It is five months this week since I set off on that beautiful morning in the Alps to go skiing. Had I known how the day was going to end I would have stayed in the apartment that day. In my photos on my phone there are a couple of photos of Max, Lucy and me at the top of the run, just before I had my accident. I remember George taking them – it was one of those conversations where I wanted to ski on and he wanted to stop and take a photo.
‘We’ve got all week to take photos, let’s get going’ I said impatiently. ‘Yes, but the weather might not be so good later in the week’ said George. So we stopped at the top of the lift and he took a couple of photos of the three of us, arms around each other smiling in the sunshine, looking forward to the day skiing ahead of us.
There are three happy photos of us, and as I swipe through them the very next one is an x-ray of my fractured humerus, followed by the x ray of the pins and plate after the operation. It’s a stark reminder of how fragile our existence is, of how one minute we can be happily enjoying ourselves and the next everything changes.
This weekend saw a horrific air crash at Shoreham. A stunt pilot had an accident and landed on the A27. No one is sure yet how many fatalities there are likely to be but it could be as high as 20. Two young men who died were in car on the way to play for their football team; there is no way that they could have expected to be hit by a freak accident such as a stunt plane landing on the road.
So, against the background of the daily tragedies and life changing events like the one at Shoreham, fracturing your shoulder whilst skiing is a minor injury. To me however, it has without doubt been a major event, not just this year but in my life so far. When I first saw the lovely Mr. F and he was laying out how long the recovery would take he said to me ‘It will be at least a year before you can forget about it. If you ever can.’
There is not a day, in fact, there is barely an hour where I don’t think about my shoulder; it is hurting me or there is something I cannot do because of it. Very occasionally I realise that I haven’t thought about it for an hour or so and I am pleasantly surprised! As I am so aware of my arm and my mobility all the time I do notice progress – or lack of it on a regular basis.
The last week or so I have seen definite progress. Firstly, my arm is getting stronger; I like to think that the swimming is paying off. I can wring out my swimming costume. I can lift the tea pot and pour tea with my right arm. I can drain a pan of vegetables.
My arm is also getting more mobile. Washing my hair is getting easier; I don’t have to bend my head quite so far forward. I can open the top cupboards in the kitchen and get a cup out. At work, I have swiped myself into the car park – painful but possible. I can lean over the side of the bed and put my book on the floor.
So, five months on and yes, my life has changed. My career has been impacted because of the accident and I am still a long way from being recovered. But I am recovering – and there is still progress to be had.