T Minus Three Weeks

So in three weeks exactly I will be waking up in recovery after a 10-12 hour nerve reconstruction procedure. My surgeon refers to it casually as “exploring my plexus” like he is going to wander around a garden. Hopefully it means he is so relaxed and comfortable about performing this surgery he can speak of it in such nonchalant ways.

I am moving through emotions like a complete psychopath, one moment being at peace with it, then terrified, then anxious, then indifferent. It goes up, and then down. Clearly.

I laid in bed this morning with Husband after sleeping like the dead and still feeling like another week of sleep was needed when I woke up, slurping my coffee and said despondently “I am not getting my arm back”.

A few months ago I said to him “I feel like my arm will come back, but it will be very slow”. He agreed at the time. I don’t think that any more. And neither does Husband. He replied this morning with “well the surgery might get your shoulder going and some movement might return”.

It’s as if I know it’s gone forever even though there has been no catalyst. Other than time and a lack of improvement. Clearly the same ‘knowing’ has infected Husband’s mind also.

Perhaps this is acceptance. I am not sure. Or perhaps I am worried this surgery is not going to work and this is my “assume the worst and anything else is a bonus” subconscious at work.

The most telling moment for me daily is when I need to move my arm, to put it in a shirt sleeve for example, and I lean my whole torso downward so the arm swings forward, like it belongs to an ape, with my hand turned to the inside spastically and Colin flapping oddly and I look down it my arm and the way I have retardedly ‘swung’ it and I know – this is it. This is dogshit. This unfortunately is forever.

I do not mean to insult any other BPI Warriors who have to swing their dead arms like I do, this is just how it feels for me.

But then I put on my suit, strapped on my sky scraper nude sling backs, fluffed my hair, put on a shit load of make-up and worked the bejesus out of my job all day long. As I have said before loving your job is a wonderful gift. I can’t imagine how I would have survived if I hated my job and Husband was a dickhead. Heaven help me.

A normal day entails waking up and having coffee, getting kids up, getting ready, driving over an hour to work, working a minimum of 10 hours, today included sending 47 emails (thank you Dragon), having a one hour meeting, chairing another 2 hour meeting with 14 participants, finalising an annual report, sending the report, reading 67 emails, shovelling in lunch, having work conversations with 10 separate people at work, driving the hour + home, bathing the kids, cleaning up all their shit all over the house, feeding them whatever Husband cooked, putting them to bed, feeding the horses at 9pm in the dark, eating 57 bullets and then writing this blog.

One Arm Can Do! And that is a normal day. I am not big noting, well maybe a bit, I am just saying you can still get shit loads done with one arm, if you try.

One thing I have not done with any enthusiasm yet is exercise. Chasing horses doesn’t count. But I have decided with three weeks until surgery why start now. Just eat bullets and wait until this surgery caper is over.

It’s now 11.36pm so in 25 minutes it will be less than three weeks to go – eek!

I better go to bed whilst it’s still three weeks, three weeks with my sural leg and intercostal chest nerves intact, with my neck not opened like someone has been using a human can opener on me, with my plexus ‘unexplored’.

I will pray for the surgery to work and by work I simply mean my shoulder holding my arm, holding Colin, under it’s own steam. I don’t need much, but that one I do.

A Broad Ribbon

So after a horrendous week that I would prefer to leave most of in the bin, I had the most amazing day Saturday. As a lot of you will have seen (if you follow me on FB) that I was at a National Show with one of my horses. I have American Paint Horses, they look like what the Apaches used to ride many moons ago.

Now the problem for me with my horses is:

a) its almost impossible to get a horse ready for a show with one arm (plaiting of the mane, clipping ears, snout and legs, painting hooves, horse make-up on the head, checkers on the rump, and of course the washing – so much washing) – horses do not come out of a paddock looking like mine
b) riding at a show with one arm is probably prohibited – not sure yet
c) leading a horse at a show must be done with the horse on the right – quite difficult without your right arm
d) in addition to that above the simple task of bridling a horse, putting it into the float, dragging it to a show, putting its hay in hay feeders – everything is difficult with one arm.

Also, if you cast your mind back, the one and only show I ever ventured to post my accident a few weeks ago was a disaster and my horse kicked me in the ring (that means in front of the judge whilst working out for a placing – not in my bum – hahahaha) for my efforts. Now before you think that horse deserves the glue factory (admittedly it crossed my mind momentarily at the time) it wasn’t his fault. I pulled him out of the paddock @ 2 years old – just, fed to the eyeballs, and asked a lot of him and pretty much got what I deserved.

So when I woke up on Saturday at 4am next to a snoring husband I thought momentarily about jabbing him (snoring cure) and rolling over to go back to sleep, but there were some friends at the show I really wanted to see and I did wonder – would I regret not going? My gorgeous friends had also offered to help me plait (make the beautiful braids in the horses mane) so I thought, get your disabled ass out of bed Roxanne and move.

Plus I had worked and washed the horse the night before.

To his credit my horse, who remember is a baby, just 2yo, came to me and got his halter on and walked into the float in the dark without hesitation. This was reasonably difficult with one arm, but every time i achieve something like this it makes me happy. So i dragged my horse that I loaded in the dark on my own across the countryside by myself to the Arena where the National Show was.

As I drove in I spotted one of my friends, the Mum of my girlfriend, who I was so happy to see. She came and hugged me and I thought even if everything goes wrong today, I am already glad I came.

You see I met these ladies and their kid(s) – one bun was in the oven – exactly a year ago at this exact show of 2016 – when i deliciously had TWO arms. I instantly felt bonded with mother and daughter and what a find they were. They were open and helpful and I loved them immediately. We then spent Sydney Royal 2017 (the biggest show in Australia) together and I could not wait for our next adventure.

So the morning unfolded with the girls helping me enormously as I was on first @ 8am. Of course my darling 2yo horse had slept in his own shit and needed re-washing, measuring, identifying, plaiting and prepping. Including me – I needed hair, make-up, dressing in show outfit, hat etc. Not as easy as it sounds with one arm.

Anyway we did it all and out I went. The first class was a ‘futurity’ class or a class just for young horses. It was a big line up. As luck would have it I went out, a bit nervous to work out in a big class at a National show in the indoor arena, and when my horse had kicked me last attempt, and my baby horse was a right gem. No kicking or naughtiness (he only kicked me last time as I was trying to make him run by flicking a whip behind me – and he kicked at the whip but got me in the process). BUT as we ran along the back straight of the work out, the part where you try and show the movement of the horse by running as fast as possible, my skirt fell down.

I know. How much fucking bad can a person have luck right.

So I am running along incredulous that my baby horse is being an angel, running wonderfully on the right with no right arm and I felt my skirt fall down ever so slightly, then I think “no that bastard is really coming down” and when my whole arse is on display I stop running, pull the horse up in the middle of the workout and grab my skirt with my only arm which was pre-occupied holding a 600kg animal – at pace – and apologise to the judges for my wardrobe malfunction. 🤦🏻‍♀️. They laughed – all three of them. They weren’t good undies either – grey cotton boy legs. Eeek.

So this class they award at the end of the day when everything else is finished. So I thought I would get last given my butt came out for a visit. But that was ok. I had adopted Husband’s philosophy of just having fun. We all laughed and laughed and wondered if the official photographer had caught it.

I then took my baby on to win first in his junior class and then we won Champion Junior (baby) of Australia. When the judge called me out I cried like a baby. Then the judge cried. And the photographer cried. And the steward cried. I think even my shit arm cried. #tearsfordays

Anyhoo after all that excitement we got a few more ribbons including a third in the ‘pants down’ fiasco class. Amazing!

My beautiful friends hauled in a shit load of trophies also which was just lovely. I am trying to find a way to thank them properly. They deserved them though with a magnificent stallion to boot.

So my brachial plexus message is this – I was judged alongside two armed competitors (ALL of them), undid bottles, containers and horse make up with my feet and my onegoodarm. I laughed, told stories, listened and enjoyed every moment with these beautiful friends. I wished they lived closer.

So just when I thought about giving up, moving on, giving up something I have done my whole life, we won, we got the trophy and I was so glad I got out of bed.

My good arm hurt, my bad arm hurt, everything hurt really. But i got myself there and home again and with the help of some amazing friends anything is possible.