“It’s not healing”

My shoulder on January 27

This is going to be a short update. I’m still not writing much because…well…I went to the hospital for a six-week follow up on my shoulder two weeks ago. I was feeling better and kind of excited that maybe it was almost healed, because the original doctor said six to eight weeks (it’s eight weeks today), and I was in a lot less pain most of the time. I had another X-ray, and honestly, it was hard to tell the difference from the original X-ray. The doctor was flipping back and forth between them, and the MRI I had the first visit in late January. Then he looked up and said, “It’s not healing. Come back in eight to twelve weeks.”

So, that was a bit soul-destroying for me.

I have developed a lot of workarounds for using just my right arm (I’m right-handed, so that worked out well), and I am generally in less pain than I was initially, but nights can be difficult. I often only get about two or three hours of real sleep a night. Sometimes a bit more. Sometimes there is a miracle and I sleep for five or six hours straight (I did last night). But for the past two months now, sleep has not been happening much, I’m still in pain a fair amount of the time (maybe 60%, especially at night), and I really, really, really want my arm back. Right now.

When I initially heard “subcapital humerus fracture” at my first consultation, I searched online and got all the advice on how to treat it. Thankfully it wasn’t displaced (it really only showed clearly in the MRI), so I didn’t need surgery. I got a sling, and the doctor told me to “be careful.” I also got pain medication (10 days’ worth) and calcium supplements from the hospital, and I supplemented the calcium supplements with still more supplements, changed my diet, and hoped for the best.

I guess this was the best.

The second doctor told me to keep taking calcium and “be careful.” Now I’m looking at the end of April and really, really hoping for the best. I went into a bit of a funk over that weekend, decided that I’m some kind of freak who can’t generate new bone tissue, talked myself out of that by remembering past fractures that have healed (mostly fingers and toes), and since then have been in a fairly anxious state. Here’s where being neurodivergent can be a bit of an issue, because I keep visualizing what’s going on in my shoulder, and it doesn’t make me happy. I’m trying to be kinder to my body, but I’m mostly mad at it.

I mean, mostly it feels better. I have some bad periods, and I hate getting in and out of taxis and riding the bus, which I generally do five days a week. My workplace is compassionate and supportive on the days when I decide that I need to teach online. My kid has been very helpful with doing extra work around the apartment and helping me to get in and out of clothes if I can’t manage. But we still need to go downtown three days a week for Emerson’s scoliosis therapy, and I teach four days a week. Which means a lot of uncomfortable transit time. (Did I tell you about the time someone put his knapsack down on my shoulder when I was sitting in a crowded bus? That was great.)

Still, I think I’ll get there. But I realized yesterday that my mental health isn’t particularly good right now. I mean, I’m fine, and I will be fine, but I could be a lot better.

Even before this happened, Emerson and I had been talking about experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). We didn’t the last time we were here because we were in a fifth-floor apartment with a ton of light and a southwestern exposure. We could see both sunrises and sunsets. Now we are in a ground floor apartment with only one small, high-up, eastern-facing window in the living area. My bedroom has large windows facing east, so I get morning light and sun, which helps (though my view is of the wall surrounding our apartment complex). But there is a certain cave-like quality to the rest of the apartment. We were outside a lot in the summer and fall, but going outside in the winter isn’t exactly a tonic. I’m on the lookout for full-spectrum lamps for us, though I haven’t seen any yet. Otherwise, we love our apartment and aren’t going to move (we moved three times in the last two years). I just miss the light our old apartment had.

I also miss living on the MIU campus. For me, it made life a lot easier, and now with my broken shoulder it would be great. But there would be no nice place to walk the dogs like we have now, and it would be harder for Emerson to get to and from school (we’re a 10-minute walk away, and the school bus stops right across from our building). In general, our current location works well for our family.

The weather is getting warmer, and the days are getting longer. This should improve my mood over the coming weeks. We even had a few days above freezing, with more on the horizon, and nighttime temperatures are starting to go above zero Fahrenheit. We can walk the dogs again (though I can’t on my own because of my flipping shoulder). It’s all very promising.

Also, this year, Emerson’s spring break happens to fall during my midterm exam week, so we are hoping to do something completely wonderful for that week. I’m not going to say what it is because it’s not definite yet, and I don’t want to jinx it. We decided even if it doesn’t work out, we’re just going to enjoy the anticipation. Either way, it seems to be absolutely necessary for our mental health. So stay tuned…

3 thoughts on ““It’s not healing”

    1. Hi Marie! Basically, I searched for posts on healing fractures and compiled my list of “top 20 foods and supplements.” I don’t have access to dark leafy greens right now, but I have a lot of other things.


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