03 April 2010

A small setback

Well  here it is 10.30 am and all three of us (the two wrinklies plus grandson) are showered, breakfasted and each at our screens. It's incredible how long it takes A and me to get organised in the morning since he fractured his clavicle (that's shoulder, for the anatomy-challenged among you!) This happened about nine days ago while A was maneuvering himself into position to begin an exercise routine. He had been doing his daily exercises independently for a while, but on this day he lost his balance somehow and toppled over, head and arm striking the edge of a bookcase or chair as he crashed down heavily onto the tile floor.

I came running when I heard the yell. Just getting him up was a challenge, but then I remembered that velcro-fastened cummerbund thing with 'grab' handles that we'd bought for his first weeks out of hospital. So after wrapping that belt around him, I managed to haul him up into a chair. At first I was most worried about the amount of blood splashed around, which seemed to be coming from a wound at the top of his head. But after checking him all over I realised some of the blood was from grazed skin near the left elbow.

Our Blue Care helper arrived just about then, and together we cleaned up A's injuries, which proved to be just flaps of skin rubbed off and no serious cuts. I was particularly impressed with the arrow our helper drew on the waterproof dressings, after we had applied these to the grazed skin areas. The arrow showed the direction in which to rip off each bandage later without pulling against the direction of the loose skin flap underneath. Even our doctor was impressed with that when we brought A in the next day to sort out why the shoulder was so sore and swollen.

X-rays showed a possible new fracture to the clavicle on top of an old one from A's youth, when he'd fallen off a bicycle. Swelling and soreness since then have confirmed this, so A must wear a sling for the next month or so, and has to do everything one-armed – which has greatly reduced his sense of independence, and also his confidence. But it's not too serious an injury, and has served to remind us of a big danger for someone of A's condition at this stage of life: injury from falls. We must be more careful in future.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear! Hope the fracture heals soon. But that arrow certainly was good thinking - imagine if you pulled it off the wrong way - ouch!

Stafford Ray said...

You deserve a medal! Maybe an O.A. (Order of Aphasia!)

Chartreuse said...

Hey, I'll recommend that medal to the Aphasia Association. Great idea!

Cadi said...

Sending you thoughts of strength in this difficult time & lots of good vibes for healing... I hope you are enjoying time with the grandson. :-)

Chartreuse said...

Cadi, very kind of you to send those wishes. But with A turning 81 soon, we have small cause for complaint. And our troubles pale to insignificance alongside your recent loss. However, unlike us, you have a future yet to unfold.

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I started this blog in 2009 when I became a full-time caregiver. My husband had been diagnosed a few years earlier with primary progressive aphasia. Over the next four years until his death in 2013, we went on a journey of discovery about this rare condition. My blog is about what I learned, how we both coped and how the journey deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Allen’s journey is over, but mine goes on.