I’m back, bitches!!

This was Taylor for two weeks.

My apologies for just dropping off the radar for a month. I know you all were in absolute agony without me, but trust me – it wasn’t as much agony as I was in. Word to the wise: Never, ever, ever break your clavicle. Ever. The same goes for your ribs (from what I hear), or your scapula, or any other bone that connects to your torso.  Pictures?  I think we need pictures.

This is a normal collarbone.

This is how Taylor breaks bones.

And now…

For the first two weeks, I couldn’t sneeze, cough, blow my nose, use my arm, bend at the waist, shrug my shoulders, laugh, breathe in, breathe out take a deep breath, shiver, or yawn without being in varying (usually an 8-9 on a scale of 10) amounts of pain. This is outside of the normal wracking pain every time I stretched to pick something up, move something, readjust the pillows, move myself into a different position on the bed, get up, sit down, lay down, trying to get dressed (and that was with 90% help, because there was no way I was putting on socks, pants, shoes, shirts, or bras by myself). Lets not even talk about the difficulties with going to the bathroom or taking a shower by myself, because those were not options. Laying in bed without the ability to roll on your side, lay on your stomach, lay flat on your back, or really move much at all wreaks havoc on your back and shoulder and neck, and I had pinched nerves left and right (which at times was worse than dealing with the broken bone).

Going out in public felt like being on the front lines of a battle. I was constantly guarding my left side, giving people the stink-eye if they got too close, making loud “Aaaaaahhh!!!” warning noises if someone even vaguely got too close to my left side. I’m sure it would have been comical had it been on a television show. And it’s hilarious to me now to watch television – which I have done far more than my fair share of this month – and see people who just got shot, or broke a bone, and they are doing something crazy like dancing or running or having sex immediately afterward. THAT IS BULLSHIT, YOU CANNOT DO THAT STUFF.

We are now four weeks out, and I still can’t wash my own hair, put a hair clip in or put my hair in a ponytail, open anything that requires you to twist (like water bottles or my medicine – good thinking, pharmacy! Give me the narcotics in a bottle that requires an act of God to open), open/close doors (including the fridge – imagine how hard it is to put something back in the fridge one-handed)…basically, I’m not allowed to raise my arm more than 90 degrees, and I can’t use my arm for anything. No pushing, pulling, lifting, anything. I am basically one-handed. I can only carry something the weight of a soup can…for the next month (minimum).

But the best part? It was my dominant side that broke, so for two weeks, I was eating right-handed, writing right-handed, and constantly battling with my brain to learn to do things with my right arm. Now that it doesn’t hurt to move it anymore, I go to reach for something with my left arm, and have to be like, “Brain! No. Right arm.” It’s probably more maddening than the pain was, having to train myself not to use my dominant arm. But at least my handwriting doesn’t look like this anymore:

For a good amount of reference, tie your dominant arm behind your back for a day. If you don’t cave in to the madness by hour four, you’re a stronger person than I.

Thank God I have a husband who has been lovingly willing to continue to take care of me, without complaint or hurt feelings (or an end in sight). He had to endure my yelling at him for two solid weeks every time he moved on the bed, or coughed, or accidentally bumped me in the middle of the night, or drove too fast, or ran over too many bumps, or got too close to my bad side, or even just breathed too hard in my general direction. Poor guy. He has been a super-champ, and that’s saying something given that I’m pretty pig-headed when it comes to having people take care of me – if there’s even a chance that I can do it myself, I will do it myself. He has had to chase me down the hallway to yell at me for going to the kitchen to get food for myself. After four weeks of this, he now just sits there and watches me try to do something myself, until I grunt and give up. Then he will be like, “Oh, did you need some help?” with an I-told-you-so look on his face. If that face wasn’t so adorable, I probably wouldn’t keep trying to do stuff by myself all the time. (Maybe.)

My mom dropped everything and drove from Austin to take care of me for five days straight, with round-the-clock support and 4AM drives to the pharmacy.  People sent flowers, friends made me dinners (because Husband can’t even successfully boil water 100% of the time) and brought them over.  My pregnant friend Ashley (you remember her) dropped everything and waddled herself over to my house, put me in clothes, and drove me to the ER (I think her payment was seeing me after I had morphine in me.  It was apparently rather humorous.), then came over a few days later with flowers, food, a balloon, and a get-well card for me, then came over the next week with not one, but two cooked meals. How awesome is that?  It made me fall a little bit more in love with her (and I swear, that isn’t the Percocet talking).

There is a bright side to all of this. I’m lucky to be alive. I’m lucky to have the friends and family I do, who was so willing to do whatever they could to help.  I’m lucky I didn’t break anything else in addition to the clavicle (because honestly, I don’t think I could have handled that). I’m lucky that I didn’t have any tendon or ligament issues, and I didn’t hurt my shoulder or rotator cuff. It was a clean break, and while there were several fragments, and I had to get a plate put in because I had a 5.8cm displacement, and I have to be extra ginger with the healing because I have a .9cm piece of bone that’s only sewed onto the titanium plate (because the surgeon couldn’t put a screw through it without shattering the fragment), it’s already feeling so much better. I have been diligent with my physical therapy, and the PTs are really happy to see that I already have 100% range of motion in the arm. The more I work it, the more I can move it without the scar tissue catching, or without the muscles in my neck and shoulder seizing up. I finally got cleared to start driving (one-handed, which has its own challenges), and now I’m finally back to work, where there are people to talk to and things to do outside of just watching TV all day. Yay! Yes, it starts hurting after about five hours, and yes, I sometimes wish I could drag a bed into my cubicle to work. But it all gets better with every passing week. Every day, I discover that I can do something I couldn’t do yesterday. I cannot express the childlike enthusiasm that you get when you can feed yourself with your dominant hand again, or sign your name on a piece of paper without it looking like your pre-K daughter signed for you, or you can open a door by yourself, or hug your loved ones without wanting to wince. There’s still a lot I can’t do, and yes I have a horrible scar 8 inches long and half an inch thick that I’m going to have to patiently wait for it to heal and fade. But there’s so much more that I can do. It makes me cling to the joy of those new things I can do, without assistance.

Though I bet the people at the grocery store are really confused when I fist-pump the air after successfully putting a Gatorade bottle in my cart.

Bottom line? Breaking your collarbone sucks. Don’t do it. But do treasure that you can wash your own hair and put on your own clothes.  Treasure than you can snuggle up to your partner in bed at night, and that you can pick up your kids or your pet and cuddle their faces. Treasure that you can sneeze and laugh without having to painfully hold a part of your body stationary. Because I envy you bitches!!!  I also envy anyone who can wear a bikini, because that’s not me this summer:

Sexy, right?

It looks better in the picture, and I know it will fade. But right now, I’m being vain. Deal.

So anyway, love you all!

4 comments on “I’m back, bitches!!

  1. That is an AWESOME scar! Don’t be vain, it’s coooool. Think of all the amazing bullshit stories you can tell people about what happened! Ok yes, I belong in the country that invented Blarney :) Glad you made it, and your story almost made me feel sorry for my hubby who had/has bruised ribs and deserved it…

    • I’m still fabricating the details on my “I got into a fight with Somali pirates” story. :)

      Bruised ribs = Boo! you take care of that man! Unless he’s a jerk, and then don’t.

  2. Clip Snark says:

    Glad to see you back!

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