At the end of fall semester, I hurt my right arm. I was carrying a bunch of stuff, including a bag filled with 60 student portfolios, and I twisted my arm in a weird way. I shrugged off the injury, figuring the arm would heal on its own. But when it was still hurting a few weeks later, I went to the doctor’s office to make sure the pain was muscular and not something more serious.
Our family doctor is about my age, a local like me, and we’ve known each other for years. We talked about my kids and his, while he poked and prodded my arm, asking, “Does this hurt? How about this?” On this visit, I had all my clothes on, which of course was unusual. It was nice to be able to chat fully dressed for a change, even if he was yanking and twisting my arm the whole time.
Finally, he said, “Yeah, I think it’s the muscle. It’ll heal.”
“Why is it taking so long?”
"When does it hurt?”
I stopped to think. “When I carry logs in for the fireplace, when I shovel snow, when I carry a box of books, when I move a stockpot of soup from the stove to the counter, when I move the cat litterboxes to sweep underneath, when I —”
“You haven’t rested it AT ALL,” he said. “Stop doing all those things.”
So I’ve been trying not to lift anything with my right arm. Instead, I yell for one of my teenagers or my husband if he’s home. It drives me nuts to keep asking for help; I am very much the kind of person who just prefers to do stuff myself.
Shaggy Hair Boy is the most obliging of my sons, and he’s been a great help, but he cannot resist a double entendre. “What’s that? You need some wood?”
I’ll be happy when my arm heals, and I can carry the firewood in myself.