As some of you know, I fell on March 28 and broke my left humerus (that’s the bone of the upper arm). Since then, I have had my arm in a sling. In the beginning, I could only make limited moves with my right hand, and even those would often cause me to wince in pain. But almost four weeks later, things are improving. And yet, that break added to my disabilities because there are so many things you can’t do with only one hand.
Fortunately, I am somewhat ambidextrous having been born left-handed but taught to use my right hand by my mother as a tot. When I began to feed myself, my mom would place my spoon in my right hand. She did this because Roman Catholics believed left-handed people were anathema, and nuns or priests would beat the use of the left hand out of kids. Since my mom knew this, she decided to use a gentler approach. She taught me to use my right hand to feed myself and develop some skill so that when I started school, I could learn to write with my right hand. Since it’s my left arm that’s been out of commission for the past 3.5 weeks, that’s a good thing.
Nevertheless, for one who is used to functioning pretty much on my own with unrestricted motor activity, this has been a frustrating time. I've had to depend on others for even basic needs like grooming, using the washroom, feeding myself, and so on. As far as feeding, I needed food to be put in containers that were easy to open with one hand and could be eaten with a spoon or fork. Bottlecaps had to be unscrewed so I could open them myself when I was home alone.
I was in the hospital for about two days when I was discharged. The cardiologist was anxious to send me home lest I pick up hospital borne diseases that could adversely affect my recovery. Because while I was in the Emergency for my broken arm, I mentioned to the doctor in charge of my case that I had experienced painful sensations in my back, like a bar between my shoulder blades, and oppression in my chest. He prescribed blood tests that allowed him to diagnose a small heart attack because an enzyme was detected in my blood that is only found when a heart attack has taken place.
I say small heart attack because the symptoms were not typical for this problem (like when men have heart attacks and often experience sharp stabbing pain that incapacitates them). My sensations, while uncomfortable, did not prevent me from walking my dog. I was confused so I didn’t call 9-1-1. In fact, it took the fall and the bone fracture for me to decide to go to the hospital.
Since I hadn’t done anything about the weird sensations in my chest and back, God allowed me to fall and break my arm so the other health issue would be addressed. I imagine He knew that I would mention those sensations to the emergency specialist, and that the doctor would take them seriously enough to order the blood tests that enabled him to diagnose the heart attack. Also, obviously my dying and going to heaven aren’t in God’s plans in the near future because He could have allowed me to die of the heart attack if He had wanted to call me home before heart disease was diagnosed.
While at the hospital, I underwent a coronary angiography (during which the doctor installed a stent because he found that the artery to my heart was blocked to 90% of its capacity). Since then, I have been taking Plavix as well as baby Aspirin to thin my blood and lower my blood pressure. These two events have added to the number of my disabilities, though hopefully one of them won’t be permanent. I’m afraid that I’ll be seeing a cardiologist for the rest of my life. Heart disease runs in the family, but until recently I thought I had been spared. So now angina has been added to the list of my permanent disabilities, and I hope I can forget about my arm once the bone has healed.