The Naked Arm

I could show you a picture of my newly naked arm. The consultant pronounced my healing stitches beautiful, which was enough to let me know I wouldn’t be asking him for art exhibition recommendations. I hope and expect it’ll look more pleasant in time. I scar fairly easily, so I anticipate a visible line down my arm for the rest of my days.
So instead, here’s a photo of tulips and ceanothus from the hospital grounds.
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London has moved on from cherry blossom to ceanothus and lilac. The shrubs and trees in their glorious blues, mauves and white obtrude prolifically across pavements and brighten the dullest corners.It is incredible how, in such a short space of time, leafless trees are thickly green and abundant; roses have burst into bloom; the cherries are already forming as the blossom petals still carpet the grass. Spring is my favourite season; the embodiment of hope and possibility. Funny to say so when the first anniversary of Mother’s death is only a week away, and I hope it presages a new acceptance, and a shift to good memories infusing the future.

It was quiet when I arrived at the fracture clinic, but by the time I returned from x-ray the place was heaving. Broken legs easily outnumbered broken arms, and it would have been fairly easy to come a cropper and return to Go by tripping over an extended crutch, or a swinging wheelchair footplate. Fortunately that didn’t happen, and an hour and a half later I emerged into the spring sunshine with a new clutch of exercises, two new appointments in my diary, and the promise of a letter from the physiotherapy department inviting me to the hand clinic. This last is held first thing in the morning. I didn’t like to ask if it doubled as a breakfast club, but I am hoping there’ll be good coffee and freshly baked croissants.

for outdoor wear, or if I am tired, I have a light hand splint to wear. I saw Nurse Ruth again. She gave me some knitted cotton tubing to wear underneath the splint. I have continued to wear it as, despite washing my arm several times, the dead skin is still flaking off in abundance. It’s rather unnerving. I wear a lot of navy, and the dead skin looks like an extreme case of dandruff.

Back on the bus, I noticed an immediate loss of compassion. My bright blue arm has been a passport to seats and consideration. A splint left a large man completely and literally unmoved. He remained firmly in his seat by the aisle, blocking my path to one by the window. I asked if I could sit down, and, unsmilingly, he moved his legs to the side. I’ll have to hope the exercises improve my grip pretty quickly.

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18 thoughts on “The Naked Arm

  1. You should ask them to make you a removable cast to use when you ride the bus. 🙂 Congratulations on good healing and a wish for comforting tears as you go through this anniversary week. From all you have said you have a great store of memories to draw on when you are ready. Hugs.

  2. D’you get to sleep without the splint?

    Seems to me that kitty scratching, especially under his chin so you would turn your palm up, would be excellent mobility stretching.

    I am soooo happy for you and sympathize much with the sloughing off – hope you get the hot wax for warming up, it does wonders!

    • There are a number of things in this that I disagree with, but might interest you to read: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/24/nhs-life-saving-idea-how-about-health-tax?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

      I slept very well. Odd to be able to move my wrist and get comfortable. I used a trick I learned after carpal tunnel surgery and made a slight cradle for my arm in the quilt. I shall try the palm up under the chin. He does not discriminate between my hands when he wants a cuddle, so my blue cast was quite furry by the time it went into the bin yesterday. I was thinking that fussing him was good too. I am fairly stiff this morning. The idea of hot wax sounds wonderful, especially as today has dawned off white and chill. I have just been round to Octavia’s for breakfast. She reckons I should have a very neat scar. Now for my first shower in five weeks and a bit more dead skin sloughing before I go to work.

      • “We” as a “nation” cannot afford health case therefore “you” as an individual can have as much health care as you individually can afford. “We” is just all of us individuals added together – if “we” can afford it individually, “we” can afford it as a “nation.” What’s that about some are more equal than others?

        I do hope they have hot wax at the NHS – would hate to have dangled something not on offer. In the beginning I did the hot/cold dip – 3x a day – which is to help break up the fluid that is making your wrist stiff. Of course, then comes the manual labour of making your wrist bend.

        However, I do think the application of a warm and fuzzy kitty atop a resting wrist might be quite therapeutic – if he cooperates. Are you a two-handed typist again?

        • I shall ask about the hot wax when I get to physio. Anything that helps to stop my wrist feeling like a block of wood has been inserted into it will be welcome. Is it something you can do at home? I was wondering about applying ice then putting my wrist into wam water. I feel stiffer today than yesterday so am wondering if that is the result of overdoing things. My warm cat wants to be cuddled and scratched under the chin, some nose to nose exchange of endearments, and to sleep as close to my middle as he can. The Lovely Neighbours, who he has now adopted, keep remarking on how closely he has bonded with me.
          Here, we live in a society where people are increasingly keen to blame others for their misfortune, whether that is joblessness or ill health. Having been born into a post war Britain where sympathy for one’s fellow man was daily preached to us, it is a bit of a culture shock. I remember when I was about seven, a classroom discussion about refugees, and how it was explained to us that people from different countries had had to flee their homes, how it was our responsibility to make those people welcome. It is about as far away from the rhetoric used about asylum seekers today as you could imagine.

    • I’d love to think so, but am warned it could be two years before I can flex my wrist as before. Best probably to consider each stage as a milestone. So now is the time of establishing good exercises and looking forward to when I will be safe to hold a steering wheel. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

  3. A shower! How wonderful Isobel. Life getting back to normal, the little things. Maybe hair washing won’t be such a trial. I don’t have a broken wrist and I hate to wash my hair! So glad the wrist is healing well and your photo looks like you have the picture taking thing down again. I am just so happy for you that I am smiling a big smile! Hugs!

    • Thanks. Yes, it feels like a step forward. There are various movements that are impossible, some that exact a painful revenge, and a growing number that are achievable and pain free. Hairwashing ttomorrow, so I shall soon find out which category that belongs in!

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