Sorry to disappoint fans of the Welsh musician and erstwhile housemate of Elis James (actor, anecdotalist and broadcaster), but this post will not be about him or his music: though feel free to check out his oeuvre. As regular viewers will have guessed, this post will be about me!
Since my glorious (if brief) attempt at unpowered flight last week, I have been learning to appreciate the important role my left (and non-dominant) hand plays in my life. Despite being a very long way from ambidextrous, old leftie plays a surprisingly large role in my day-to-day existence.
My left hand, it seems, does far more than steady things while my right hand performs those activities that require fine motor control. It is my left-hand that has to hold the saucepan while I scrape out its contents, for example, a task which has proved rather painful given the author’s predilection for the work of M and Mme Le Creuset: cast-iron may be durable, but it isn’t light-weight. My left-hand also seems to have a major role in dressing, particularly the use of buttons, and laundering of both textiles and the self. As a result, I may recently have been a little more dishevelled, less recently laundered and further from my most recent shower than has been traditional.
Being unable to cycle, I have been forced to use the bus far more often than usual and share my journeys with the great unwashed (who are, I suppose, now my people). I use the phrase “the great unwashed” deliberately, as a substantial proportion of my bus journeys start at Southampton Airport which is clearly close to the university’s sport grounds and the young folk who avail themselves of its facilities, do not extend their participation to include the baths or showers before boarding the bus. As a result, a fug of youthful exertion pervades the top deck – to which I can now add my own, less piquant, musk.
My injury has certainly made me appreciate the problems the elderly and disabled may have with so much modern packaging: bring back the paper bag! I have spent the last week or so praying that there won’t be a jar that needs opening, as I fear this may be beyond me.
Anyway, my pack of sometimes frozen peas and beans have done their work, and with regular application to my hand and wrist have reduced the swelling to almost nothing. As my hand and wrist have healed, a remaining source of enduring pain in the wrist was revealed. It had also become clear that my left wrist could bear almost no weight at all. So, yesterday morning I toddled back to the Minor Injury Unit to get it checked out.
Having been x-rayed from four angles, the charming Simon (he really was!) revealed that I had certainly fractured my triquetrum (no, I’d never heard of it either – it sounds more like something of interest to the pursuivants of arms) and perhaps another bone or two of the unexpectedly large number that make up the human wrist (and mine). The triquetrum fracture was unequivocal as a small piece of me, opaque to x-ray, was clearly where it wasn’t supposed to be. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen an x-ray of my insides, which was rather exciting and I could happily have spent much more time with both Simon and my radiographer discussing the technology and my anatomy – but I don’t think NHS budgets would really permit such an indulgence, so I reined in my enthusiasm. I even felt it was probably too much to ask for a copy of the photos to adorn this post (or even my walls).
Following the discovery of my fracture(s), my left wrist has been imprisoned in a removable cast, night-and-day, until at least 5 April – when the orthopaedic consultant will take a look at how (or if) I’m healing. The removable cast seems a better bet than its plaster cousin as I can take it off to wash or to scratch an itch, but it is rather strong smelling (a feature which I hope will fade with time). I think it is supposed to be flesh-coloured, but luckily, my liver retains some function and so it is a very poor match to the rest of my arm- it’s closer to magnolia, if anything. I can’t help wondering if its makers have even seen living human flesh. Still, it should work nicely for garnering sympathy and reduce the chances of me inadvertently setting back my recovery: it also makes me look slightly bionic, but new superpowers have yet to manifest. On the downside, it has rather put paid to guitar practise and the piano is also somewhat of a challenge: though it is perhaps forcing me to improve my fingering.
Let’s hope that trapped in its camouflaged splint, my wrist will hurry up its recuperation and allow me to resume my various, annoyingly wrist-dependent, hobbies. Either that, or it will finally be time to master the one-handed pull-up and press-up!