“BREAKING MY LEFT WING: Day 4 –Training My Fingers by Tickling the Ivories”

Wednesday, February 8

TMI Sports Medicine

Piano. A simple, five-letter word. For at least four years, now, mine has waited by the staircase, like a wallflower at a high-school dance, for me to set down my laptop and pay it some attention

“Stupid computer,” I could almost hear it whine. “You pay more attention to it and even take it places. You never take me anywhere.”

“I’ll get back to you. But, first, I have lessons to plan. Papers to grade. Classes to teach. Books to write,” I said, as I glanced up from my Mac or iPad. “Sit tight.”

On Monday, February 6, one month after my surgery, things started look brighter for “Mademoiselle Piano”. As I was squeezing the hand-gripper in therapy to strengthen one finger at a time, I remembered that neglected piece of furniture standing by our staircase. So I went home, cleared off miscellaneous stuff from it, slid back the cover, and reacquainted myself with it to my heart’s content. As a kid reuniting with a favorite, old toy, I played every song on it that I could remember playing before, even though I knew I would be rusty. Having played by ear since my sixth birthday when Daddy surprised me with an upright piano, I had already developed an extensive repertoire; it was simply a matter of brushing up and letting muscle memory take over from there.

This morning, when I went to my Wednesday session at TMI, I was surprised at how much stronger my ring finger was when I pressed the gripper. Even my little finger pressed down a teensy bit more.

Of course, there were other exercises, as well. I stretched my neck to the right. Flexed my elbow, wrist, and fingers.Pushed hard against a door jamb with my balled-up fist. Tucked my chin. Tightened my shoulder blades. Stood with my back to the door jamb and pressed back hard against it with my elbow. Leaned over the table and, with my left arm hanging, and, in a hula-hoop motion with my hips, swiveled them first in one direction and then the other.

As the next to last activity for the day, before she applied ice to my shoulder for ten minutes, Shelby massaged my  biceps and encouraged me to do the same at  home.

“They’re really tight. You will need to massage them often,” she cautioned.

Although I’ve noticed a lot of improvement, starting with one of the most important ones: wrapping my left arm, as well as my right one, around Jeff, I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me before I’m fully functional, as in able to wash my own hair and take showers unassisted.

Something else has started happening as I’m preparing to sling my sling. When Daniel told me I could take off my sling around home, I immediately flung it off and going without it, nearly all day. Over the past four weeks, the same sling that made my shoulder and arm feel secure before and after my surgery, has really started bugging me. Early mornings are the worst when it gets all twisted up and pulls heavily at my neck.

I’m chomping at the bit to fling my sling, but Daniel and Shelby say I’ll have to wait another two weeks. According to them, my orthopedist has to run another set of x-rays to determine my progress and the magic day  I can face the world  sans sling. Then,  I will begin Phase Two of my therapy.

Coming up after a brief break, the next step in my journey accessible on your favorite form of digital communication.

So, to those who have ever suffered a fracture, what part of your  body was involved, and  what was involved in its rehabilitation? I’d love to hear from  you!

If you have enjoyed this post, please scroll down and hit “like” at the bottom. I love to see comments. Until then, have a great weekend and be careful.



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