Thursday, July 8, 2010

Palms Up!

Ten years ago, I was involved in a car accident that broke my arm in two places and required plates and screws. After a follow-up surgery almost a year later, considerable scar tissue built up, causing an unusual disability in my right hand.

I could not turn my right hand palm up.

Which you wouldn't think would be that big of a deal. And, all things considered, it's not. However, not being able to put my hand in that position often caused pain because some ancient muscle memory would suddenly want to turn in a way it couldn't. I also couldn't lift certain things because I couldn't get my hand up underneath something like, say, a table. Or when people say, "Put out your arms" and then load them up with things. I couldn't do that (but I can hardly complain about the "Sorry, I can't help you carry that heavy load," I was kinda glad to see my heavy-lifting days behind me...)

Anyway, the other day I was driving and noticed that I was gripping the steering wheel from below, something I have not been able to do for ten years. At first, I thought it was a fluke, that I was in some position where I'd always had range of motion. Once I got to my destination, I stood next to my car and flipped my palms up. It worked. I did it again, then again with increasing excitement (not realizing until late how ridiculous I must have looked to passing traffic.)

A week later, I am still intrigued by this latest, literal, breakthrough. I believe what has happened is that some of the scar tissue that had caused the hindrance has, after all of this time, broken up enough to allow me range of motion. I'm fairly certain of this as I can hear an accompanying crunching sound while flailing my hands about.

I'm sure there is some kind of metaphor that could go along with this, about some balance between acceptance and perseverance or the like. I'm just happy for the improvement.

Until I start getting calls to help people move...

1 comment:

  1. After being in a full arm cast for six weeks, I was given a 1/2 arm cast below the elbow. My arm remained in the "L" position and the doctor said it would stay like that for about a week and slowly straighten out.

    Later that night as I was being chased through a graveyard by a guy whose car just got egged, I had to scurry over an 8' tall chain link fence. After re-grouping at our buddy's place, I noticed my arm moved just fine.

    Question: were you egging cars right before you were able to go palm up?