Living life with one arm in a sling

For two weeks, my “One & Only” (O&O) has lived life with one arm in a sling. Most of us who are able-bodied and have two arms working don’t think too much about the importance of two arms working together simultaneously. Just like me, on my keyboard writing this post, I am using both arms/hands. It is a very difficult situation when suddenly one arm/hand is not functioning.

We take so much for granted when we have two arms working together. We need this for the basics such as showering, getting dressed, tying up shoelaces, cutting up food and much more. No driving the car for months for my O&O. He now has a chauffeur who will take him wherever he pleases!

One advantage is that my O&O is right-handed and it is his left arm that is in a sling. But this is not only a sling, it has a support behind the sling that holds the arm in the right position to heal. Sleeping with this sling and support can interfere with your sleeping. It can be very difficult to find a comfortable position. Then there are the exercises x 3 times per day and a constant pill taking regime to keep the pain under control.

A shoulder replacement is a very technical operation and through friends we found a specialist at the Brisbane Hand and Upper Limb Clinic. It is one of the largest clinics in the Southern Hemisphere where surgeons specialise in hand and upper limb disorders and injuries.

Fortunately, for my O&O in a few months he will fully regain the use of his left arm. Not like some others who are permanently disabled and only have the use of one arm. One of these people is Jennifer, a young American woman who was born with only one arm. Read here about how she overcame her disability to live a full and successful life with the aid of a prosthesis. Jennifer likes to keep positive and as is reported in her story, if life gives you lemons then it is time to make lemonade.

It is very challenging living life with one arm in a sling. But it seems many are prepared to do this to relieve the pain and like my O&O gain back the full function of his arm without pain. In USA 4.5 million people each year seek medical care for shoulder pain and 250,000 have rotator cuff surgery.

This is a photo of the artificial joint that is now in my O&O’s shoulder. There are more photos but one I am sure is more than enough!

If you have wondered why I have not been blogging lately it is because we have spent months working on a project (I will share this in a later post). Weeks before my O&O’s surgery we were preparing for the time post his operation when he was incapacitated. He spent time cutting wood for the fire, gardening and a plethora of other activities. What we have found is that it is difficult to be fully prepared for such a situation and the length of time it takes to recuperate. But we will get there and yes, it will be worth it!

And by the way, this week my email was corrupted and that took some time to sort out. Then, the tablet that controls our ducted air-conditioning malfunctioned. On the bright side, I have learnt how to use our self-propelled mower and for the first time in decades made up and poisoned weeds in the garden. Where do they all come from? There is great satisfaction in mowing the lawn and then sitting back and looking at it! Not too much sitting around though there are leaves that must be raked from our deciduous trees and other chores to be done. Life is never uninteresting at our place, even if one of us has one arm is in a sling.

When in this situation it is time to “sit and stare” – time to enjoy the fire.

A wood fire is very relaxing and good for the soul.