Friday, June 17, 2022

Lordy, it's been awhile!


Or, lots of things have happened since I last posted.

In the last blog entry I was finishing up a tapestry of sweetshrub. I did that, took it to the frame shop and it's now ready for an exhibit I'll be in with two other tapestry artists soon. That's to be at Danso Gallery, Clayton Arts Center,  Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee. The show, "Three Voices," opens at the end of June and runs through July--it will be up during the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence and is on one of the tours offered as an option for conference attendees. The opening is on July 16. 

So... what else has happened since my March post? Well, I guess the most important thing was this: I went to a long-awaited artist residency at Wildacres Retreat near Little Switzerland, North Carolina in late April. I say "long-awaited" because I'd applied for a residency there twice before and hadn't been accepted. When word came this year that I was selected for a week-long residency I was elated. 

I arrived on April 25 and settled into the cabin I was assigned and found it was a great space for doing work of all kinds. My goals while there were to concentrate on a new book I'm working on and to hike the trails, photographing and drawing what I saw while there. I also took a small loom to work on.

On April 28 I hiked Azalea Trail to the lodge and walked back down another trail to the main graveled road. I had my hiking sticks and sensible shoes, and was bundled up for the chilly morning with coat that had a separate liner, a fleece vest, turtleneck shirt and jeans. I was back to the gravel road and walking along, looking around, as I typically do when I walk, when my toe hit a stone embedded in the road. The stone didn't move but I did--I stumbled and fell hard on my left side with my face and left arm taking the brunt of the blow. It hurt like hell!

I was stunned for a few seconds but then I rolled over and immediately put my hand to my face and looked at it to see if there was blood--I was sure I'd really cut my face up. Then I tried to get up and realized I couldn't do that easily because I couldn't use my left arm! Somehow I got to my feet and slowly walked another 1/8 mile or so to where I was staying. I called the office when I got to the cabin and asked if there was an emergency department nearby, thought I needed to go. I was asked if I could drive myself and I said I didn't think so. 

From that point--and for a long time afterwards, I've depended on others. I depended on the kindness of the Wildacres folks, especially Kathy who took me to Spruce Pine hospital's emergency department and Wendy who kept phone check later on me through the night. I really appreciate the staff at the hospital who treated me quickly and sent me away with a couple of slings to immobilize my arm, offered  prescription meds for pain (that I refused--but had a good dose of Tylenol instead), and a with CD of the X-rays they'd taken.

I called my husband when I got back to my cabin to tell him what had happened. I also talked to my sister and my niece. All were willing to come get me. And we arranged that the next day, the 29th of April, my husband and sister would to drive the four + hours together in her car, and then he and I would go home in mine. Bit by bit, through the day of the 28th, after getting back from the hospital, I packed up my car. And then got what sleep I could by sitting up in a chair with ice pack on my shoulder, arm in the sling, taking Tylenol every 6 hours.

The next day my husband and sister arrived, picked me up and we came back home. What an inglorious end to a retreat!

Since then I've had several visits to an orthopedic specialist, X-rays galore,  CT scan, and even an ultrasound (to look for blood clots), to add to the mix. But all has been going as well as possible and I'm able to have physical therapy now. However, the pain has been amazing. At the emergency department I was told that a broken proximal humerus was very painful but I thought I knew a bit about pain since I've had a couple of abdominal surgeries, as well as a broken ankle in the past. Well, I didn't know s**t about pain! 

But I'm grateful that I'm now seven weeks and a day away from the fall and that I don't have pain like I did before. It's still with me and is more so at times. But I have to keep it in perspective, I have to realize that I do have relief from the pain for times--and now for extended times.  Others who I know have constant pain. There's a Flannery O'Connor quote about pain that I have in a journal somewhere. Maybe I can find it and post it in the future.

For now, I'll be grateful for relief from pain when it comes and that it comes frequently now. I'll also hope to have another opportunity for a Wildacres artist residency in the future--if I'm accepted for another one, I'll try valiantly to stay on my feet and healthy the whole time!

1 comment:

  1. Take it easy. I broke my left elbow several years ago. Took about 5 months all told. Arm would still swell if I over did craft work. Now it is good with only minor aches when it snows. Take plenty of time to heal properly.