Sunday, December 6, 2015

5 reasons for gratitude after my accident

It's been three months since I crushed both wrists in an ATV accident. After two surgeries, multiple casts, dozens of x-rays and hours of physical therapy, I am on the mend. Here are five reasons I am grateful.

1. I am grateful my disability is temporary. I was not crushed by the ATV. I could be dead, paralyzed or have a brain injury. Soon I will be free of casts, splints and pain.

2. I am grateful for my job as a newspaper reporter at The Columbian. After 11 weeks on disability, I returned to work part time before Thanksgiving. Last week I returned full time. I am typing with a cast on my left hand, so it's a clumsy, slow process. It's challenging to write under deadline pressure, but I'm doing it. The people at work have been welcoming and supportive. I am riding to schools with our photographers because I still can't drive. The Mountain Man even crafted a leather strap that fits over my cast and holds my reporter's notebook when I.m out on assignment.

3. I am grateful for my medical insurance through my job. The most recent medical statement totaled services rendered so far as almost equal to my annual income. Thankfully, that's not what I have to pay.

4. I am grateful for people willing to help me. A long list of co-workers, friends and family have been driving me to my doctor appointments, to work, to get groceries and run other errands. I am grateful for friends who have picked me up and taken me to their home for dinner or out to eat. Three months without driving has meant way too much time home alone. It's a treat to be among people again.

5. I am grateful for the progress I am making each day. In the first few weeks, I needed help with eating, dressing, washing my hair, opening doors, putting on a seat belt, turning the water faucet on and off, cutting my food and so much more. I live alone, so it's been crucial for me to regain use of my arms/wrists/hands so I can take care of myself.

Three months later, I am still not driving, but I prepare my meals, do my laundry and take care of myself. This week I opened a zip-loc baggy with my right hand--instead of with my teeth! With my shorter, below-elbow cast, I can put my arm into the sleeve of my winter coat, Today I zipped a zipper on my vest. Perhaps I'll be able to wear dress slacks and jeans again soon instead of elastic-waist pants. Progress!

I appreciate everything now. May I never again take the little things in life for granted.

Although I don't get a ski season this year, I plan to be back on the dragon boat next spring paddling with the Mighty Women. Two broken wrists are a temporary setback. I can't wait for my next adventure.