Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

Random thoughts of an injured knitter July 14, 2012

Filed under: Adventure Knitting,General Musings — happystitches @ 08:39
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Today is my first day with a broken right wrist. I am reorienting my life. I’m also right handed, so it only makes sense that it is the right wrist that went. I’m a self-employed knitter, teacher, writer, cyclist, camper, quilter and drive a stick-shift car. You are probably getting the picture: all this sudden ‘not doing’ is now happening during my one brief period of freer time in my whole year, just when I could be doing those things. I’m trying not to whine, but every now and then it gets the better of me! I am keenly aware of the fact that many people have worse to live with. It’s just that this will take some getting used to, and some finding of ingenious workarounds for current physical shortcomings. I’d be happy to hear of any tips and tricks any of you may have for navigating life through these temporary shoals!

I’m very grateful that I live in a place where I could easily and quickly get medical attention: my break is clean and it won’t need surgery. I’m incredibly frustrated, because for the last week I’ve been loving having enough free time in my schedule so that I could cycle everyday. A bike brings great freedom and fitness, as well as mental well-being. The loss of cycling for the rest of the season feels like a door having been rudely slammed shut. I wonder if we could dig out the tandem bike in a couple of weeks? Cycling was just getting to be easy and fun (the hills were getting so much smaller than thy had been), and I was really enjoying biking with my husband on the weekends again (he was off his bike last year). Yup, whine.

The incident, for which I am entirely to blame, occurred about 20 yds from home after a wonderful ride on a beautiful summer day. Rather foolishly, I decided that instead of going through the intimidating road works I would ride up the sidewalk: I got caught by an edge — the rest is history. Bikes don’t belong on sidewalks. I know this. I’ve ridden more than 30,000 kms with only one previous hospital-worthy injury, so I suppose it was time.

At least I don’t have any travel for work coming up, so I don’t need to cancel anything. However, it’s going to make me rather useless on our forthcoming trip to help my youngest move from Kingston to Toronto and paint her apartment, not to mention the 4-day journey without knitting. Heck, I don’t even read without knitting.
We had our first back-country canoe trip planned for Aug 10th: 3 or 4 portages and several lakes. Can you paddle one-handed?
Thank you to my friends both local and virtual, for your understanding thoughts. My husband is doing his best in practical ways, which I appreciate. I’ve messed up his plans, too. However, he doesn’t really ‘get’ the enormity of it, or the loss of freedom. I suspect I’ll be taking my local friends up on their offers of outings and drives very soon.

My first frustration is that I can’t floss my teeth! A friend is going to the store for one-hand flossing equipment today.
I can type one handed, sort of.
I have books, computers, and will start a jigsaw puzzle.
I’m no longer in an urgent hurry to get my cycle gear washed for reuse. Happily I didn’t put a hole in my favorite cycle shorts when I landed, and my cycle gloves saved my hand from lacerations. I no longer have to make a trip to MEC for a kayak paddle for my newly borrowed kayak.
I can do quite a bit of tedious work on my new book, but I so badly want to be outdoors getting exercise and doing things on Tancook! I am feeling ridiculously pathetic, please forgive me.
Bras are no longer an option: so glad I am not generously endowed. I’ll try not to eat or drink compensatory goodies. (Well, maybe a little, this week only.)
I have lovely friends and supportive emails, texts and calls from my kids.
Sunday is scheduled as my Tancook tractor delivery day- we are still going ahead with it, but it won’t be quite as I had planned! Yes, I will gird my loins and start practicing my proper British stiff upper lip. Soon. Just not quite today. Today my lip is still quivering a bit.
With luck I’ll be fit to quilt in MI at the beginning of September, as I’m going to Gwen Marston’s camp then and back for my camp on Tancook.

Thought for the day: Hadn’t occurred to me before, but I had to get a cast on so that my bones could knit!
Lucy Neatby
Author of Cool Socks Warm Feet ,
Cool Knitters Finish in Style,
and the Learn with Lucy DVD series

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37 Responses to “Random thoughts of an injured knitter”

  1. Sue Says:

    Have you seen Melissa’s Singled Handed Knits blog/videocast? She has figured out a way to knit one handed. That might give you something to do while you’re unable to do so many other things. Not that it’s as much fun, but I would go out everyday and walk a long way when I broke my shoulder and couldn’t bike for several weeks.

  2. Louise Whitehead Says:

    Oh Lucy, Colin and I send our sincere wishes for a quick recovery, what a thing to happen……I think I would go to the Island and just gaze at the sea.
    Sending you lots of patience and love!

  3. Louise Whitehead Says:

    Colin just had an idea….use a static trainer on the deck, make sure it is static and not rollers…..good velodrome training…mostly collar bone fractures there
    (riders not spectators!)

  4. bookwoman67 Says:

    Oh no! Best wishes. I think you can now get brightly coloured casts, based on my students’ experiences. You could get one to match your hair! I don’t know what I could do if I couldn’t knit. As said, there is still reading and the sea, but I know it must be frustrating. Sending wishes and prayers for quick healing.

  5. s.e. Says:

    so sorry to hear how it really has ruined most of your upcoming summer plans:( I think you are entitled to feel a little sad and sorry for yourself indeed. My 20 year old son loves those single use floss thingies that you should be able to use. Maybe you could take up lefthanded crochet?

  6. s.e. Says:

    p.s. Edges always scare me on my bike whenever I have to cross them. I had a nasty fall many years ago involving a curb edge.

  7. Sue Says:

    Another thing I just remembered from the broken shoulder days is the bra thing. If you prefer to wear one, try getting one that fastens in front.

  8. maryh Says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I was to hear of your broken wrist.
    Maybe you could “virtually” plan new color and stitch combinations for patterns, make simple marks with your left hand and have a partner chart them more fully–a pretty lame plan, but I’m just trying to think of any possibilities.
    Rest and heal quickly. Maryh

  9. Rebeccacca Gabriel Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this! I’m a long-time lurker, but just want to add my condolences and best wishes for brilliant, fast healing.

  10. Patricia Walters Says:

    I know it’s hard to believe right now when it’s a fresh break but you will get use of you hand in considerably less than 3 weeks. I had a similar break (albeit at a younger age) and was playing the piano with the cast on. Take heart. I’m not sure you’ll be able to help with lifting a canoe. Maybe paddling though.

    How soon can you cast on with the cast on?

    Pat

  11. Kris Says:

    Great sympathy–spent last summer in a right *ankle* cast, unable to drive. As for the knitting, how about teaching yourself to use a knitting “stick”, that sits in your belt, then you can still throw the stitches? Maybe not at your usual lightning speed, but at least you can still knit a bit? When I badly damaged a couple fingers one year, I gradually taught myself to use the cast materials as tensioning, and knit on. Not fast, not complicated stitches, but knit. I completely sympathize with the frustration!
    May your wrist “knit” quickly and well–before the end of the summer, so you can continue your wonderful life!

  12. Cheryl Waters Says:

    Oh, my, broken arms and wrists are no fun. My boys hated having to help me with my bra if I was going somewhere.

    Note: knitting needles can be great for scratching inside a cast. And if you really need to knit something other than your bones, you can do simple things by sticking one of the needles in your cast and knitting very slowly. My brother, the orthopedic surgeon, says knitting is excellent exercise for broken wrists. Though I think he has alternative motives since he loves handknit wash clothes – something easy to knit while your bones are knitting.

  13. Susan Entmacher Says:

    Oh Lucy, so sorry to hear this. You are absolutely entitled to wallow in self pity for as long as you like. After that, remember how lucky we are that the body heals itself. I broke my hand a number of years ago. I wasn’t so much of a knitter then but dedicated violinist. It’s quite amazing the range of things one can’t do with one hand (easily). Eventually learned to wash my hair. Had to exchange my stick shift car with my father’s automatic (He always thought I was crazy for wanting to drive a stick anyway) And when the cast came off, violin turned out to be better therapy than any of the recommended exercises. I suspect knitting will be the same. Heal quickly. Sending good vibes your way and thinking of you.

  14. Beverley Says:

    My grandson was very upset when he broke his wrist recently as well. However once he got over the worst if the pain it was surprising what he could do just had to do differently. He plays guitar and found that by lying it on his knee he was able to manage . So give it time then be creative. Depending on how u knit u may be able to do a form of Shetland with right needle held with left doing most of the work. You may learn something different to teach us!! Experiment :))) only after a bit if time tho, don’t want to effect the healing. Also a broken wrist doesnt stop u walking and enjoying the sun ! ( have to wait for pain to ease tho ) sending healing thoughts ur way , don’t know how I would cope if it was me !!

  15. Nancy Says:

    I hope your bones knit quickly–it just isn’t fun to be inconvienced–maybe you can use the “break” to dream up more of your wonderful patterns.loving -healing thoughts to you. Nancy

  16. Marietta Says:

    I’ve actually broken both wrists at different times. You’ll find that you can do many things with your cast on (another knitting reference?) once the initial pain & soreness abate. As for kayaking (or bathing for that matter), get some airtight plastic bags & some cast off (bound off?) yarn to tie it on above your cast & go forth! Good luck. Find ways to use this to your advantage. Rest, read, relax & enjoy!
    Marietta, in central GA, US – – where it’s hotter than, well-you know

  17. joan dyer Says:

    Just saw the break news … that sucks. Be careful not to do anything that pushes your hand out of position while it’s healing (I did … and going to hospital to get an arm rebroken to fix the way it set; a very bizarre and unwelcome thing). Typing works, reading works, and lots of walking … hope the healing time goes by quickly and productively !

  18. ElizabethD Says:

    There is no good time for this to happen – so sorry! I predict that you will have figured out a way to knit within the next week.

  19. Paula Says:

    Oh no! I hope your bones knit quickly. Leave the bras hooked up and you can probably manage if you have to.

  20. Karen Shannon Says:

    I have been trying not to say this but I second Joan’s comment. Don’t do anything with your broken arm that your Doctor doesn’t say is OK. My husband had to have his rebroken and reset, probably because he thought the cast would protect the break while he lifted things. Also, you deserve to complain as much as you want! This is rotten luck and you have a right to be sad. You have had an injury and more than your wrist needs to mend. It will seem like a long time but really, it isn’t. Can you paint wallpaper designs one handed? I’ll be worrying about you, Take Care, Karen

  21. Julie Law Says:

    I am sooo sorry. Perhaps you will be able to read the books that haven’t been on the priority list and finish some unpleasant tasks that were also at the bottom of the list when you could knit. This too will pass, even if you can’t “knit on with hope and confidence” for a short while.

  22. kate Says:

    Get someone to pre-do-up your bras on the correct hook – then you will be able to wiggle into them if needed!
    And (shock and horror) crochet might be easier 1-handed than knitting!

  23. Pamela Cornutt Says:

    Oh No!! You SHOULD feel mad/sad for a while; but then I bet your naturally sunny disposition will take over and the time will pass. Happy Healing!!

  24. Lenora Says:

    Aw. Poor baby. Your bones are knitting and right now that is enough work for anyone. Take a few days more to enjoy a good pity party. It is OK. Then have someone draw a ‘happy stitch’ on the cast and get on with getting on.

  25. Paula Says:

    When your plaster comes off, this is a really good pain relief (good for sprains and sunburn too!) Place one cup coconut oil & one cup torn comfrey (symphytum officianale) leaves in a heavy based saucepan (or a double boiler) on a very slow simmer until the coloue is out of the leaves. Cool & strain (I let my Bamix loose on it when it’s cool). Citrus essential oils are good to add too (white grapefruit, sweet orange are my favorites).

  26. mk Says:

    Sorry about your mishap…Hope you mend quickly!

  27. Julia H Says:

    Lucy, so very sorry to hear about your mishap. Icing on the cake that it happened 20 yards from the end of your ride; life can be perverse. A broken anything is a major PITA, as I remember from when I wrecked my ankle years ago; everything took much extra effort and thought. But one gets used to it, and the time passes, and you are so creative, I can’t wait to hear the ways you come up with to deal with the inconveniences 🙂 Best wishes for swift healing, and as others have said, be gentle with that arm until you are given the okay to do things with it.

  28. Judy Says:

    My sincerest sympathy. Been there, done that. Had to get back on the computer immediately so learned to use the mouse left-handed. Once the cast is off, do all the PT ordered and more. It’s not fun, but the end results are definitely worth it. Best wishes.

  29. Candace Says:

    Hi Lucy, dont usually comment but thought I could add a few suggestions ; as far as exercise is concerned – how about dancing, tai chi, hoola-hooping, mini trampoline (dont need to bounce too high and is good for lymphatics) and of course as others have mentioned walking and putting your bike on a stand. Also just visualizing your hand/wrist moving in usual ways helps restore the neural connections. And as another person commented – brighten up your cast with some colour – maybe use a handknit sock or wrist warmer! Happy healing!

  30. Pat Says:

    Really sorry about your broken arm, Lucy. Murphy (Murphy’s Law) has a habit of sticking his nose in where it doesn’t belong. Hope you will heal quickly and that it won’t be long before you are back to your regular “things you like to do”. Take care.

  31. Kim Says:

    At least it didn’t happen at the farthest point of your ride.

    On the bright side, when you’re finally out of the cast, knitting will probably be decent physiotherapy, and you’ll be way more motivated to knit than to do the exercises, whatever they turn out to be. “Writing” the alphabet with my toes, foot immersed in alternating hot and cold baths, after getting out of the ankle cast, was not all that pleasant. It wasn’t the movement, so much as the dramatic and abrupt temperature swings. As long as they don’t order you to knit underwater…

  32. Laurie Says:

    Lucy, so sorry to hear this. Sending lots of thoughts and wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

  33. This is sort of collective reply! Thank you all for your wishes, thoughts and suggestions. After a good day of wallowing i’m doing pretty well now. i’ll write another blog this week on my progress and my new thoughts!

  34. Lori Roemer Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your injury, and hope you heal quickly! Reading your list ofto be missed activities made me feel slothful… I clearly have to get moving and have more fun outside!

  35. Hester Sturrock Says:

    Oh Lucy, so sorry you broke your wrist. As an ex-OTR (Occupational Therapist) – one of the things I remember the most is correct hand positioning (as someone mentioned previously). Even when the pain has abated a bit, don’t try to do too much. And even when the cast comes off, you might talk to your Dr. about a brace or something like that to wear at night for a while to keep you hand in the correct position while you are sleeping. What a thing to happen to a knitter!!! Ouch – Best – Hester from Atlanta

  36. Of course, Lucy, like everyone else, I am so very sorry that you broke your wrist and have to live with enforced lack of activity for a while. But I have to admit that what excited me about your post is that you will have the chance to be with the inimitable Gwen Marston in Traverse City in September. Have a super time – you will love being around her, as she will with you. Happy mending! At least you aren’t sporting an external fixator – a jungle-gym screwed into your arm.

    Irene On-The-Road


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