Sunday, December 29, 2019

Out of Commission: Part 5: Healing

My Health

It has been a little more than five weeks after my fall and resultant injury to my right arm. This is what is happening now and how I have been progressing.  I can now brush my teeth and shave with my right hand, albeit with some difficulty and discomfort. As well, I can now hold a pen and write a few words at a time and type a little also, but very slowly and with some difficulty. I still have ulnar nerve pain, but it is diminishing every week.

I am doing all the PT exercises. True, it is slow progress, but there definitely is progress and healing; it will likely be another month before the fracture heals as it ought to, and I will know more about this when I go for an X-ray at Mackenzie Health in two weeks.

Medical sources on the Web say I can expect at least a six-month recovery process, if not a full year, which means at the minimum, late Spring for full functionality of my right arm. And even then I can expect soreness and stiffness. Oy vey, this is not the kind of news I want to hear. Yet, this is the way it is presented by the medical community.

So, in reality, according to such medical sources, ever cautious, I am now only at the beginning of a healing process that can take up to a year. The body heals, to be sure, but an older body heals more slower than its younger counterpart.

Such is a common reality when living in the material world with its cold unfeeling assessments and its probability statistics, which is not at all the same as the art of the possible. With my mind, hot with hope, I imagine a shorter time to heal. I imagine the possibility of full functionality of my still-injured right arm within a few months. We shall see which view prevails.

This is my last scheduled post of the year, and the last on my right arm injury.  I might add something next month, but only if I have something to say, to report. As for today, in the here and now, I certainly know what I want for my new year's wish.

I wish you all a Happy New Year (2020), a year of good health and good fortune.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

December Dawn (2019)

Winter Arise

December Dawn in Maple, ON, north of Toronto: Taken this morning at 7:20 a.m. during the early morning dawn or twilight.
Photo Credit: ©2019. Perry J. Greenbaum

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Out of Commission: Part 4: Imagining

My Health

PT Exercises provided by Mackenzie Health.
Photo Credit:©2019. Perry J. Greenbaum

It has been a month after my fall and resultant arm injury.  The swelling and the bruising has diminished greatly, to the point of not being noticeable. I still have pain, most of it related to an injury to my ulnar nerve, which has also resulted in neuropathy of the ring and pinky of my right hand. I have seen some improvement in my hand's functionality and movement, but I cannot yet do the things that require fine motor skills, such as writing, eating, etc. I am hoping that hand exercises (that I began two weeks ago) and time will restore full functionality, or at least as close as possible to full functionality, both to my hand and to my arm.

With this in mind, I started physical therapy a couple of days ago for my arm. It involves the two exercises shown above, which will gently and gradually over time increase my range of motion, now greatly limited. In addition, last week I started on a few homeopathic medications for general pain, bone repair and nerve pain: arnica, symphytum and hypericum [St. John’s Wort]. A friend of my wife’s is a naturopath. This is the first time that I have tried any homeopathic medication. It is hard to determine what effect these medications have had on my healing, but it is likely some positive effect—whether the benefit comes about from the ingredients in the tiny pills or from the Placebo Effect.

Truly, either way is good and acceptable. When one embarks on the road of therapy, one is doing so with the hope and belief that it will lead to a positive objective. In my case, through the use of homeopathic remedies to ease the pain and help my body heal itself, the use of physical therapy to restore functionality, and, also, the benefit of time all combine and work together to the restoration of the normal and full functionality of my right arm. I know that it will take time. I also know that whatever helps is good.

I also know something else. Not everything can be cured by pharmacology and surgery although these have their place. The mind plays a prominent role in our healing, as a form of positive mind therapy. This not only involves faith in the ability of the exercises to achieve such a goal, but also the use of the mind, of imagination, of imagining it so, to bring about such a positive outcome. It has been shown that a positive outcome can come about with the right imagination and belief; for example, taking a psychological approach to treating pain.

This way might not seem rational or scientific, even though science is confirming some of these old ideas. Some people will never be convinced, yet what matters at this point is whether it is effective (without causing any harm); and in the end this is what most people care about.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah (or Khanike) to all who celebrate. Tonight we light the first candle. Yesterday at 11:19 p.m. EST marked the winter solstice, the first day of astronomical winter in the northern hemisphere. It was the shortest day of the year [8 hours 55 minutes and 19 seconds of daylight here in Toronto], which means that starting today the days are getting longer.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Aerosmith: Dream On

Aerosmith: Steve Tyler, the lead singer of the American rock band, sings "Dream On," which is the third track of their 1973 album, Aerosmith. Dreams become important as a means of hopeful expression to tilt the known (and perhaps the unknown and unseen) world towards betterment, notably during such disordered, discordant, and divisive (and, yes, dark) times as we are witnessing today. What we are witnessing is a world that in the main has become caustic, callous and cruel. There are good people, even among the elite political class and the religious class, to be sure, but they have yet to influence the world and tilt it toward a good more fair, just and hopeful direction. So, we have our dreams for now to hang onto.
Via; Youtube

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Out of Commission: Part 3: Adapting

My Health

One of the universal aspects of human nature is that when your body functions normally, it is unnoticed and unremarkable. You do things as you always do, going about your business. You have no thought on limitations or the need to change ways and habits.

After breaking my right arm a few weeks ago, which is what doctors and nurses and other health professionals call my dominant arm (since I am right-handed), I quickly began to notice how much I miss the use of this dominant arm. I began to notice my limitations, a most humbling human experience.

So, now I have to use my left arm to brush my teeth, shave and comb my hair, among many daily tasks. This adjustment is not easy, not familiar, yet necessary if I want to go about my business. Typing with only my left hand is slow and more difficult. Yet I do it in an ungraceful sort of way. There are some things I cannot do alone; I need the help of my wife and my children. I have limitations.

This brings me to another universal truth: we need each other. No one is so completely independent that he does not require the help and presence of another. I have yet to meet a person who needs no one. There are people alone, to he sure, but more often out of circumstance than of choice.

Sometimes we need to carry others; other times, they need to carry us. Me and You. When a person is placed in a position of need, it is an opportunity to offer a helping hand. Such is common to our shared humanity. Such is my view; and I am grateful for the times that others have carried me. Times such as I am experiencing now; times that I will undoubtedly once again experience in the future.

Such is undeniably true. I am also reminded of another universal human attribute: adaptation. That is, humans have a remarkable ability to adapt to their environment, given the restrictions and limitations they are often put under. Such describes the best of the human spirit.

Also necessary is a certain immeasurable quality, which does not always translate into success. Yet, it is present in the greatest of people: imagination. And with imagination comes dreaming, the art of imagining the possible. It actually helps if you are a dreamer, if you want to recover from an injury. More on dreams and dreaming later.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Paul McCartney: Blackbird


Blackbird is an old Beatles song, credited to Lennon/McCartney, which is on The Beatles (side 2; track 3), popularly called the White album, a double album released on November 22, 1968, during the height of the Civil Rights struggle in America. I was 10 when I first heard this song on the radio; but it was a few years later when my older brother and I bought the double LP, still popular after the British band's breakup. The song is essentially a call for individual freedom and individual rights. "Take these broken wings and learn to fly."
Via: Youtube

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Out of Commision: Part 2: Improving

My Health

Broken Arm (proximal humerus fracture) is healing nicely despite the way it looks. I still have  bruising, swelling and pain, but all have diminished in the last two weeks.
Photo: ©2019. Eli G. Greenbaum

After a disappointing visit at Sunnybrook Hospital last week, I had a much better result at Mackenzie Health’s Fracture Clinic, which is a regional hospital near where I reside. The orthopedic surgeon, an upper arm specialist, said that he recommended against surgery. He added that the benefits of surgery would be marginal at best. This is good news.

I start physical therapy in two weeks and return to the clinic for another X-ray on my arm in five weeks, chiefly to monitor my body's process of healing. It has been a little more than two weeks after my unfortunate fall.

At the moment, I still have bruising and swelling, as well as pain, but all are diminished. Another good sign. It is true that I do not have the return of my fine motor skills of my right hand (i.e., neuropathy persists), yet I type this with determination, albeit slowly.

It will likely take months to return to full functionality (if at all), or as the doctor said, consider the likelihood of some diminished range of motion and shoulder stiffness. The way that I see it now is that any improvement is good. Kudos to the staff of Mackenzie Health for a job well done.