Monday morning, 9:15 am, precisely one week after I was on the operating table, I went to fracture clinic. Thank goodness, I thought, finally they will replace this backslab and put a proper cast on it, so I can stop worrying about it moving around. The nurse cut the cast off and I sat in the chair, trying not to move my one week old break for ten minutes until the consultant strolled in.
Then it all got a little surreal. He lifts my arm and starts telling me to move it this way, that way, straighten (very painful, even after just a week in plaster my elbow had begun to lock), hand forward, hand back. The nurse is called over to remove the butterfly stitches off the wound, which looks surprisingly good. The nurse is told to put a post-op dressing on it and I am told to remove it in a week.
"Does that mean I am going to have to come back to fracture clinic next week for a proper plaster? Are you putting me back into a half-slab?"
"No, you aren't going to be in plaster at all. Just don't lift anything heavier than a cup of tea, and no press ups. Come back in 5 weeks"
I was rather discombobulated.
"Can I drive?" "When you feel ready"
"Can you go to physio today? Go see a hand therapist at physio, they will give you exercises."
And with that, like a genie in a bottle, the magic consultant was gone.
So it seemed, were all the physios. I couldn't see anyone that day, I've had no phonecall as promised, and no letter. Just let loose in the world without any real instruction. Steve told them to just replaster it, it would be better all round. The boss said "do they have any idea how clumsy you are" when I broke the news.
I got home to the best box of 'get well soon' vegan treats from my friend Jen, however, it seems they are actually celebration materials. No cast. Seriously. No cast.
But without a cast, and any real instruction, there comes a lot of responsibility. What can I do? What equates to lifting a cup of tea? I have to constantly try and remember I even have a broken arm. The progress through the week has been immense. On the Monday, I couldn't even pick up a pen as my thumb was totally unresponsive. By Tuesday I was touch typing and writing normally.
By Wednesday I was holding that cup of tea, had full movement in my thumb and pretty much all forward movement had returned to my wrist. I was grumpy though, fed up and tired of long site days and no decent exercise, until Steve offered to come running with me and we did a local 20 minute run, on dark lanes, in floodwater. What fun! Steve runs literally at twice my speed, but he was happy to lope alongside as I pattered along in my VFFs on the tarmac getting rather out of breath in the cold air.
Thursday I totally forgot I had a broken arm and carried my work bag to the door, before kicking myself when I realised what I had done, even though there was no pain. How much can this plate thing take? I certainly don't plan to test it. I kept opening heavy doors on site by accident, going to shake peoples hand, in general being useless at remembering the arm situation. People bash into me in shops, on the street. I trip up and fall over my own feet, walk into doorframes and am a bumbling-clumsy. So I figured, in the evening, I could probably get away with a short bike ride to test out a lovely little commuter light sent through by Magicshine. In the big scheme of 'risk to the broken arm', riding a MTB, on smooth roads, with easy to use finger sensitive brakes, and when I am acutely aware of the fact I would get endless grief if I did hurt myself, well, it seems rather low down the scale to be honest.
I am not a believer in sponsorship, and bigging up brands just because they provide handouts, so you will get an honest opinion of free kit I am given. Luckily for Magicshine, this seems a real gem of a light. Low weight, excellent bar-mounting system with an uber-simple belt-like strap, USB charge and bright enough to ride our dark lanes.
As always, I was happier with a headtorch supplemental light for spotting potholes, however, that's true, whatever bar light I run. It's a bit fugly, but then I'm just not a fan of orange. Sad to admit, but if the colorway had been all black, red or blue, I would love the look a lot more. There will be a much more detailed review at the start of April when, pending healing, it will be coming on a road trip to Belgium. I wasn't out long enough to comment on run time at this point.
But it was good to be out, oh boy, was it ever good. The lights of Colwall made me smile.
Saturday I rode again. Carefully, uber carefully, on the flat traffic free family route at the Forest of Dean. I rode one armed, or lightly resting the injured arm on the bars, never gripping or braking harshly. Never putting stress through the forarm. I had fantastic company from two good friends, who were happy with the super steady pace. Of course there was a risk, but really, none comparable to that faced every day when I forget about the injury.
This is Bruce's classic steel tourer, ready for Scottish epics and carrying luggage. I hope I am able to join him at some point.
The best thing about riding flat routes is being able to do it in my favourite trainers. Heh. I don't know why this makes me happy.
So I've written this up as a draft, but it won't be published for a while. Why? Because I can't be bothered with having to 'explain myself' 'justify my actions' or deal with people's criticism. It's my life, I chose how to live it. I know one thing, if anything is going to affect the healing of this arm, it's the way I always end up lying on it and stressing it in my sleep, so every morning I wake up and it hurts like hell. Surely sleep should be the safest thing of all?