Thinking of Many Things

I went to the doctor today to have him look at my arm. It wasn’t exactly good news but wasn’t really that bad either. He keeps saying it’ll take up to two years for me to become normal again, even though his “normal” includes some immobility. But then, who knows? No one, if the truth be known. His statements are merely guesses based on experiences with other folks, some of whom would be more dedicated than I and others who would be less dedicated.

I still have the fixator attached to my arm, which is one of those could be good could be bad things. It’s uncomfortable, but apparently the longer the fixator is on the better off I will be. The device is separating the hand bones from the wrist bones. Apparently the fall pushed the hand bones way down into the wrist, and they need to be held in their proper place as long as possible.

There is some good news, or at least news of progress. New bone is being formed where once were only sharp edges. And I have healed enough so I no longer need to wear a splint at night, and I only need to use a sling during the day if I’m around people. I can also start exercising my elbow a little bit more.

I don’t suppose it really matters whether the news is a little bit good or a little bit bad — it is still going to take a very long time before I am healed.

On a more positive note, I have enough toys to keep me busy for now so that I’m not falling back into grief mode. The Dragon speech recognition software, of course, is wonderful, and I have been enjoying splashing watercolors onto paper. Oddly, if two paintings could be considered a representative sample, I paint hope, which gives me hope for the future. (Is that redundant? Isn’t hope always for the future? As far as I know, there can be no hope for the past or even the present because the present is a done deal.) The picture that accompanies this post is my latest creative play endeavor.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you to know that I think of many things while I sit here in my solitary room staring out the window.

One thing that mystifies me is how few people checked up on me off-line. Maybe they didn’t realize how needy I’ve been, or maybe we weren’t as good friends as I thought we were. I suppose I could’ve called them, but since I had nothing good to say, I didn’t want to run anybody’s holiday. But it is night now, and such thoughts are better left for the bright of day.

One thing that amuses me about this experience is how blasé I have been about letting a stranger help bathe me. I stand in the shower naked while she washes my hair, and we chat of normal things as if we’re sitting down to tea. It is kind of surprising, since she is a healthcare worker, but she said she could not be as comfortable if our positions were reversed.

And one thing that frustrates the heck out of me is how difficult it is to get drugs from a drugstore even with a prescription. The pharmacists don’t seem to understand how hard it is for some people to get to the store, and yet they will not release painkillers a day before the prescription was supposed to have been used up. Nor do they want to release the painkillers even after the prescription has been used up. My last prescription was for 15 days. I eked almost 30 days out of it, and they still did not want to fill the new prescription. I will be glad when I can get off pain medications, but to stay off I will have to find new ways of dealing with pain. Apparently the chronic pain is going to come from the side of the arm that was not broken — the ulna was displaced and that is what will be causing most of the problem. But I will figure out something because I cannot deal with pharmacists the rest of my life.

Once again it’s been great talking to you. I hope the things you think about are more thrilling than those I think about.



(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”) Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

22 Responses to “Thinking of Many Things”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Your arm may be on the mend, but it seems you’re not letting it hamper you so much. You’re getting plenty done. You even watercolor paint, and you do it so well. That’s something I can’t imagine myself doing even with two functioning hands and arms!
    I look forward to hearing how things are with you, Pat. Good luck with the healing and all that.

  2. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    I’m glad you had some good news to bring back from your visit, that new bone is forming, that you don’t have to wear the sling as often. I wish the healing process weren’t going to be such a long haul. Lesa and I find the recent pain killer prescription rules very aggravating. I had to physically (and painfully) go to the pharmacy to get my after surgery last year because Lesa’s not allowed to pick them up for me. I have no idea whether this rule is reducing the abuse of Oxy meds or not, but it sure makes things harder on the rest of us.

  3. Sherrie Hansen Says:

    I love that you’re painting and healing and talking/writing again. I haven’t been painting at all but for a good reason. I just finished my rough draft of Golden Rod. I don’t call anyone anymore except my dad. But please know you can talk at me anytime. Seriously. You have my number.

  4. Constance Says:

    Hi Pat,
    Sorry I have not touched base with you. Been busy with sick family members, doctor’s appts., etc. for them, and me too!.
    I had to wear a halter for my heart for 2 days. I am okay. Scared me though, when she said that she had ordered one for me to wear. Too much stress. It is my nerves not my heart.
    Very interesting about the bone growth. I did not know that you could regrow bone.
    Getting prescriptions are a pain. My son takes several on a regular basis and cannot go without them. Cannot give all of them to me on the same day. I have to make several trips to pick them up for the month.
    I like your watercolor. Hope that doing it relaxes you too. Who knows, you might become an artist, besides being a writer.
    Wishing you well,

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Don’t worry — I understand. You have enough to deal with. I never heard of a halter for the heart. Wow. You better slow down. Maybe you need to take up painting!

  5. leesis Says:

    Wow. I both hear your injury, the temptation of depression but also your efforts to not over-indulge :). I’m sorry your family/friends didn’t reach out to you. And sorry you have no one to help lift the burden. On the other side LOVE your paintings! Don’t you have community transport services?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      No community transport services around here, at least not for me. There is a city bus, but runs once every hour or so. I’ve been having fun painting. I’ve always liked color and shape but indulged those affinities other ways.

  6. Cicy Rosado Says:

    Hi Pat I Love your painting they are cool! Lol they put up a light outside but on the wrong side it doesn’t light up our side Roberta was at class today and told me to ask maintance guy who she knows to do anything that I ask for so I will.
    every one so far love’s the place. I will be teaching the younger students on saturday’s it is so cool going home early now.
    oh I found my shoes they were in a bag under neath hawaiian lei’s. But I did throw away my old jazz shoes and the lyrical
    sandles we wear for hawaiian. guess i will have to buy some to you tomarrow ok?

  7. Terry Allard Says:

    You have talent!!!! I love the watercolor (seriously not just saying it to make you feel better) I have had a fairly lenghtly list of people who said they would stay in touch but have really fallen off. Three of them were men who labled themselves as my late husband’s best friends. It is hard to feel forgotten. UGH. I try to use the Four Agreements and apply the one which advises “Don’t Take Things Personally”. I end up saying to myself (after trying NOT to take it personally)….”Whatever it doesn’t bring Ron back”…and so it goes.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you for the compliment. Even though it wasn’t your intention, it did make me feel better.

      I think it’s hard for people to realize that while their lives might have closed around the loss, for others more personally involved, the loss remains a gaping wound. Their lives continue as normal, and we go on the best we can.

  8. Roberta Pace Says:

    Hi Pat – Dont know if you have seen the new studio so next week I’ll take some pictures and send them. Everyone(Hawaiian dancers – just 5 of us) asked how you were doing and now I can share with them. Corky is out of town, Connie got lost looking for the class – Cicy thought she lost her shoes but now I see that she hasn’t. Can you come and visit? I can give you a ride.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Hi, Roberta! I did see the new studio — kept Cicy company when she put up the pictures. It is a perfect space for dancing. I’m looking forward to returning to class, whenever that might be.

  9. Trev Brown Says:

    The painting is great Pat, I think you have a hidden talent there!!

  10. marci Says:

    good to hear that even though it may take a long time, you have a good prognosis. I hear that you have been in touch with Judy and she is sending you a puzzle or two. That should occupy some time. I hope you are able to get out some. It has to be difficult, but at least you are somewhere that the ice and snow don’t affect you.
    I love how Dragon is helping you. I use it with students and know several business people who use it regularly. Once programmed it is pretty reliable. Hope you continue to heal and that it is quicker than predicted.
    Nice painting. You are so creative.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Hi, Marcy! Yes, I’ve been in contact with Judy. She worries about me, which is nice. I am very grateful not to have to deal with ice! I would be terrified to take a step outside — another fall before my arm is healed would be disastrous. I hope you are doing well.

  11. Linda Christle Says:

    Pat, I am so sorry to read about your very complicated situation. I sounds so painful and complicated. The situation is even more miserable being alone. My heart goes out to you but having read your reports on your travels, I feel you will battle through!!! Being without your long time love is so sad! Gary has been gone 2and half years and the pain of his loss is still up and down. If I were in your shoes I know it would be so difficult. Take care and be strong, as you always have been!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Two and a half years? I am so sorry. The problem is always that though the pain might get better, they are stlll gone. That never changes.

      Thank you for your words of comfort and support. So needed! There is nothing like complications for bringing back the severe loneliness.

  12. paulakaye Says:

    I often thought that same thing about friends as I grieved the loss of Richard! Where were they?? Guess when you are going through painful things in life you find out who your real friends on. All of mine are online!! Hope you continue with the healing!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I have come to realize that people lack the imagination to understand the profound loneliness an awful silence we live in. Most of my friends are online, too, but I have been able to regenerate a close friendship with one offline friend.

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