A traumatic experience is what influenced the section of my blog called “Obstacle Shmobstacle”. I’d like to share with you the accident that changed my view on life.
It was a typical day. I had just returned home from the gym. There were seven, full five gallon glass water jugs waiting for me on the porch. Like usual, I started carrying them to my garage, one by one. The plan was to get them out of the way for my housekeeper. I was setting down the third bottle and approached the ground a little too fast. The thick glass shattered in my arms. At first I was startled by all the water and glass everywhere and then I realized my hand felt really tight and I couldn’t feel my fingers very well. Looking down, I saw my wrist was gashed open. First thought…”OMG I may have just killed myself”. I didn’t know what it looked like to hit an artery. All I knew was there was a lot of blood.
I ran inside. Blessed as I was, my housekeeper was upstairs. I thought, “I need a tourniquet”. So I grabbed a thin towel and had her tie it around my arm. Then I proceeded to call 911 and my husband. My poor hubby! It was probably only one of the busiest days in his career and I called him in a panic. The paramedics and my husband were on their way.
The paramedics told me, “Oh it’s just a skin tear, you’ll be fine”. They then had me put pressure on the wound. I think they were just trying to calm me down. After speaking to the paramedics my husband got to the hospital thinking it wasn’t that big of a deal and that I was probably overreacting. He thought they would stitch me up and he would continue on his way back to work. Then they unwrapped the bandage. My husband’s reaction was priceless. His eyes got really big, he started snapping photos and then he proceeded to sit down. He knew he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The ER staff was ready to stitch me up. That was when I started getting nervous…well in addition to the moment when I thought I was dying. I then inquired about plastic surgeons. All my uncertainty influenced the decision to call in a hand specialist to the emergency room. The questions I asked were key that day. I later learned from my hand surgeon who operated on me for three hours that night might I add, that it’s good I didn’t let them sew me up without operating. I would have never regained full movement of my hand if that was the case. They repaired five tendons and my median nerve in my wrist. The outcome, unbelievable!
Now for the fun part…how golfing with one arm became my new normal.
Bummed out that I wouldn’t be playing golf for over three months, I decided to visit my golf instructor, Dr. David Wright and get exercises I could do to keep my swing present while I was out. Doc owns Wright Balance Technology. He was featured by GOLF Magazine as a Top 100 Instructor in the world. He focuses on establishing core balance, taking advantage of natural power, and training both physically and mentally.
Dr. Wright looked at me with my arm all wrapped up and said, “Wanna play?”. I was like, “Okay!”. He then started teaching me how to play with one arm. It was similar to two arms. The only difference was where I placed the ball in my stance and my backswing got shorter. Doc focuses a lot on visualization. I found it was a lot easier to imagine my shot and stay focused on one swing at a time because my ego wasn’t in the way. Any shot was a good shot at that point. My low expectations drastically changed the way I visualized the game.
Doc encouraged me to go out and play. So we did. My husband and I played every weekend after that for three months. I started teeing it up at my Hubby’s second shot. As the weeks went by I got further and further back. Eventually I was playing from the front tees. My furthest drive was in the 170 range.
After the three months, Doc advised me on how to add my left hand back on the club. We decided to keep my right hand strong and let my left go along for the ride to protect my nerve. I’m now hitting the ball my furthest and I’m not even 100% yet. My new routine is to start hitting on the range with one arm. When I get my visualization down and my ego out of the picture, I know it’s okay to add my left hand on the club.
Five months later…now almost back to normal. They say everything happens for a reason. I believe there was a lot to learn about myself and my injury assisted in that. An uncertain outcome made me focus on one day at a time. In the past, that was always a struggle for me in everyday life. My injury forced me to think that way since a full recovery was unknown. I joke that maybe the real reason this happened was to improve my golf game. Cause freak accident right!
Helpful tips I learned along the way:
- Be proactive when it comes to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, ask questions.
- Go to physical therapy. Don’t skimp on the exercises either. It’s amazing to watch the journey from start to completion. I was blessed to have an extremely dedicated physical therapist that taught me everything she knew about hand therapy.
- If your doctor approves it, continue to work out during your injury. Blood circulation helps with healing time.
- Drink lots of water to assist recovery.
- Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C are good to take for nerve damage.
- Ultrasounds can help with the breakdown of scar tissue.
- Silicone patches can reduce scarring.
- And last but certainly not least, BEWARE OF GLASS! It’s no joke.
I’d like to thank all the people that put me back together:
Dr. Abdollahi, M.D., Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon – abdollahimd.com
Laura Heather-Brozek, OTR/L, CHT, Clinical Hand Specialist – mission4health.com
Dr. David Wright, Wright Balance Technology – wrightbalance.com