Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Exactly one month from today, on Friday the 13th of June, I'm having the third--and I hope last--surgery on my right arm as a result of being thrown by Gomez the horse on May Day 2006.

To recap: On August 15, 2006, I had a 6" steel plate screwed to my still-broken humerus (see Well and Truly Screwed), and on November 1 I had neurosurgery on the arm to regain function in my floppy fingers (see Surgical Fun & Pharmaceutical Fun). So for more than six months of that year I couldn't use my dominant right hand at all.

More than two years after the accident, my arm still hurts constantly, especially at the site of the break; my middle finger is almost completely numb, index and ring fingers are partly numb, the base of my thumb is atrophying and my grip is stiff and sore. For lack of any better options, orthopedist #3 is going to remove the plate and screws and do carpal tunnel release on the wrist.

Which means that I'm going to be exclusively left-handed again for at least a month. So I'm under intense (self-imposed) pressure to get all my two-handed jobs done by June 12. Therefore I've been out in the garden--when it's not snowing/raining/hailing/sleeting as it was most of today and part of Sunday--as it's now or never to pull up all the weeds and plant flowers and tomatoes. Pretty soon I'm going to have to get rid of the piles on my desk, if only to make room for all the new piles that are going to accrue when I return from BookExpo. (I cleverly scheduled the surgery for 12 days after I get back.)

I trained myself to type left-handed (and drive too), so plan on working on my Great American Potboiler while recuperating. My inspiration is mystery writer Jacqueline Winspear, who wrote most of MAISIE DOBBS left-handed after her right shoulder was smashed by a horse.

Because one must always dress for surgical success, I've acquired two pairs of cotton knit pants that I can pull on one-handed, and have made sure that my stretch knit skirts are clean and ready too. I'm sure I'll spend June 10-12 doing laundry, housecleaning, gardening and taking care of last-minute Book Promotion 101 business, after which I'll welcome being sedated.

I keep remembering the lovely dream I had a few days ago, in which I woke up after my operation with feeling restored to my fingers and no pain in my arm. I'm preferring to consider it as prescience, not wishful thinking. A girl can dream, right?


Gina Black said...

Yes, a girl sure can dream and dreams can also come true!

Sustenance Scout said...

We're all dreaming along with you, Bella! Thanks for the update. K.

Tish Cohen said...

Wishing you much left-handed success. And eventual right-handed success.

Eileen said...

Wishing you much success and highly impressed with your one handed pants thinking ahead trick. With my luck I would wake up from surgery and not be able to get dressed to go home.

Bella Stander said...

After several surgeries and many months spent one-handed, I've gotten really good at dressing for surgical success. Easy on, easy off is the way to go. So up top I'll be wearing one of Darling Husband's Hawaiian shirts with no...er...foundation garment. (Though I've mastered the art of putting one on and--better yet--unhooking it with my left hand.)