Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

About that wrist splint… July 24, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 1:37 PM
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A close-up of my thumb, held in place by a wrist splint and the underside of my swollen and scaly hand. There’s a reason I’m not smiling. Read on.


I’VE BEEN ABSENT FROM THIS BLOG for a stretch of days, which is atypical of me. But life, freelance work, volunteering, and my broken wrist, have interrupted my usual pace of blogging.

I saw my ortho doctor today, four weeks and one day after surgery to implant a plate. He’s happy with the healing and with my progress in occupational therapy five weeks out from my fall and subsequent bone break.

But I am not happy with the news my doctor delivered. I need to wear my restrictive brace for two more months. That’s a month longer than I expected. I could have ripped the Velcro trap off my arm and thrown it at him. But I like Dr. Armitage. He is a skilled and compassionate surgeon who truly knows me and cares that my bone heals properly.

Thus I will listen. I will continue to do my exercises, now upped to three times daily by my wonderful and compassionate occupational therapist, Annie. Yeah, more time out of that vise grip brace. I will continue to follow the rules of no lifting, no pulling, no nothing with my hand except to type and do my exercises.

The good doctor, though, picked up a small paper desk calendar and said I could lift something of that weight. I think he did that to appease me. He also praised me for excelling in breaking my wrist. When I break something, I do it well, he noted. Yes, he holds a great sense of humor. I envisioned a smiley face or an A+ on my medical records for breaking my wrist into so many pieces that 10 screws now hold it onto a metal plate.

Given the severity of the break, healing takes time. Time. I am not a patient person. I wanted to be fully healed yesterday. I hope, too, that my husband’s patience continues given the added duties of personal care assistant, chief cook and primary housekeeper. I have not convinced him to add gardening, thus the weeds grow.

Meanwhile, the medical bills continue rolling in as I pay my $3,600 deductible on a health insurance plan that costs me $1,000/month (and another $500/month for Randy) in premium. (Tell me that’s affordable? It’s not.)

I know I have nothing to complain about given many people are dealing with health, financial and other issues much more difficult. Still, this is my challenge…

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


35 Responses to “About that wrist splint…”

  1. Almost Iowa Says:

    But I am not happy with the news my doctor delivered. I need to wear my restrictive brace for two more months.

    That’s horrible news, though it sounds like you are doing everything you can to heal.

    Next time, (which I hope isn’t) don’t do such a good job of breaking your bones. Sometimes it’s okay to slack off and not do the best you can. 🙂

  2. You do not look like a happy camper in that photo – poo to two more months 😦 Aug. 7th will be 2 months since my bike accident and still healing the road rash and slowly putting pressure on my left knee. Here’s to both of us in healing as quickly and safely as possible. Take Care (((((loveandhugs)))))

    P.S. At least no one can challenge to you to a thumb war – hehe.

  3. Claudette Says:

    I too am not a patient person and commiserate with you! But here you blogged a post. Yay! Nice to read you. And a fully healed wrist will be a benefit as opposed to a screwed-up wrist, right? Good luck. 😊

  4. The first thing I saw in your picture was your frown. This must be stressful for you. I know that the medical thing is crazy in the homeland USA and I hope and pray that one day our politicians, insurance companies and healthcare system can finally come to some reasonable solution. When I hear a Dutch person complain about the wonderful healthcare system they have here, well I just think, you should move to the states and then make that statement.
    I hope you find a creative way to push through the frustration as we all love your posts.

    • Thank you for your encouragement. The creative in me really misses creating art with my camera. It will be months before I can use my DSLR again.

      As far as the cost of health insurance, something needs to change. It’s sucking away a major chunk of our income. It’s the biggest concern among those of us who are self-employed (like me) or those who work for small businesses (like my husband). I have found that many people who work in government and education have no clue what many of us are paying in premiums and deductibles.

      • Yup- you are right. The people in government don’t care or don’t have any clue how hard it is for working class America. The solutions are easy but that means it cuts into the huge profits of doctors, layers, drug companies and corporations hospitals. I just can’t see any of the those fat hogs giving up anything to make it better for the middle to lower class Americans.

      • I don’t see it either.

  5. Audrey, my friend I cannot tell you how clearly I understand and can relate to all that you said. The day after Christmas 2012 I had a hip replacement. Due to complications I used all of my FMLA and returned to work in March 2013. I was weak, and the therapist told me that I should not return to work, but I had no choice I had to go back. I drive an SUV and mine is a Honda Pilot. I live in the north, and it was winter. My first day back to work I prayed as I drove into the parking lot that the Lord would keep me from falling. I work an odd shift, so there are no other employees in the parking when I arrive. I stepped out of my pilot and down on to dry pavement. So far, so good. As I came around the back of the SUV, I slipped on black Ice came down on the back of the bumper with the back of my head and lost consciousness. I don’t know how long I was out I just know that when I awoke I was frozen to the pavement and I could not lift my left arm. I was in shock (literally), and I wrenched my arm forward with all of my strength two or three times until I finally broke free. I could tell something was wrong with my left arm as I had no strength and could not use it. I decided that my best bet was to use my right arm and leg to stand. This was very challenging, to say the least, but I finally got up. I noticed that I was walking funny as I lurched forward and the fact that my left arm hung down way below my waist was, to say the least disconcerting. As I moved towards the main entrance, a smoker came out of the building. I have never been so thankful for smokers than I was at that moment. I knew that there was something wrong, I mean really wrong but I could not tell as I moved forward in my shock induced state. The smoker was a friend, and from a distance of about a 1/2 block she called out and said, “What happened Gary? What is wrong with your arm? Fortunately, she put aside her craving and practically ran toward me. When she got to me, she took my other arm and put it over her shoulder and walked me to the main office. I am over six foot tall, so that meant that I had to bend forward while walking with a much shorter woman for support. Once inside the warmth of the building, she kindly offered to help me sit down. As I went to sit, I screamed as the shock began to wear off and any movement at that point was extremely painful. So along with the help of an additional co-worker, I stood while waiting for an ambulance and my wife to arrive. By the time the ambulance arived, I was drained as I am sure my coworkers were as well. When they rolled the gurney into the office my supervisor Heather, the office administrative assistant, The campus Director, and my wife were all standing there as my fellow coworkers let the abmbulance attendants take over. It was obvios that something was very wrong and they decided to give me a shot of the good stuff before they tried to remove my winter coat. Once the meds kicked in, and they were able to remove my coat everyone in the room gasped, and my wife nearly fainted. My left arm hung in a contorted manner that looked like it was no longer connected. In reality, I was in danger of losing my left arm. Things begin to get foggy here but after several hours of surgery, a 7-inch long incision, a metel plate that goes from my shoulder to my elbow, 17 screws, and no feeling from my elbow down to my fingertips I went home. On my first follow-up appointment, the surgeon told me that I would be out and would not return to work for at least 6 months and I began the long, tedious process of healing. Fortunately, I am right handed so I could take care of normal things, but I could not return to work. If this accident had not happened in my employer’s parking lot, I would have been out of a job. This was my first and only workers comp accident. As far as I am concerned I wish there had never been a worker comp accident. I loved my job working with the residents in an assisted living facility. I was the activities director for the residents who suffered from Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and I loved my residents. This was devastating because I had already missed the first several months of the year and now I would be missing another six months. I knew that It was very possible that some of my cherished residents would not live to see my return and because they suffered from Alzheimers and dementia many of them may not even remember me. I spent every day with these precious saints, and I loved them dearly. I was devastated, to say the least. So when I say to you that I understand the frustration regarding what you are going through please understand that I do. The wonderful thing about this particular occurrence was that my residents remembered me and we picked up where we left off when I returned. There is so much of our life that we cannot control. But the wonderful blessing, in our out of control lives, is that we know the one who is in control. And He is able to bring our chaotic circumstance back into order. I will pray that our savior brings healing and comfort to you soon. But more than that I will pray that the Lord gives your heart peace in the process. The Apostle Paul in Romans 15:13 encourages us with the following, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” And the Psalmist proclaimed in Psalms 112:6-7 “Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” So my prayer for you during this time is that you would find Gods peace by the power of the Holy Spirit and that your heart would remain steadfast while trusting in the Lord. Blessing to you my friend, Gary

    • Gary, thank you for sharing your story and journey to recovery. After reading this, I am hopeful and inspired. You endured much and overcame much. I read God’s grace in your story. Thank you for reminding me of God’s presence. Like you, I am a believer and a strong believer in the power of prayer. Thank you for lifting me up today in prayer. I am blessed by your words.

      I love the love you hold for those residents you have served.

  6. Beth Ann Says:

    2 more months seems like an eternity I am sure. I am not a patient person either and a broken bone would definitely bum me out. You are “handling” it the best you can and I am sure once the restrictions are lifted you will be throwing a huge party and back to the old routine and life. Hang in there. At least it wasn’t 3 months…

  7. valeriebollinger Says:

    I’m so sorry for this hard news Audrey. It sure messes with your life. Hang in there. I’m grateful you can post occasionally and look forward reading more from you.

  8. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    OK, I have time to leave a reply on Audrey’s blog. But, my mind is blank. I ask my DH to help me out. “Let’s play Association.” Pain = Broken bone = Marrow = Yummy to eat. That’s as far as we got. My sides hurt from laughing. But know your pain is totally on a far greater spectrum and frustration of continuing recovery is hard to put into words. I’d like to award you a lifetime of A+’s. Do you get to keep the metal? If they want it back it might be worth something in a refund bargain.

  9. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Definitely have to focus on what’s going right to get you through these next couple of months: you’re healing, you have good health care, you’re loved. I was surprised at the number of screws in your wrist! Wow! I’m not patient either. Onward, Audrey….

  10. Jackie Says:

    Oh darn, Audrey I’m so sorry to hear that you have to wear the brace longer than expected. I’m sure you are going crazy with the restrictions. I will pray for patience and peace….yes peace for your heart and soul as I know it’s hard for you to be still and wait. You are so blessed to have a sweet “in sickness and in health” kind of husband. He’s a great guy. (sorry about the weeds)

    • You’re right about Randy. He has been so good through two summers of broken bones and hip replacement 10 years ago. I couldn’t do this without him. i was just thinking of those marriage vows, too, and how they really do hold true.

      As you know, not being able to use my DSLR camera is a major restriction for the creative in me. I expect it to be months before I have the strength to hold and use my Canon. But, hey, I don’t have a choice. I will follow my doctor’s orders and try to be more patient.

      I don’t mind that I can’t clean the bathroom.

      Thank you for your prayers, dear friend.

  11. It’s hard when one is active like you, dear, Right?
    Perhaps God wants you to slow down, reflect, read!))) xx

  12. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Oh I’m so sorry you didn’t get the news that you wanted to hear. I remember quite well the frustrations of being laid up and out of your usual commission. It’s ok to be frustrated!

  13. I’m trying to play catch up in reading some of my favorite blogger’s posts. I had no idea your wrist was broken so severely! Wow! I’m glad you are mending, sweet lady. Take care!

    • Thank you for including my work among blog posts to read during this busy time of your life. I am behind on reading, too. And I’m not blogging as often due to the broken wrist and also due to some paying freelance assignments that take precedence.

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