(Originally posted on June 9, 2010)
It has been 40 days since I broke my left wrist. My plaster cast is near completion of its purpose. Am I looking forward to going out of the cast? Absolutely. But the crazy part is that I think I may miss it a little bit.
I broke my wrist when I tripped over the arm of a floor jack, shortly after I removed the muffler from my car. My friend Banri took me to the ER, and on that day, my ordinary yet out-of-the-ordinary life of the present began.
Early on, it had been an emotional roller coaster ride, with strong physical and mental pain. I was told by my orthopedist that I would need to undergo a surgery if I wanted to play the violin ever again. And I was uninsured. When you know you can’t afford not to undergo the surgery while you know you can’t financially afford the surgery, you get distress. Thankfully, my orthopedist managed to re-align my broken bones physically using his hands, knee and his sheer muscle power (and I got a little help from the local anesthetic during the procedure), and thus no surgery I required after all. But even without the surgery, medical bills were outrageous and I contemplated selling one of my violins.
The financial assistance I received from the hospital and my physician was truly tremendous. I have gotten in the past some gracious gestures and help when I desperately needed, mostly from my family and the family-like organization of, and individuals from, the Marlboro Music Festival. But in this case, my physician didn’t even know me as a person, and yet gave me a huge helping hand. He really helped me regain a positive outlook on this seemingly cruel reality. Thanks so much doc, I liked your Harley-Davidson surgical cap!
I’ve been wanting to drive a stick-shift, but I’m glad my car is an automatic. Even in the cast, I have to drive to places sometimes to get things done… I appreciate, more than ever, the fact that I can still drive it without using my left hand. On a different note, I normally enjoy my manual coffee grinder a lot. Slowly cranking the handle grinding the beans is a part of the coffee-making pleasure! But I have to admit, lately I do wish if it were an electric one… It definitely isn’t easy to crank the handle without the other hand holding the grinder. These days I sit on the floor holding it with my feet so that I can crank it with my right hand.
The inconveniences my broken wrist has brought are many, but they also got me a sense of perspective— a bit more introspective understanding of the relative importance of things. I’ve begun to value this perspective, and am afraid to lose it as I lose my cast. Being able to play the violin and some other instruments, being able to type with both hands and being able to take shower without worrying about keeping my cast dry are all great. Cooking. Fishing. I’ve missed out a lot. But still, I can’t deny that I’m getting fond of those get-well wishes and crazy doodles written and drawn all over my heavy plaster cast.
I have learned something invaluable and essential through this challenging time. And I’m hoping that it will stick with me forever with the memory and experience of being in the cast for nearly seven weeks this late spring into early summer, twenty-ten. And I thank my relatively new Japanese friends in Bloomington who have been very supportive.