Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Not Quite in Arm's Reach, or What Happened When I Broke My Humerus

I come from a long line of klutzes.  Sometimes I trip, lose my balance, or flounder around while walking because my ankle decides it doesn't want to stay upright.  I think it was one of the latter two reasons that caused me to fall from the top step of my front stoop onto the sidewalk on March 28th.  This resulted in my first-ever major broken bone, my first-ever ambulance ride, my first-ever arm sling, and my second-ever surgery.

There are many places in which your arm can be broken.  In my case, it was my humerus--and before you say anything, it wasn't funny at all.  For those not in the know, the humerus is your upper arm bone.  Think of it as the bone that connects your elbow and your shoulder.  Now, imagine the pain and annoyance that comes with not being able to use your dominant arm for anything without considerable pain.  They say bone pain is some of the worst pain imaginable, and they are right.  Healing from surgery was less painful than trying to walk up the steps in my home with a sling on my arm.

Many things became difficult to do with only my left hand, including brushing my teeth and texting.  Video games could not be played on the Xbox.  I couldn't open any bottled drink.  I had to have help washing my hair and half my body in the shower, and for a while I couldn't get my arm wet, so I'd have to don a trashbag raincoat for my right arm first.  Still, no task seemed more daunting in terms of asking for help than diabetes management.  Things you can't really do with just one hand include:

-Drawing up insulin into a syringe
-Unwrapping an Inset infusion set, as well as cocking the insertion device
-Checking blood sugar
-Changing out everything on my pump
-Pouring orange juice to treat a low

So that's...nearly everything diabetes related you could do within a day?  At least my pump was always within reach!  With the T-Clip, I had no problems hooking my t:slim onto the strap of my sling.

The last time I had anyone else use a needle on me for diabetes management was probably the first time I tried a Dexcom Seven in Gary Scheiner's office, when the tech was so new he inserted my sensor for me.

"Well boys," I announced to Matt (the hubs) and Harper (the housemate), "I'm going to need a lot of help from you guys, and this includes a crash course in setting up my insulin pump and jabbing me with infusion sets."  Let me just say that in the nearly 16 years that Matt and I have been together, he's never given me a single injection.  We've known Harper for over two years now, and he is the kind of guy who can pass out at the sight of his own blood, so naturally I was concerned about asking him for help with needle things.

But what happened?  Everything worked out just fine, and I think I was more nervous about someone else sticking me with a needle than the guys were about learning everything.  Great partners and trusted friends are true treasures to have in an emergency.

I just wanted to take some time today to send a huge thank you to my two biggest caregivers/house helpers in the month and a half I was out of commission.  Blood sugars were monitored, infusion sets were placed, laundry & dishes were done, and meals were cooked!

I am back at work, driving again, and starting physical therapy next week to return my arm to its strength and full mobility.  So while I am not cleared to lift anything that's over five pounds, it's good to be back.  If you really want to see it, I'll show you my badass surgery scar sometime.


  1. I'm so glad you are healing up and I'm very glad you had wonderful help while you were one-armed. I've had Pete insert a site or two on me for practice, just in case anything ever happened. But I think we can never truly be prepared. So I'm glad your guys stepped up!!

  2. And now I'm thinking I need to train some family members on inserting infusion sets :)


  3. I'm hoping you'll recover soon! We won't want anything like that impeding your industry and continued work, right Here's to hoping for the best that you keep up your resilience. Take care!

    Jan Dils


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