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Health sCARE


My birthday is in the dead of winter. Same birthday as Elvis, Stephen Hawking, David Bowie. Jonathan was born in June. Same as Chris Evans and Mary Kate and Ashley Olson. I'm so happy one of us has a birthday in warm weather. I'm partial to warm weather.


While I love my husband and could talk about him all day, this post is about health. My shoulder and my son. Let's start with the shoulder.


See that picture of me and Jonathan? Take a look at my arms. The arm on the left nearly fully fills the sleeve. The arm on the right fills half the sleeve. That's because the arm on the right (technically, my left arm) is still recovering from a bad break. In September, I tripped and fell. I landed hard, slamming my shoulder into a concrete wall, and smashing my humeral head into four pieces. It was held together for a while with a plate and 12 screws. Now the plate and 12 screws are there for good measure. No longer needed. They require another surgery to take it out, and they isn't bothersome so surgery isn't necessary. My bone is fully healed back together. Anatomically speaking, my shoulder is back to being perfectly put together.


But after having my arm in a sling for 6 weeks, my muscles atrophied. Self-admittedly, I'm a weakling to begin with, so it didn't take much time for my muscles to whittle down. You'd think, though, that after all these months, I would have built-up my strength. But, no! I still don't have it all back yet, as evidenced by my ultra thin arm in the picture. Here's me in my PT session. That arm seems like a matchstick! You can see my shoulder joint and inside stuff!

I can barely lift my left arm above my shoulder. If I really try and my muscles aren't fatigued, I can lift it almost all the way up. But it's tough. And lifting it all the way up only started two or three weeks ago. I try to get it above my head every day. Some days, it works. Some days, it doesn't. The doctor said my break was pretty bad. In fact, while I was laying on the surgery table, he said they debated about doing a shoulder replacement! What a rude awakening that would have been. But they decided I was young enough and healthy enough to get patched-up instead.


The point of this story is that it's weird having a long-term but hopefully temporary disability. It is the strangest thing not to be able to lift your own arm, not to be strong enough to lift your arm. That's weird. I'm like the Little Engine That Could, though. Someday, I'll be able to have it work again the way it should. But for now, for the next few months, and maybe even longer, I'm inching my way toward full recovery. Or should I say "centimetering" my way toward full recovery. It's more like "millimetering." The doctor said it could take a year.


I'm holding this story with me because my son's psychiatrist called me this evening with a "critical result" on one of his blood labs. We are to see his pediatrician as soon as possible, and if certain symptoms happen, go immediately to the ER. So tonight, we'll be vigilant. And tomorrow morning, we're the first one at the doorstep during the doctor's walk-in hours.


We had a scare with my son when he was a young child. He had a few seizures at a very young age, and there was a concern about epilepsy. He underwent a whole bunch of testing and medications, and ultimately, he's fine. Thankfully no other seizures except that brief period of time. Who knows why. I'm hoping that this particular case for him turns out similarly. Today it's a concerning reading on a blood lab. More testing. I hope it magically resolves. Ugh. If it would just please magically resolve. Or be a bad test. Even better if the lab had a mistake on their side. Now I'm just grief-cycling.


The grief-cycle and I have a strong relationship. The thing I despise most about grieving -- and grieving itself is awful enough -- is being able to step outside of yourself for a moment, understand that you are grieving... and it still doesn't make it any better.


If it can't magically disappear, then I'm hoping my son's issue is similar to the shoulder. Something's he's got to work on and overcome. Something that he can solve.


My son was born the same day as Captain Sully, who safely landed a commercial flight on the Hudson River. Captain Sully also had a problem. And look what he did.

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