Here is the beginning of a journey I thought would be recovery from a tenodesis, the reconnection of a thickened tendon in my biceps muscle. What it turned out to be, what we feared it could be in the worst case, was a torn rotator cuff, shredded nearly all the way through the ligament.
My outlook, before the surgery, was six weeks, some of it in a sling, lifting limited weight followed by aggressive physical therapy and return to use. That prospect has turned to six months recovery instead, starting with 2 to 4 weeks in a sling, and not lifting my arm unassisted for eight weeks. No use of the shoulder at all.
But I have to write. I have to share ideas. I must record my thoughts and though it is sometimes hard to do into this machine, I will do it and I’ll make it work because it’s what I have to get the job done.
So what are the tiny steps I’ve been able to take since surgery? We’ve made lots of progress. We’ve gone from icing 30 minutes of every hour for 48 hours, to icing after range of motion four times a day. Hubby has given me half the shots of anticoagulant out of the 10 in the series. I can’t even say how grateful I am that he’s able to take that on.
I’ve gone from counting the hours till it’s time for my two pain pills to looking at the bottle and wondering if I need even one right now. These feel like huge tiny steps.
My surgeon was well warmed up before my scheduled surgery, too, a small side story for my morning, though I was first on his docket. He had to stitch up his wife’s toe before he got to work. He figured it got him well primed for my surgery.
So many other little steps taken, like putting on a shirtsleeve inside my sling, pulling up my pants, putting on socks, figuring out that no, I can’t grind the pepper myself, but working out ways to feed and care for myself now that James is back at work. These are the little steps that make it possible for me to function.
Today, that big lumpy dressing comes off. The droopy eye and the gruesome bruises, both from the shoulder block, are mostly just a memory.
Of course through all this, I need to be able to write. To do so, I need some tech tools. I’ve created a problem with over-dependence on my left hand. Now that I’m mostly immobile on the right side, I worry that there will be even more issues with that. This means I can’t depend on one-handed typing.
Here are the tools that make it possible for me to keep writing, to make tiny big steps in more than just the daily functions.
There’s Dragon dictation, free on the iPad. I could purchase Dragon for the PC but I choose to mail myself dictated notes instead.
My new little Bose earbuds with the mic help quite a lot. I find my dictations less garbled when I use that, so there are fewer corrections. Plus they look really cool.
There’s the stylus. It saves my left hand too, as I edit on the screen in the dictation program, adding punctuation and marking where I’ll add more dictated content.
Once I finish with dictation I email the text to myself. I like to do corrections in Dragon before I send them because I can use the auto fill and the stylus to prevent fatigue too.
I use a program called Scrivener for my writing. If it’s a really short blog post, I’ll just pull straight into WordPress but usually I archive my posts into Scrivener and organize them by topic. This means I need to copy and paste from email into Scrivener, make any final changes I need, to mark places where I want links or photos, then I’m ready to publish a blog post like this one. I use the PC version of Scrivener or I could just do it all on the iPad. I work on two different PCs to write, whether it’s novel, blog posts or other content.
Once it’s in Scrivener I have only to copy and paste into a blog post to finish my work. I do find that inserting links and other content is also hard on my hands while I recover, so I’m linking no content in this post. If you want to look up Dragon or Scrivener or any of the tools I use, you just have to look them up yourself this time .
November 1 begins National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. During this month I plan to start work on my first middle grade historical fiction. “Rivet” is about a boy who works in a shipyard in Washington State. Without these tools, I can’t possibly participate in NaNo and I can’t possibly complete any writing tasks at all, like finishing my work in progress, either.
The other tech tool I use which I’ve used all along but which is very handy is Dropbox. I take a photograph with my phone or a screenshot on my desktop and it saves in Dropbox. It’s also how I save Scrivener files to write on different computers.
These are my tiny steps and my tech tools. I’m grateful for all of them. I may get tired of listening to the sound of my own voice but I won’t quit.