I am 9 weeks postop and according to my doctor things are healing… but, my arm will never be the same and I begin to wonder about all the things I won’t be able to do without a fully functioning elbow. I wasn’t thinking about that much until my ortho doctor told me last week that she would not trade arms with me for any amount of money. That did not leave me comforted but I do appreciate the reality. Since I’m not so young anymore there are things that won’t matter as much yet it bothers me that I am damaged – physically altered – permanently. I’ll have to think of a new way to put on contact lenses, an activity that used to require two hands to my face. I won’t be kayaking because paddling with one arm is, well, going in a circle. I won’t be able to move or hold heavy or large things and I guess that’s not so bad. I won’t be doing any yoga and my exercise routine will have to be adjusted. My arm will hang funny in clothes so I guess I need to put a pocket in everything or people might stare and wonder, “Is there something wrong with her arm?”
Most concerning is the ability to touch someone else – to put my hands on both sides of a face and pull someone in for a kiss. The touch of love must be altered.
Perhaps George Eliot sums it up:
“Who has not felt the beauty of a woman’s arm? The unspeakable suggestions of tenderness that lie in the dimpled elbow, and all the varied gently-lessening curves, down to the delicate wrist, with its tiniest, almost imperceptible nicks in the firm softness.”