Have you ever tried to take a selfie of your elbow? I’m here to report that it’s not easy.
Why, you wonder, would Kandy want to take a photo of her elbow? The thing is, I like to include pictures in my blogs and I’m writing about my elbow. And I’m writing about my elbow to warn you not to do as I did, that is, ignore the fact I had fractured my right elbow.
About seven weeks ago, I was staying on my own at our little farm in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney in lock-down mode to meet a deadline for a book for Harlequin Romance. Being at the farm involves looking after the seventeen animals in residence: four cats, two horses, two Dexter steers (a miniature cow breed); and nine chickens. At the time of year (winter Down Under) it also involves hauling firewood from a shed into the house as the wood-fired stove is the main source of heat in a cold mountain climate.
The chickens need protection from predators such as foxes and eagles. Though they free-range during the day, in the evenings they are locked into a secure yard. The metal gate to the chook yard (Aussies call their chickens “chooks”) had been difficult to close for a long time (in spite of constant requests to hubby to fix it). Long story short, in a frustrated effort to secure the gate I banged my elbow on it.
It hurt. My elbow ended up with spectacular bruising half way along my arm in both directions. I iced it. I massaged arnica into it. I displayed my multi-coloured bruising with a strange kind of pride to my family. “You should go to the doctor, Mum,” my daughter said each time. No need for that, I would answer. I’m too busy. It’s just a bruise. A very big bruise, but just a bruise.
It didn’t hurt that much. I continued to haul firewood, mix and carry buckets of feed to the horses, throw hay to the bullies, wrestle with the gate to the chicken enclosure, vacuum the house. When the bruising abated, I went back to the gym and did resistance exercises.
Then my arm started to really hurt. The simplest movements caused pain. “You should go to the doctor, Mum,” my daughter said. Six weeks after the incident, an x-ray and an ultrasound confirmed I had fractured my elbow and torn a tendon. Resting the arm was required, a neoprene cuff fitted by a physiotherapist, and all activities such as outlined above banned. No lifting, no pulling, no pushing—and certainly no gym or swimming (my favourite exercise.)
By ignoring the pain and exacerbating the injury I had made things worse. Even simple things like using scissors hurts. A natural right hander, I’m finding it tricky to use my left hand for heavier tasks. I pride myself at carrying on but it was foolish not to heed nature’s warning of that massive bruising and look after myself. Now my elbow will take longer to heal than it would if I had sought help sooner.
So that’s why I took a selfie of my elbow to share with you. Not a particularly attractive photo to illustrate my post—how fortunate my cat Alfie happened to be in the background to liven it up.
Have you ever ignored an injury or an illness? Or did you seek help straight away? I’d love to read your comments!