Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Rest of the Story

This is Part 3 in a series called "Injury Prone." For Part 1 click here, for Part 2 click here.

I was slowly coming to grips with the fact that I had broken my right wrist the first week of my second semester of my freshman year in college. I'm right-handed. This was going to be a problem. How big of a problem it would end up being hinged on my upcoming appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon.

As I killed time before my appointment, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with anxiety. Luckily, I got a bit of a boost right before I went to the clinic.

I arrived at the clinic with a few minutes to spare. The doctor brought me into the exam room, and put my x-rays up on that wall-mounted backlit thingy.

"Wow! This is the worst break I've seen all year," he exclaimed.

"Hah! You're kidding, right?" I asked, sure he said that to every patient as a way to break the ice.

"No," he deadpanned.


He went on to tell me that I needed surgery because the bone was, basically, crushed at the joint. If I wanted it to heal properly and if I wanted to gain any movement back I would need a titanium plate put in to hold the pieces together so that they would heal properly.


Furthermore, I needed surgery, like, yesterday, because (apparently) the longer you wait after an injury the more swelling there is and the more swelling there is the more difficult the surgery.


It was here that I told him I was right-handed and played the violin. Please, sir, won't you help me be able to use my right hand/arm/wrist for the rest of my life even just a tiny bit?

I told him I was ready for surgery ASAP.

He didn't believe me.

I showed him my fingernails sans nail polish. I made him listen to my empty stomach growling wantonly for food. He had already been staring at my less-than-impressive makeup-less face for at least 45 minutes.

He agreed to schedule surgery for 4:00 PM that afternoon, which was now 5 hours away.

I requested my one phone call, and called my parents to let them know their daughter would be unconscious and her body would be cut open later that day.

Throughout this entire process I never remember feeling anxious. If anything, I was resigned to the fact that I needed surgery if I had any chance of future mobility with my hand, wrist, and forearm; and, having gone through it before, I felt calm and peaceful knowing that I would make it through again.

Later that day...

The beauty of living in the big city at a university campus with a medical research facility is that the hospital where I was to have surgery was located - literally - in my backyard. I said goodbye to my roommate and walked the 200 yards to the hospital to check in for surgery.

I proceeded to wait for 70 minutes.

My parents miraculously arrived 10 minutes later. They had taken off of work immediately after I called to tell them my confirmed health status, and they drove directly from Green Bay, WI to Minneapolis, MN in exactly 4 hours.

Don't tell the state highway patrol.

Their presence meant I wouldn't be alone when I came out of surgery - an immensely comforting thought. A short while after they arrived I was wheeled into surgery.

The Rest of the Story

You're now probably wondering how it went.

Surgery went well and I began physical therapy the next week. Because it was a joint they wanted me to begin exercises right away so that it wouldn't stiffen up or heal all wonky-like.

I had this cool zip-up plastic cast that they continually melted as the weeks went on and reformed on my arm as the swelling went down.

I religiously did my exercises and strength training.

I audio recorded all of my college lectures.

I painstakingly made my way across the frozen, icy campus every other day for my physical therapy appointments (never falling once, you'll be happy to know).

At the end of 3 months - to the surprise and pride of my doctors - I gained back 100% of my mobility, blowing away everyone's expectations.

That summer, just 2 months after my full recovery was declared, I worked as a Camp Couselor at Camp Luther, my childhood church camp in Northern WI. I'm pretty sure the pure physicality of that summer only helped to strengthen my healing (as well as the spirituality strengthened my spirit).

The next year at university I joined the worship team for City Celebration, a campus group that met monthly to praise and share Christ in greater-Minneapolis. I played my violin with this group for the next 3 years...not always well, but, hey...beggars can't be choosers.

You may recall that girl I told you about who prayed so earnestly for my recovery when I couldn't move beyond the worry.

You may remember me thinking how I knew her from somewhere, likely one of the many college social groups I visited or maybe from a class I was taking.

That girl? I never saw her again.

Make of that what you will, but now you know the rest of the story.

____________________________________________________________ Mandi

Current Couch Potato | Aspiring Runner:

Completing my first half marathon to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America will be a community endeavor. Won't you help me change lives?

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