The Only Way to Help
I broke my wrist good. On Feb 2, when we got 13 inches of snow in one day, I fell on my ass and broke my fall by landing on my right hand.
I really assumed I had only sprained my wrist. I was soooooo wrong. As the swelling subsided, it just did not look right or, rather, like my left wrist. So, on Saturday the 19th, I went to an urgent care place. I just was not sure it was healing quite right. After the x-ray, the doc came in and asked how I had been coping with the pain for so long and told me how shocked everyone there was at how serious the fracture was. He then invited me to look at the x-ray for myself. Wow. All the way across. Impacted right radial fracture is the name. I jammed the bones of my wrist together. I am having surgery tomorrow.
I am dealing with fury. I am furious at how long I ignored it. I feel a little stupid for not taking the fall more seriously. I feel incompetent as an adult trying to care for myself.
But where would I have learned self-care? My brothers are dying of cirrhosis. My parents were injured in the same accident I was in and lacked the sense to seek proper medical care. My family does not know crap about taking care of themselves. I come by my lack of self-care honestly. They could not teach that which they did not know.
I am counting on my longest friend to help me. She has known me for over thirty (!) years. We went to the same high school but she was in the grade ahead of me. I really hate relying on anyone, but she is trustworthy and heaven knows my family is not capable of being so.
Here is part of what is annoying me: one of my best friends, that has been my rock during all of this, is way worse off than I am. This other friend had a subdural hematoma, a brain bleed. She had brain surgery, was in the neuro-ICU, and is just now somewhat able to take care of herself and be left alone. I have been helping her with her cat, petting Shyla to the feline’s satisfaction. My friend has probably monumental hospital bills. I cannot even imagine. Meanwhile, I am panicking a little about the cost of my surgery, and I likely have better insurance than she does. She keeps telling me to make lists and just take things one thing at a time. My brain-damaged friend is the adult in this relationship right now! How wrong is that?
Then there is the friend that I don’t really know what to say to right now. I feel like she is living in a fantasy world. She has lots of sympathy for me, but I cannot rely on her because I don’t think she is living in reality.
The only way to actually help people is to deal with your own issues and learn from them. Then you have something to offer. My brain bleed friend is in the midst of the fire. She is living in reality and dealing with life forthrightly. My longest friend had wrist surgery years ago and basically told me what would have to be done, which the doctor then echoed almost word for word.
I think about my family and am so glad to be out. The life lessons they taught me were all wrong and dysfunctional. They taught me how not to take care of myself. They were, at best, bad examples. Their lives are cautionary tales. Be careful or you might end up like them. That’s the lesson.
How do you know if someone is in denial? That is easy. If there are almost no safe topics of conversation, then the denial is pretty thick. Everything is connected to everything else, so one topic leads to another…If you have to tip-toe in conversation, run away and do not look back.
So tomorrow the doctor has to slice open my wrist, re-elongate the proper bones, put a plate in there to stabilize it, and close me up. I honestly hope I have not healed too much in the wrong position. I am scared. I am vulnerable and totally dependent on others. I hate this so much.
But thank God I have trustworthy people in my life now.