Exercise for the right arm.

At the last physio appointment, I was shown the latest X-ray and it was explained to me.  Bone is still growing, you can see the faint shadow of it as it comes into existence.  I would have to say that my favourite pastime at present is sleeping.  For so many weeks I could not sleep properly because the pain in my arm woke me up every two hours, that now, when I can sleep, I could do it all day.  I can understand why children, who are growing, need to sleep so much.  The S&H, who was a champion sleeper, ended up tall and thin.  I am sleeping all I can but still no taller or thinner, sadly, but I count my blessings, the bone is growing on me.

Unlike the exercises.  This next group are difficult, some impossible.  There is one where I walk my arm up the wall by the fingers.  It’s a lot easier on the bathroom wall where there is that sculpted type of wallpaper, which gives me something to hang on to.  I’m supposed to do ten reps but can only manage three before the arm seizes up.  The one where I grab my right hand with my left hand behind me cannot be done at all and I haven’t even tried the one where I lie on the floor and lift my arm above my head.  Are you kidding?  It’s currently easier to let the remnants of space probe Cassini lie on the surface of Saturn for the under-ice outer-space dolphins to play with than it is for my right arm to rest on the floor above my head.

So I am doing all the others as much as I can.  In one I polish the table with a paper hanky as far as I can reach.  I now have a shiny table, which shows there’s a first for everything.  I have started doing my old one-hour workout in the morning, mostly legs and two days ago I got out in the garden and did some two handed weeding, which was deeply satisfying.

The exercise which I am doing most of, however is of my own devising and being done hours at a time.  I am drawing.

As I cannot miniaturise and it is six months and two weeks to the next Miniatura I have started plotting my novel, a large part of which involves drawing the location and places in the book.  Many of my favourite novels have drawings such as these in them.  A map of the Shire and the location of the Hundred Acre Wood, to name but two.  These are good examples of the author setting the scene in his head.  You need to do this to be authentic.  It’s important to know, if you leave the building and turn sharp right, what you will see.  Will it be someone living in the forest under the name of Wol?  Will it be the lonely beach?  The grey and forbidding Ministry of Nastiness?  You have to know this stuff.

Interestingly if you draw it all out first, in detail, it helps with the plot.  Also with the believability thereof.  It’s a long time since you could kid the audience that three actors carrying branches were Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.  If it isn’t real to the author, it won’t be real to the reader. 

I love doing this.  I have started waking up with ideas again, which hasn’t happened for a long time.  I am using everything I have so far.  All the practice in the drawing sessions, even though I’m not drawing people.  All the knowledge of architecture gleaned from hanging round building sites with my father in the school holidays and all of the dolls’ houses.  All of the history I had to learn for the dolls’ houses.  Also, a battery operated eraser.  If you’ve never used one I highly recommend it; accurate, precise, efficient and it doesn’t hurt your arm.

Which arm, is, of course, working all the time I’m drawing.

Lovely stuff, got to go, pack of thirty tiny tubular erasers to get through.


Still don’t know if I can go,  can’t drive yet, need a lift, cannot find one.  You can go though, www.miniatura.co.uk

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Staying in touch.

About time, you might think.  And, also, where have I been?

There are without a doubt phases in the recuperation from a great injury.  There’s initial elation, that you have survived.  Then there’s a ton of debilitating pain.  Then there’s a lump of hope that sticks in your throat.  Then there’s the reality that you are not ever going to be the same again.  Then there’s being very cheerful in the face of reality and so on, until you settle into the new normal.

When I kept saying at the outset that I wouldn’t be able to do Miniatura, there was always the hope that I was exaggerating and I would be perfectly well able to work from morning to night for a few months then get up at five twice and work my socks off till I fell asleep in the chair at nine, no problem.  I now realise that not only could I not do that in a couple of weeks from now, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to do it in the spring six months from now.  I still cannot lift my right arm under its own steam more than a couple of inches.  There is no way I could drive to the NEC, lift the stock into the building, cover the table with a cloth, put up the lights and the stands and place several hundred items by hand at eye level.  I am effectively disabled and simply cannot do it.

It’s very depressing.  On the other hand, (the only working one)  this week’s mystery object.  What is this?


Time’s up.

Yes it’s the knot from the top of my arm where the stitches finish.  It has been driving me nuts, catching on clothing and resisting all attempts to chop it off with scissors.  It finally fell off on its own.

The scars look OK.  Quite thin but sometimes sunken in the middle.

The main reason for not writing, however, is that I was sinking into the slough of despond and decided to get exercising again, other than the physio, which I do for about ten minutes three or four times a day.

First time on my twist stepper for only half an hour and I had to go to bed afterwards.

Yesterday we went to a supermarket in the next town.  The cold through the open car window made me ill, the cold from the chiller cabinets made me worse, I accidentally picked up a shopping bag and carried it into the house with the bad arm, force of habit, and generally needed painkillers and to sit doing absolutely zero for several hours after the trip.

I’m off to the physio again today.  I need to ask if the bone is healing, what else I can do to get mobile and why oh why oh why does my blinking thumb hurt so much and why does lifting it with the other hand help?

But getting moving is helping with my mood.  No pain, no gain.  (If you have none be so happy.)


Will I be well enough to even visit?  Details at www.miniatura.co.uk

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It’s not like me to be assailed by the miseries.  The cat woke me up at six, after I’d let her out I retreated to bed with a cup of tea and sat leaky eyed for an hour and then made another cup of tea and did it again.

This is not like me.  I saw the surgeon yesterday for the six week post surgery visit.  The took ages in X-ray and then wouldn’t show me the results, so naturally, I’m thinking the bone hasn’t healed properly.  The surgeon showed me the X-rays from before the surgery and then showed me the two week X-Rays and said that was what it was like now.  Why didn’t he show me the new ones?  What is wrong and why can’t I still lift my arm further than a couple of inches?

I hope you’re not in the middle of breakfast, here’s the before shot

shoulder 1

and this

shoulder 2

well that explains why it hurt so much.  I was wrong about the screws, there are five screws and one rod.  The other screw goes down through the top of all the bones into the rod.

Am I miserable because I have seen the full extent of the damage and the surgeon says it’ll take six months?  He didn’t say what would take six months.  Am I miserable because I’ve been in pain since July 8th?

Am I miserable because I ought to be getting ready for Miniatura and I won’t even be well enough to go as a visitor?

Am I miserable because I can use the computer mouse with my right hand but only if I lift it into place with my left hand and it hurts?

Am I just a big fat misery?

I should be glad to be alive.  A hundred years ago I wouldn’t have survived this.  Two hundred years ago I’d have been a beggar in rags with no teeth, grey straggly hair, a rampant moustache (also grey), a broken arm and endless pain and then dead in a puddle.  Four hundred years ago I’d probably have all of that and then burned at the stake for being a witch when I got up to let the cat out.  In many places in the world today I would now be looking at a massive hike in my medical insurance.

Why am I not grateful and happy and cheerful?

And we’ve got wasps in the loft.  I bet you thought this summer was such rubbish there were no wasps.

There are. They’re in our loft.  I’ll have to get pest people in.  If the OH deals with it and gets stung I can’t drive him to hospital while he swells.  I can’t drive anywhere.  Instead the OH is having a lovely time dashing round in my car doing shopping that I have to think of in a moment before his patience runs out.  We have vast stocks of canned beer and salted peanuts but no actual food.

I’m malnourished and fat.

I know.  I’ll count my blessings.

Finished.  (It was long fingernails on one hand, did you guess?)

Oh I am fed up.


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Nailed it.

I know blogs are various and frequently self-obsessed, well you know logs…………….

Captain’s log 2, 3 four and a half.  I am absolutely sure Ensign Doe Eyes has a crush on me.  Every time I expound my theories of the universe to her in the lift, she sighs and rolls her eyes.  Yesterday when I was explaining the Crab Nebula to her, she was yawning uncontrollably, a sure sign of overwhelming desire to those of us highly trained in the significance of body language.  I am of course, because of the course at Asteroid Academy, which I designed.  I am also the only human who passed the Kobyashi Who Who test, which is impossible to pass, I simply stepped out of the testing booth and strangled the examiner.  That showed them.  I must get more mirrors installed in this lift, though none on the ceiling in case my heroically thinning scalp where my huge brain is growing through my impressively parting hair, is in any way highlighted.  It amazes me that all this time I have been talking and thinking about two different things.  I wish I were Ensign Doe Eyes so I could listen to me.  She stares at her feet, poor creature, overwhelmed by my sheer physical presence and sometimes, when I throw out a particularly apt comment, laughs in sheer delight.’

However the blog about my fingernails, which I hope the chaps at SETI are picking up and beaming out to the universe is this: although I have now filed the dangerous nails down, I took pictures first thing this morning.


Here are the nails of my left hand, same as ever, not much different to the way they were this time last week.



here is my right hand this morning.  Yes, I know, the little fingernail alone could have its own blog or show on Broadway or possible even a live UTube feed where we can all watch it grow.


It’s growing out of the nail varnish, unlike the table underneath which could really do with some.  Anyway, it stands as a tribute to the incredible human body.

I saw my neighbour, the surgeon of bones yesterday, in a neighbourly capacity but he said the nails and skin were healing differently to the bones.  What made the break so bad was the the bone had delaminated along the shaft and spread out like the ribs of a fan.  The surgeon who did the operation would normally attempt to screw the bits to the inserted rod but in my case he has lassoed the thin feathery bits with stitches.  They will take another Xray in a couple of weeks and see what has happened.

If you were ever tempted to starve yourself please don’t, it was done to me and this is the upshot.  We do not need to be thin and tall and weak, like seedlings grown in a cupboard, we need to be strong and confident, like the captain.

Hello Ambassador Splot.  This is the first time humans and Flupiterians have met, so naturally they have sent me to be the ambassador from Earth.  I am similar to many of my species, though not typical.  Better.  I have nicer hair.  I see you are looking at what they call my face.  It’s lovely, isn’t it?’

Snar loij felt smale’

I have no idea what you are saying as the universal translator is jammed.  I got hairspray on it which is someone else’s fault.  I’m quite sure you are licking your lips in what I take to be admiration.  Yes you are because now you are licking me.  I am quite irresistible aren’t I?’


Even though you obviously adore me, and why not, I think sucking my fingers like that is a little overdone, good gracious, up to the elbow, oh wait a’

This is the last entry in the log of this particular captain.  The electronic log book was found by Voyager, hurtling through space having apparently been spat out by a black hole.

Somewhere between not being very confident at all and giving the captain the finger is the ideal place to be.


If you can do that you’ve got it nailed.


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Phasers set to grow.

The last couple of days have been less than wonderful.  I have been utterly exhausted, I think I finally ran out of adrenaline.

The physio visits, appointments and check-ups have been at the rate of two a week, which doesn’t sound much if everything is working but very tiring when it takes half an hour just to get dressed.  I haven’t worn my usual clothes since the accident, I am living in stretchy waistband old lady clothing because if you haven’t got a working right hand there is no way you can do your jeans up.  Today I dried my own right hip with my right hand, cautiously, for the first time in four and a half weeks.  Ooh dry!  Well it was on the third go.  Early on I sent for front fastening bras but have had the problem of being lop-sided.  Like the gentleman from Devises, I have them in different sizes, one is normal and fits the receptacle but the other is big and would win prizes if I wasn’t too busy stuffing it back in again to exhibit it.  I asked at physio and, apparently, it is acting as a drain for the lymph nodes.  The bruising has gone but my body is still cleaning up the detritus inside. Out side I have two scars on my arm, one two inches long, another going right up on to my shoulder is four inches long.

On Tuesday I went for a bone density scan.  If I have got osteoporosis, which seems a possibility given the way everyone keeps telling me it’s the worst break they’ve ever seen, there are a few treatments that can be offered, though the easier oral ones are ruled out because I have Barrett’s oesophagus.  I think the crumbling bones are a result of my mother starving me when I was a teenager, though I was also an unwanted foetus, which doesn’t give you the best start in life.

My body, meanwhile, is taking matters into it’s own hands, as it were.  I seem to be set to ‘grow’  I first noticed it with my fingernails.  Like many people as I have aged these have been of the ‘tear along the dotted line’ variety.  But I noticed they were growing last week.


Here are the fingernails of my left hand, on the unbroken-this-time arm, a week ago.


Here are the fingers of my right hand and the nails on the same day.


My right hand two days ago.


My right hand today.  I can practically hear them growing.  The left hand is exactly as it was in the first photo.  Not only has my brain set my fingernails to grow, it knows which hand to do it on.  How amazing is that?

The lady in physio says the bones will grow for another six weeks or so and then take over from the nail and screws which will still be in my bones but not doing anything.  Naturally I have a fervent hope that I may grow a little taller because when I went for the bone scan I was measured and seem to have lost two inches recently.

Also my hair is growing very fast.  I now have long hair, another thing I never really had, it used to get to my shoulders and give up.  The OH refused to cut it, so I did the top where it was falling into my eyes.  It took about three quarters of an hour and I would have to say was a labour of desperation.  Whilst not wanting to do the otherly abled out of a job, quite honestly if you rack up to the hairdresser wishing for a haircut and find they are uni manual I would strongly recommend you go elsewhere.  A mere three quarters of an hour balancing some curlers nearly in my wet hair gave that helpful tousled look where you can’t tell that random hacking has occurred.

It’s a laugh a minute.  I also found out I could have gone to the doctor for more morphine instead of skimping and saving the last half inch in the bottle for emergencies.  Everyone said I would need the painkillers when I started exercising.  This is true too.

Well I’m off to cut my fingernails before I poke someone’s eyes out with them by mistake, probably my own.  Putting my contacts in is exceptionally hazardous.  If I had the energy to take another photo right now, you could see that the photo I took this morning looks a lot out of date.

Whatever next?  Dunno.  Stay tuned.


Looking at the nail on my little finger tonight, it’s about twice that length now.  But then I have had a day mostly being restful.  My eyelashes are growing too.  And my nose hair.  I may be turning into a gorilla, or possibly a person with one normal arm and one really looooooooooooong arm.

Oh dear, eek eek eek.


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Break 4

As promised, a look at the inside of my arm.


As you can see, apparently I have ribs.  This is not necessarily something you would notice from the out side.  Who knew?  I did at one point have difficulty in hospital when they were scanning my arm for damage to the tendons and nerves.  They got me in the scanner and said: Breathe in and hold your breath and I couldn’t.  So they X-rayed me to see if I’d cracked my ribs but I had not, thankfully, just bruised them, so I did have an inkling that I had ribs and Lo!  there they are.

As you can also see there are now additional extras.  I’m slowly turning into the Terminator: I already have titanium dental implants and now, says the doctor, I am likely to set off the alarms at airports.  Though if such a thing happens it will be way in the future as it takes me two hours just to get up in the morning and by then I’m exhausted and ready to get right back into bed.

Otherwise, perceive!  I am well and truly screwed.  I count four screws and what they call a long nail.  The top of the rod goes right into the ball joint of my shoulder.  It aches all the time.  Then there’s another screw and then the bit where the bits of the bone are pushed together.  Round that join apparently is a net with a lot of smashed bone fragments in it gathered round the nail, then there’s a gap and then two more screws through the solid bit of bone before you get to my elbow.

The two metal items on the first X-ray are bra strap adjusters.  The X-ray technician was quite annoyed with me for wearing them.  But I had taken several doses of morphine to be on the |Internet long enough to find a front fastening bra in my size and wasn’t about to give it up for the thing with no fastenings and molto elastic I wore in hospital that takes two strong nurses and a mashed potato scoop from the canteen to get me into.  It’s quite nice in maturity to be able to get into your own undergarments.  It gives you an illusion of independence.

It looks as if I am osteoporotic.  The hospital have sent a letter for me to go through a bone density scanner in another hospital at some time in the future.  If I prove to be so it is undoubtedly a legacy of my past.  I was not a wanted child and started off in a children’s home.   I think much more damage was done by my adoptive mother when she systematically starved me in my teenage years.  As well as leaving me in the geriatric ward to starve while they went on holiday, twice, she did it all the time at home.  She threw lavish dinner parties for friends, mostly the doctors from the group practice, but Jane was allowed five green beans, one dessert spoon of gravy and meat, two teaspoons of potato and two thirds of a pot of yogurt and every damn thing was weighed until it was put on the plate cold.  They were not the Swinging Sixties for me, they were the Starving Sixties.  To this day I can glance at any plate of food and tell you the calorific value in a moment.  When you starve a teenager you are not making a thin compliant teenager, you are making an osteoporotic old lady, who will be suffering crumbling bones and 24 hour a day pain when you are long gone and not even there to gloat.

Needless to say, if you are doing any of this to yourself, please stop.

People are diverse.  This is a good arrangement so that you can tell us apart.  We come in tall short, wide narrow, fat, thin, busty flat chested, broad shouldered, narrow and geeky, athletic, cerebral, small and bijou, huge and imposing and every skin colour from really black to see-through white.  AND IT’S ALL BEAUTIFUL.

And if you have a child, celebrate what they are, rather than yearning for them to be what they are not.  We need leaders but we also need followers, we need people with every aptitude, ability and physical and mental type there is and we need all of this for the survival of the human race because in our human history it is our diversity which has enabled us to colonise the whole planet and in our future it is this diversity which will take us out into the stars.

As for me I am so glad that some people wish to be surgeons.  I am so glad that some people wish to research which metals you could screw into broken bones.  I am glad they were available to help me and I am so so very very glad of Aneurin Bevan who oversaw the foundation of the National Health Service when he was Minister for health.  I cannot imagine what sort of state I would be in if, for example, I had needed health insurance and been too poor to have it.  Would I have had to live the rest of my life in excruciating pain with a useless arm?  Would it have gone gangrenous and had to be removed?  Earlier in history, no matter how much money I had, probably yes.

If you are alive and well and reading this, the minute you stop go and get a mirror and have a good look, be sure to tell yourself how utterly beautiful you are and how lucky to be alive right here, right now.


There will be Miniaturas in the future and I will be there.

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Break 3

I’ve just had the first follow-up hospital appointment.  I was X-rayed, the bandages were removed and I saw the surgeon’s registrar.  I will not be able to climb ladders again, or put things on high shelves but I will probably be able to do my own hair at some point, which will be a relief to the OH who has been landed with the task, with variable results.

Apparently it’s two weeks since the operation; I thought it was only one.  After one week the OH took this photograph

IMG_0370 (2)

this is the back of my right elbow.

Back to the medical firsts.  Some years ago I landed up in hospital with a fierce dental abscess.  I was on intravenous antibiotics for a week before they would extract the tooth.  Eventually they did and I had a gap.  Some years later the mirror image tooth also got an abscess but by then I had a great dentist, who proposed dental implants.  I kept going with serrapeptase for several months while the implantologist arranged to write me up and present me as a paper at Edinburgh University because I had a couple of firsts:  I was having an implant in an old, healed socket and a new extraction and implant on the other side at the same time, so it was a good comparison, and I was only using serrapeptase as an anti-inflammatory and pain control.  I spent lengthy half hours with my mouth open and full of hardware for the purposes of photography.  For this I got  a substantial reduction in the fees and the knowledge that I was helping other people in the future.  Of course, if it had all gone horribly wrong that would have been a useful hint to the future in a ‘here’s what not to do’ sort of way.  All went well, I love my implants and if someone says: so bite me, I jolly well can.

Back to two weeks ago, when the idiot Jane, full of morphine, assures the anaesthetist that she will not need a ring of injections while she is asleep because, unlike anyone else on the planet, operating in the midst of all the nerves going through the shoulder will not hurt.  Not one little bit, tra la.

So into theatre I walked, accompanied by the surgeon, met all the prep people in the ante room, worried briefly who would come to meet me if I died, was told: this is not the injection that will put you to sleep.

This is the injection that


Next thing I know I’m sitting up covered in blankets except for my shoulder.  I have the anaesthetist on my right side and all the pain of the world crushing me.  It felt like someone had leaned a very large building on me and I thought: Right, now I am going to die and it will be my escape.  Was I making that noise again?  Had my heart rate gone up a lot?  I don’t know.  The anaesthetist said: Stay very still I am going to try something.  Don’t move at all.

On my left side a screen appeared with an X-ray image of my right arm.  Simultaneously the theatre filled with people.  Surgeons in gowns and caps from other theatres, sisters, nurses in plastic aprons.  People.  Crowds of people, watching.  On the screen I could see the needles going in.  I could see the nerves and blood vessels and I could see the needles going within millimetres of the vital places.  The tips of the needles went right up to the vessels and fibres and stopped.  By the third one, so did the pain.

I wished to live again, the anaesthetist finished and the crowd melted away; back through a door with gloves in the air, out of another door, sitting back down.  All vanished and the world returned.

Do you think Pierre Curie ever said to his wife:  My goodness you are looking radiant tonight, dear.  Positively glowing.

I hope he did, I hope he meant it.  Medical firsts are not just things we learn in history.  They have been of such help to me in my life.  I like to think of all the wonderful medical advances that have been made when the news is bad.  When the evening television starts with tales of man’s inhumanity to man, I like to remember the people I have actually met who have been able to further their skill and thought it was worthwhile to do so to help ordinary people such as you and I.  Surely there can be no better thing to do with your life than to help people in their hour of need?

Next time, a look at the hardware.  In my arm.


No Min for me, I cannot lift weight of any kind for weeks and weeks and weeks and they had to cut the tendon to get at the bone.

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break 2

So there I was finally in hospital and with pain relief.   My next door neighbour appeared.  He happens to be a bone surgeon working in the hospital, how handy is that?  He does legs, however, not arms, but he advised me that the break was a very bad one, and he knows I make things all the time, as he has had some of them, so he said to wait as there was only one man in the hospital who was good enough to restore me to my usual dexterity.

So when someone popped up later in the day to prep me for surgery I refused point blank.  Which is how I let myself in for hanging around for most of a week with a very broken arm until the right man was available to stick me back together.  I got through a lot of morphine and a lot of cups of tea.

On Thursday the anaesthetist popped by to discuss pain relief after the operation.  Here’s a rule for life: do not discuss future possible pain when you are chock full of morphine.  You will underestimate it.  Very.  A lot.  Heaps.  I know I did.  The anaesthetist explained that there would be pain because all the nerves go through the shoulder but that it was possible under anaesthetic to surround the shoulder with numbing injections.  This, he said, has only ever been done whilst the patient is unconscious, it cannot be done once the patient is back round again in the land of the living,  Never been done.  Decide now if you would like that he said.  No opined the idiot morphine filled Jane I will not need that, I’ll be fine.

So in the afternoon I took a stroll with a very large nurse to the theatre, right through the hospital, I assume to get my blood flowing.  I told her how I was the third person in the world to see Legionella Pneumophila, which is the item responsible for Legionnaires Disease.  How that happened and how I seem fated to be a bystander in medical history I’ll tell you next time, including how I now understand that there can be so much pain you really can see death as a feasible alternative to going on, going on.


No count, no Min, the world has gone mad.

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Big break one

The surgeon said it was one of the worst he has seen; he is not a young man.  Here, in glorious monochrome, the full story so far and I would like Meryl Streep to play me because boy was there drama.

I was Sunday July 9th, 8.30 am.  I had washed the cats’ bowls and was heading back into the utility room when my leg hit the corner of the recycling box and I began falling.  I have had vivid nightmares of the moment each time I fall asleep.  I put out my right arm to save myself, my knee hit the floor, my arm went on travelling and my shoulder stopped where it was.  The OH still abed, came rushing at the noise, he thought the cats were fighting but the noise was coming out of me.  When I got up the long bone in my upper arm was pointing out but not breaking the skin.  In this condition, I went upstairs, got dressed, got a suitcase, added clothes, came back down and had one of the most stupid conversations ever with the ambulance people who were reluctant to send an ambulance in case someone had a heart attack that morning.  The  conversation included the words:  now just listen to me Jane and stop making that strange noise………..

In the end the OH put me in the car and took me.  At the hospital, he just stopped near A & E and I stumbled in. making the noise.  They knew what it meant, a wheelchair was produced, and a bed and a sling.  I spent the first half hour next to a lady who died but was revived, then I got a cubicle.  I had sips of water and, after two hours, pain relief.  Oh blessed morphine.  Given that I have been a grateful member of Al-Anon for six years, I have frequently stated that I wish all drugs including alcohol be whisked away from the planet and uninvented.  I wish to revise this view; I could not have got through the last two weeks without morphine.  All the nerves from your upper trunk, your clever right arm and all points south go through that shoulder and up your neck to your head so you can get the full benefit of feeling.  All of it.  At the most extreme I experienced the pain as great pressure, as if someone had leaned a heavy building on me.

I am posting this now, I need to stop, I am typing left handed, one finger.  More later.


NO count, no min.

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My big break

Short post.  Broken right humerus, shattered tiny pieced the  top, smashed shoulder.  Living between morphine doses,  May not get all movement back.  Terrible pain.  No Miniatura.

Catch U later.


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