Sometime a person just wants to curl up and die, like this katydid that drew its last breath on my bedroom floor.
That’s how I felt when I awoke from surgery eight weeks ago to find my left arm paralyzed. I wanted to curl up and die. When the surgeon told me the nerve might heal in six to eight weeks I thought my inner strength would not be sufficient to meet such an ordeal. During a later visit he told me that nerves heal much more slowly than other body parts, about an inch a month. He said the musculocutaneous nerve had been stretched. That’s the nerve on the distal side of the elbow. At an inch per month, it would take 16 months for the feeling to return to my index finger tip.
Now, eight weeks later, I still cannot raise my forearm. This morning a neurologist tested the nerves to my arm. This involved sticking needles in muscles as well as giving them electrical shocks. I’ve been getting acupuncture treatments, so this test was no biggie.
Then, bad news: the injured nerve is the brachial plexus, between my neck and shoulder, much higher than the musculocutaneous nerve. I figure that adds 14 or more months to nerve recovery. I might not live that long.
Knowing what I’m up against is a good thing. These past weeks I’ve lived in miserable uncertainty. Now that I know, I’m getting pissed off about it.
Getting pissed off is a good thing; it puts the fight back in me. Twenty-six years ago a rheumatologist told me I could only get worse and would end up in a wheelchair. That made me mad at him and I was determined to prove him wrong. I still don't even use even a cane or walker, so there!
How I would love to disprove the inch-a-month theorem. How I’d love to show ‘em what a determined woman can do. This isn’t the time to curl up and die.
Copyright 2013 by Shirley Domer