Monday this week I went for a long walk. I’ve been trying to do that more often, and even though it was cold and very windy I decided I was going to stick with the plan.
Out at the park there was about a mile and a quarter out in the open before the bike path turned into the protection of the forest. I held my hood over my face, bent my head and tried to walk that part as fast as possible.
Once in the woods things were decidedly better and I began to enjoy myself, glad I had stuck with the plan. Still winter hasn’t let go of us here in Michigan and there were dark, seemingly just wet, spots on the path that I skirted because I knew, with temps below freezing, that they’d be slippery ice.
The plan was to walk 6 miles, and just before the 3 mile turn around there was a very large and very wide dark patch. With steep declines on either side of the bike path there was no good choice for going around. Reminding myself that I needed to be careful, not wanting to fall way out there in the woods all by myself, I inched my way across what seemed to be just wet pavement.
And suddenly I noticed that both my feet were up in the air in front of me. And just as suddenly I was flat on the path.
After a quick check that nothing seemed broken I rolled to my knees and crawled to dry pavement. The only thing that hurt were my hands, and those weren’t that bad.
I felt lucky.
Back at the car I posted pictures of the walk, checked my emails and prepared to drive home. But steering hurt my hands, and they were getting worse. I drove home slowly, using my forearms and elbows. My husband wrapped both hands in Ace bandages and I took a bunch of pain relievers to get some sleep, hoping the next day things would feel better.
But things weren’t better in the morning so we went to the doctor who took xrays, proclaimed no broken bones, and prescribed splints and heavy duty pain relief. And now I’m in day three of wearing splints.
I miss my hands.
I had a good friend in college, and for almost 30 years after, who had rheumatoid arthritis. Her hands were in a permanent curve, and she used both of them for simple things like holding a mug, or opening doors. These past three days I am the same, and I’ve been thinking about her a lot.
Michelle was eternally happy, she was a bit older than the rest of us and we used her as a mom substitute. She was the best listener and I wonder, now, if she realized how silly our young problems were. She kept on enjoying her life, though she was in constant pain, until lung cancer, probably caused by the meds she had to take, claimed her 15 years ago.
This week, though the splints make life more difficult, I appreciate the lesson my injured hands have taught: Don’t take hands for granted, they are under appreciated and needed for almost everything.
I’m hoping to be out of splints and back to normal by the end of the week. I’ve got a concert to play on Tuesday.
And I’m pretty sure I can’t do that without my hands.