Fifteen weeks ago, I went out for a morning walk thinking I would return home to make hot cross buns, a traditional bread for Good Friday. I set the dried fruit in a bowl to soak and went out for my walk.
It was not a vigorous walk. It was not across broken surfaces. Nonetheless, I tripped and fell. I broke my wrist, although it would take me some time to realize that I had. I heard no breaking, and my injury didn't hurt much, so I thought it was a bad sprain. I've told this story several times, but this morning I want to take note of how my wrist has healed, even though I haven't yet regained full mobility.
I have done a lot of self-improvement work through the years, and progress has never--NEVER--felt as microscopic as my wrist healing has been. But let me remind myself that 13 weeks ago, when I had to hold my arm at a certain angle away to have the splint put on, I thought I might throw up or pass out from the pain. Now I can turn my arm that way with discomfort, not pain. When I first had the cast off in late June, I couldn't hold a metal set of tongs in my hand and pick up objects. When I tried, I felt a searing pain down my arm. A month later, when I did an exit exam for my hand therapist, I could do the exercise with some minimal pain.
Last night, we played Yahtzee, and I was able to roll the dice with my right hand. I can still roll the dice better with my left hand, but it's progress. Likewise with using utensils: I can get the food to my mouth, but it's still a bit easier with my left hand.
This morning, I wrote a poem the way I once wrote poems: by hand, on a purple legal pad. I had started composing it as I walked yesterday morning. I was thinking of all the ways our fathers had taught us to leave: how to pack a suitcase, how to pack a box, how to load the moving van. I thought about the way that grandmothers teach us to stay: which plants we can eat and how to transform scraps into the comfort of quilts. Then I wondered if this gendering was fair. I wrote the poem that begins "They taught us how to pack" and the second stanza "They taught us how to grow." I like it better.
I have experimented with writing poems by using voice dictation into the computer, but I like writing on the legal pad better. Still, it's good to remember that I have options. I don't think that the content of my poems changed radically with the writing process. For poems, I don't think I even wrote any faster, as I do when I'm writing prose. When I'm using the computer, I still prefer to type. I make fewer errors.
I still have work to do, especially in flexing my hand backward, the way you do when you press down o a table top. I can hold my fingers straighter than I once could, but my hand still feels strange. In terms of touch, however, my fingers are almost back to normal. Once, every surface felt pebbled, like an orange peel. Now the surface of my desk feels like wood, the way it should.
Like I said, I'm still not where I hope to be. But each day brings a bit more progress--and with it, hope that the healing will continue.