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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Anniversary Blog Fest: Toni Noel


What I did during my summer vacation

Last summer we did Italy. This summer I had hand surgery. Not nearly as much fun.
I scheduled the much needed hand surgery for the last of May, which gave me a good two months without deadlines.

The surgeon relieved a repetitive stress injury by removing an arthritic bone at the base of my thumb, wrapped my hand and lower arm in a large bandage to keep the pin in my thumb from moving and sent me home the same day with a generous supply of pain killers and an ice bag.

The day he put my hand in a real cast my editor had emailed me to asked if she could move my February, 2013 release up to November, because she had a cancellation in her upcoming schedule. I said sure, although it meant Desert Breeze would be releasing two of my novels in November.

When I made the change on my calendar I realized my altered schedule meant I had two manuscripts due to my editor in four weeks, and me with a cast on my swollen left hand and still needing drugs.

I'd computed with one hand when I had the same surgery on my right thumb in 1993 and knew I could still work, just not efficiently. My cast made a habit of capitalizing words I hadn't intended and was responsible for numerous typos I had to edit, but I met my deadlines and completed final edits for my September release, Fairy Dusted during that time.

I soon discovered there were things I could do and things I couldn't do. I could type one handed. I couldn't tie my shoes. I couldn't smooth deodorant under my right arm.

I couldn't hook my bra and went braless for two months. To force the girls into D-cups was more than I could manage. Twice my husband completed the task so I could attend an RWA chapter meeting. The girls enjoyed their new-found freedom and any day I expect them to stage a bra burning. Not that I'd object. It takes far less time to dress not having to restrain and support them.

I couldn't squeeze the toothpaste, couldn't open some doors or brush the dog, had to stick with pants with elastic waists, and had trouble putting on my panties. I never could balance on one foot, and had always balanced with my left hand when donning underwear and slacks. Thanks to the surgery, I had to sit down to dress, and twice put my feet in the wrong holes and wound up wearing my underwear backwards all morning.

I couldn't drive. A published friend picked me up for meetings. When the cast-man removed the cast after 7 weeks and I tried to drive, my car wouldn't start and had to be towed. All three Volvo fuel pumps had taken a vacation, too.

Now I spend my days alternating ice and heat on my hand, going to therapy to control the swelling and teach my wrist to bend again, and booking blogs to promote my upcoming releases.

My hand will be fine, it's just a matter of time. Four long months. I didn't consider the lengthy rehab when I booked the surgery, my inability to play with my granddaughter with fingers that won't bend. It's hard to walk the dog or button a shirt one-handed, and almost impossible to be creative when my hand hurts.

I empathize with everyone who has lost the use of a hand.

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Hywela Lyn said...

OOh, that doesn't sound like much of a 'fun' way to spend a summer. Usually, if a writer is 'out of action' she at least has the consolation of being able to write -but when it's your hand, that must really slow you down. Hope you'll be functioning perfectly before long.

Jean MP said...

That is not a fun way to spend a summer. Wishing you continued recovery.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Debby said...

Not a great summer! Bet you miss Italy. Hope your hand gets better soon. My daughter has a prosthetic leg and it can be hard on her at times.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Ingeborg said...

I is amazing how much we use our fingers and hands every day. We really don't notice until something happens and we can't use them. I hope your hand gets better very fast.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I understand what you are saying, Toni. I had carpel tunnel surgery in both hands over twenty years ago and then four years ago broke my arm. They put a steel rod onto the bone so I didn't have the cast. Isn't it amazing how you cannot cope with one hand? Typing is a nightmare and the bra - a real challenge. My hubby said he knew how to take them off, not put them on - the rogue!

Hoping you can get that wrist to work again so it will be easier to type. Congrats on getting both those stories off to Gail on time.

Unknown said...

We take so much for granted don't we? When recovering from hip surgery I could still type but couldn't sit comfortably for any length of time - I had to give myself time and be patient - not my strong suit! Let's hope next summer will be better Toni.

Angela Britnell