My wife and I are both tremendous klutzes. We’ve both had a few moments over the last 8½ years where we stumbled a little on the stairs. But until recently, neither of us either fell down them properly.
A week ago, the day after I got back from vacation, I started downstairs and my feet immediately shot out from under me. I slid down the stairs on my butt and my back most of the way to the bottom. My back and my head are fine, but I managed to wrench my left arm something serious while trying to catch myself.
I found out immediately afterward that I couldn’t lift the arm at all; my upper arm and shoulder were too messed up to allow it. I did not, however, go to urgent care, because I figured—and anecdotally others have backed me up on this—that there’s probably nothing doctors can do except maybe prescribe something for pain and/or inflammation, and wait. I figured there was no point going through expensive X-rays (or worse, an MRI) just to find that out. My mother-in-law says she suspects it’s a rotator cuff injury; I think she’s right.
So far the injury has been healing at a rate I find incredibly hopeful. Just over a week later, I can move my arm around a lot more. I had a very brief moment today of full mobility. I try to stretch the arm a little bit, push its limits just a tad but then immediately rest. I’ve been taking anti-inflammatories and for the first few days I iced it. I’ve just started taking glucosamine and chondroitin, and I’ve been taking more fish oil and magnesium. I think I’m doing everything right that I can.
But boy, this has not been a fun week. I discovered immediately that brushing my teeth right-handed was a no-go. I’m left-handed and can do a great many things with my right, but brushing wasn’t one of them. Getting my shirt on and off has been difficult, and putting on deodorant even more so. I didn’t drive for a whole week, until just today, because I didn’t think I’d be able to grasp the wheel.
Bedtime has been the worst. Getting into bed in the first place has been a painful experience, and pulling up the covers mostly impossible. I sleep mostly on my side, and I’m accustomed to switching sides during the night. But sleeping on my left wasn’t a possibility, so I’ve been sleeping mostly on the right—which eventually hurts, because I’m overweight. As a result my right shoulder has started hurting too, and the first couple of nights I had to get up early and go sleep in the recliner in the living room as best I could (which wasn’t well at all). The bright spot is that the other night, my in-laws gave us a piece of foam meant for a bed-topper that I was able to sleep on, and although it didn’t seem to help much that night, it did wonders for me last night. I’ve slowly regained the ability to spend some time on my left side as well.
This week has taught me not to take my arms for granted. Or stairs. Never take your footing on the stairs for granted.