Monday, February 04, 2019


In the movies dislocation of a shoulder is pretty simple.  Some strong person just pops it back in.  Everything works and pain is minimal.  My case is different.

I had tempted the gods by deciding to get a new hot water heater on credit.  The trapdoor to the underfloor -- where the heater is -- was built through the floor of an alcove.  I had put a stick across the alcove and used it to hang coats and jackets.  When I moved them out of the way into the front room, heaped on a chair, I didn't note an old jump rope from an attempt at regular exercise.  I'm almost 80 -- there have been a lot of attempts, not much exercise.

My foot caught in a loop and I went down like a late-season calf at a rodeo.  My shoulder left the socket to the back instead of the front with damage from elbow to spine, but no discernible tearing of blood vessels or nerves.  I also clipped my forehead on the edge of a bookcase shelf.

The luckiest part was that this was just before the cold and snow hit.  I called 911.  We're known to each by now.  This is a village of several hundred.  The closest hospital is 30 miles away.  "Try to get a friend to take you to the EMT -- the ambu is horribly expensive."  I couldn't understand why the big animated trees -- ents-- had anything to do with it.  She explained,  "Emergency Management Team."

In awhile my brains came back enough to think of a friend.   (I'm a loner.)  I put credentials and diabetes meds in a ziplock and she promised to get me back home if they didn't keep me overnight.

The doc wasn't an MD but one of those enriched nurse categories, second generation military, handsome, intelligent, capable, and brisk.  It soon became obvious that my shoulder damage was not mine anymore -- it was theirs.  They made all decisions and carefully explained them, but I was just there to have a dislocated shoulder.  I was happy to be passive and obedient.

They did a clever x-ray as I lay there, thought the ball of my arm bone might be cracked, and attached me to an IV tree.  I was "gone" then so didn't find out what fetanyl was like.  Recovery went ok and my friend took me home.  The cats were indignant.  Their shoulders are entirely different which is why they can't throw a ball.

My new war was with the elastic/velcro restraint harness they put on me after a struggle with my ample but slippery and shapeless old boobs that slid above and below the wide elastic around my midriff.  A loop around upper arm and a kind of holster for my hand.  This was Thursday.  By Saturday night the elastic had rolled itself into rough cord capable of sawing wood.  With much difficulty (the velcro closure was in the middle of my back) I got it off.  I found a tea towel and made an old-fashioned Red Cross sling.

This is Monday.  People are supposed to call me but they don't.  Roads are nearly closed.  It's too cold for my old pickup to start.  I'm supposed to report for therapy in Great Falls (80 miles) but I won't.  Two of the cats are nearly bursting with kittens but the babies refuse to come out.  I'm watching YouTubes about dislocated shoulders.  There might be a break in the weather on Thursday.  

PS:  4pm and I'm coping.  Even figuring out how to wash dishes with one hand. Thanks to those who are worrying.

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