Before Breaking Both Wrists…

May 26, 2011 at 9:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Well, as you may recall, almost six weeks ago I fell down a flight of steps coming out from my parish church and broke both wrists and messed up nine teeth. Since then I have had occasion to reflect on the experience at some length (!) and offer the following pieces of advice to those considering taking a similar dive:

1) You should get into shape. Exercise. Lose weight. Do sit-ups. Lift weights. Because after you hurt yourself this way you are kind of wiped out and spend a lot of time lying around. And gain weight. So you need something (or perhaps: need less) to fall back on. I only resumed taking my once-habitual long walks around Brooklyn after my fourth week in splints, and I am still walking more slowly than I used to because I’m afraid of falling down.

2) Save money. This sort of accident is expensive, even if you have health insurance, as we do. The day before I had surgery on my mashed up left wrist, the surgeon’s office called to say that there was a co-pay of $300 that had to be paid in advance. Lucky we had it, because twenty-four hours isn’t a lot of time to be scaring up three hundred bucks. God knows what somebody without insurance would have had to pay up-front. And fixing my teeth may cost as much as $9000 out of pocket; ours, like most US dental insurance, is more or less symbolic. Covers a couple of cleanings and a root canal, maybe. “Just be glad you have the money,” as my shift-worker father used to say.

3) Have on hand some pants with an elastic waist. It is really hard to get your pants up and down,not to mention working a zipper and various related activities, with both hands in splints. LL Bean has some great women’s elastic-waisted pants for $39.95.

4) Get an Ipad, or a similar device with which you can turn pages by poking a screen. Reading is a lot less fun if it hurts every time you turn a page.

5) Have some very good friends, and if you don’t, start making them. Friends who will bring you containers of moist wipes (much lighter to use for washing yourself than a face cloth), tell you the name of a good home health care agency, bring you a roasted chicken or a chicken parmesan dinner, since cooking is pretty much out for the first month or so. (I can slice and sautee now, since my right wrist is much better, but I still can’t open a bottle of wine, or even a bottle of peanuts.) Actually, it’s also a good idea to have a partner who’s willing to wash your hair and hook your bra for you when the home health aide isn’t around. And a seven-year-old granddaughter who will come and watch the dvd of “Night at the Museum II” with you.

Another possibility, of course, is to hold on to the bannister, or to wait until you’ve got your umbrella up before walking down the stairs.



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  1. Most of all, we should learn to be agile scholars like yourself–finding sermons in stones.


  2. Hi Marian
    My Dad has just gone and broken both his wrists, I wonder if you
    have any sage advice or suggested useful items etc that might
    make his life a bit easier in the next few months while healing?

    Hope all has healed successfully and grateful for any advice

    All the best



    • Dear Deany, So sorry about your father. I guess my main advice would be to make sure you have an experienced surgeon–if your Dad needs surgery–and to find a good physical therapist and then to get your father to do the assigned exercises. Apparently lots of people go to physical therapists but ignore or severely shorten the exercise assignments.

      I’m pleased to say that I am completely recovered from my fall. I did have some arthritis in one wrist, but we went to Florida in January and the sunshine and warm weather seems to have healed it.

      Best wishes.

      Marian Ronan Sent from my iPad



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