until February 16 I’d never broken a bone, had major surgery, spent a night in the hospital, or experienced such unbelievable, blinding pain. I’ve certainly never been so dependent on others as I’ve been these past 6 weeks.
But now that I’m sleeping well again, regaining my mobility, and getting back to some semblance of a routine, I can honestly say that good things have come out of my accident. Everyone has been so kind and encouraging–and most importantly, I know many of you have been praying for me. So I wanted to share this list of blessings and hard graces with you, too!
Humility is a Good (hard) thing
I’m a physically strong person, with fairly high endurance and pain tolerance. I’ve always had a long list of responsibilities and I genuinely enjoy having good and fulfilling things to do. My accident not only completely obliterated all my usual routines, but it also revealed something I probably knew but never wanted to acknowledge: I’ve been proud of my strength and I’d made it part of my identity.
I still want to regain my strength and get back to my old responsibilities, of course! But I do think my physical weakness revealed another kind of weakness masquerading as toughness. Do I also find it significant that all of this happened during Lent, the season in which we purposefully reflect on our dependence on Christ for everything? Yes, yes I do.
My Family is the best (Especially My Mom)
The first few days after my accident, I was so drugged-up, so embarrassed by the fact that I couldn’t do anything by myself, and in so much pain, I was constantly apologizing for everything (usually while crying my eyes out). There came a point where my mom looked me in the eye and told me I wasn’t allowed to apologize anymore. She said it was her honor to serve me and that the only things she’d accept going forward were “Please” and “Thank you.” That reassurance meant so much to me!
What many of you may not know is that a week after my accident, my 11-year-old baby sister Joy fell off a swing and broke her leg right above her ankle! My mom has had a lot on her hands, yet she’s been so awesome and encouraging with both of us. Our siblings and dad have pitched in, too, helping out with all the chores Joy and I can’t do right now and cheering us on from the sidelines.
Sleep is my friend
Remember how I reeeeeeeally struggled with insomnia last year, to the point where I’d made a habit of reading for a while every night before bed? Well, guess what? When you’re recovering from major surgery and your body is trying to heal a shattered elbow, you are EXHAUSTED! All the time!!
I feel like I’ve been catching up on all the sleep I lost in 2020, and it’s been really, really good. I’m no longer getting up insanely early on Saturdays, and while I am trying to wake up at 5 AM for a proper quiet time with the Lord again, I’m sure He hasn’t minded me sleeping in till 6 while my body heals.
MEntal Rest is Important, too!
Traumatic injuries and writing do not mix well, guys. It’s a miracle I was able to craft a new article for Cultivating (thank goodness I’d already outlined it!), but other than that I’ve done very little writing. On the other hand, I’ve read several books of diverse genres, enjoyed Hawaii 5-0 and The Clone Wars, recorded two podcasts with my brother, and laughed at all the Suez Canal memes. And THAT’S OKAY! I’ve been through a lot, and I am
trying to giving myself permission to heal in body as well as mind.
Prayer is a Powerful Thing
A whole army of friends and family started praying for me within an hour of my accident. One of the nurses told me that there was one hair-raising moment during my surgery when they weren’t sure where two tiny pieces of my elbow were supposed to go…and then, miraculously, both pieces just fell into place! I’m convinced that had a lot to do with all the prayers on my behalf.
I know my own prayers have run the gamut from desperate and terrified, to incoherent and weary, to simple repetitions of “Please make me brave, please just make me brave.” I’d love to tell you that I accepted my situation with saintly calm and patience. The truth is that I’ve been scared out of my mind, I’ve cried bucketfuls, and I’ve been tired. But a good friend advised me to name my fears before the Cross, and I have done that and have experienced moments of knowing Jesus was right there with me.
Manuka Honey is powerful, too!
I swear by this stuff now, haha!! I had a nasty, inflamed spot in my incision last week, right on the tip of my elbow where the internal stitches were starting to come out. Well, my mom put manuka honey (which is packed with anti-bacterial and antioxidant goodness) on it for a few days, and it’s completely cleared up! Manuka honey–good for what ails ya!
This is a longer post than I’d normally write…but hey, I’ve been gone a long time! I hope everyone is doing well. I’d love to catch up in the comments section! I also intend to get back to my old every-other-week blogging schedule. I’ve got at least two book reviews and a movie review in the works…and if I don’t write something about Hawaii 5-0 and The Clone Wars soon, I’ll shock myself.
Oh yes, it’s good to be back 🙂