For the last couple of days I have been living with just one arm. I broke my collarbone last Saturday while skiing in Pennsylvania, and ever since then I haven’t been able to move my left hand or arm without dealing with shooting pains. Massive shooting pains.
Let me tell you something—living in a world with just one arm is next to impossible. I never imagined what life would be like trying, for example, to put on a pair of pants with only one arm. One of the main reasons I decided to stay home and out of the office for an extra day was because of a fear of what might happen in the men’s room. Pants going down no problem, but pants going up, big problems.
I have broken my arm before, but I didn’t lose much movement. The reason is because with a cast, you can still move around fairly freely. But with a broken collarbone, the whole point behind its healing properly is to not move it at all. In case you haven’t cracked open Gray’s Anatomy recently, the collarbone is connected to your entire arm, so anytime you move your arm or twist your body or your neck in certain positions, it jiggles the bone and sends those pains I mentioned earlier shooting throughout your body.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. One of the benefits of having a broken collarbone is that I have been sitting up extremely straight and laying down extremely straight and walking tall. If I slouch, the bone pushes into my skin, again causing a tremendous amount of pain. I’m anxious to discover if this will solve, once and for all, my posture problems.
All in all, I’m happy that a broken collarbone is all that happened. I could have easily landed a different way and not been able to write this. As I replay the fall in my mind, I realize it is very possible that I could’ve landed directly on my head—and at the speed I was going into the ice, I’m confident that I would’ve died.
That thought has been freaking me out. I’ve always deliberately decided not to think about death because, well, there isn’t really much you can do about it. But this whole experience has made that kind of thinking (or not thinking) impossible. It’s given me a whole new perspective, in fact. I can’t get it out of my head. I really need to get a will in order. I need to make sure that my collection of movie ticket stubs ends up in the right hands.
Once again, this is a reminder that we need to be grateful for all the things we have in life.
Out here on the East End, we have a lot (no ski mountains, thankfully). And if you can move both your arms and legs AND live in the Hamptons, you have more to be thankful for than most. Think about that the next time you pull up your pants.