Toddling Along

I am toddling along, trying to get back into my life now that the external fixator is off my arm. I’m taking a couple of dance classes, walking a bit, reading, writing occasionally. Mostly I’ve been trying not to be too introspective, hence the lack of recent blog posts. Besides, pain has a way of focusing attention onto itself and away from the bigger picture.

I’m not in a lot of pain, but there is always some. Either I am trying to work the hand to its new level of normality, or I momentarily have no pain and inadvertently use the hand in a way it has not been accustomed to during the last five months, and so my friend pain arrives once more.

When I returned from my cross-country trip, I had three goals: try to build up my strength, go on an anti- inflammation diet for 30 days, and finish my three works in progress. The strength-building goal was laid low after I destroyed my arm, and now that goal is mostly focused on the arm itself rather than all of me. I do such fun things as squeeze a sponge in a bucket of warm water, grasp a hammer by the end of the handle and flip it gently from side to side to help with elbow and wrist pronation, lay my left hand on flat on the table and try to raise the elbow to bend the wrist. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Twelve days ago I started the anti-inflammation diet — no milk products, no grains, no legumes, no sweeteners of any kind — and so far I’m doing fine, though I do not notice any difference. (Supposedly, I am supposed to feel vibrant and healthy with more energy than I’ve had for years, but that simply is not happening.) When the 30 days are up, I will probably continue with a variation of the diet, though I will add some corn and cheese so I can eat with friends at a favorite Mexican restaurant.

Most importantly, I have finished two of my three or four works in progress. (Three if I include only started works, and four if I include the first book I ever wrote, which needs a complete rewriting. I still love the premise, but I’m not really sure what to do with it.) I opened the file for the third WIP today, which actually is the oldest of the three, started before I ever had the Internet. (I was given the gift of the Internet nine years and 341 days ago. I wasn’t really sure what to do on the Internet, but figured I had a year to decide, and if after that year I still didn’t know, well, I could always get rid of it. But here I am.) I think the last time I worked on this particular book was maybe seven years ago, and I’d forgotten a lot of the fun little bits. It will be nice to finally finish it, but finishing it will bring its own level of sadness because it was the last book Jeff helped me with. My mother’s death, the advent of the Internet and publication of two of my books, and then Jeff’s death, shunted this poor WIP off my radar. And when the book is finished done, it will end my literary link with Jeff.

He was my first reader (or rather listener, since I read to him while he did chores). I did not think I would be able to write without his smile to encourage me, but the books I finished were both started after his death, and in fact, reflected either his death, my grief, or both.

I hope I’ll be able to continue to write after these started books are finished and (keeping my fingers crossed) published. Hope I will still have something to say. But I do not need to concern myself with the future right now. Other things matter more. Working my arm. Finishing my third WIP. Trying to get strong and healthy. That’s enough for any one person to concentrate on.


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.

8 Responses to “Toddling Along”

  1. Charlotte M. Liebel Says:

    Good evening, Pat. Enjoyed all of your enthusiasm and treasury of adventures. Your thoughts are flowing and you even gave me a giggle as you spoke of adding a little “corn” – humor – with your cheese for a tasty Mexican dinner. Bless you, your cup runneth over, now. So exciting! ~

    Charlotte M. Liebel @Sharliebel

    On Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 3:55 PM, Bertram’s Blog wrote:

    > Pat Bertram posted: “I am toddling along, trying to get back into my life > now that the external fixator is off my arm. I’m taking a couple of dance > classes, walking a bit, reading, writing occasionally. Mostly I’ve been > trying not to be too introspective, hence the lack of re” >

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I know, right? The pain takes all focus! When my scciatica was at its worse, I could not think of anything of the pain and how I wished to be free of it! I hope it never gets to the point that you can’t function, though. At that point, you need a huge amount of help.

  3. Kathy Says:

    Oh my goodness, I had Sciatica about 4.5 years ago and it was so painful, I had to sleep in another bed and wrestled all night with the pain, yelling out!

    My stepdad went through something similar as you, Pat. He fell off a loading dock and shattered his left elbow. After that he only had about 70% use of his left arm but he was right-handed.

    I tripped in Mazatlan last year and a pole stopped me from smashing my face into the ground. I ended up with a broken toe that is arthritic now. I got off easy but it was a reminder that I need to pay more attention. Can’t save myself after a misstep as easily now. Scary!

    Happy for your progress!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s amazing how tough the human body is, and how very vulnerable. I shattered my elbow, but the metal replacement seems to be working. I have all but maybe 5% back. But I am deathly afraid of falling again. I wouldn’t be able to hold out both arms to catch myself, which means, that all the weight would be on the right arm. Oh, my. Scary! Let’s hope neither of us has another misstep.

  4. Coco Ihle Says:

    Pat, I’d say you’re doing well. You’ve got a plan and are working it. Good for you!!! You’re my hero!!!

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