A year ago today, I found myself sitting on the polished floorboards of the King George V Rec Centre tucked underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, clutching at my wrist. We had the last game, 10:30pm or so, and we’d only been playing for a few minutes.
It was still cold — ‘Sydney cold’ — and I had decided to play against the sound advice of my physio who had been treating me for knee and back issues. Little did I know I’d fall awkwardly and end up shattering my wrist in the process, a good enough break to be scheduled for the next available surgery slot.
I broke my wrist in the week leading up to the Brownlow Medal. I was devastated that I wouldn’t be able to participate in the Independent Brownlow Medal Count at work, something I’d loved and revered for years with all the fervour of the newly converted.
But the powers that be relented and I was able to participate. My writing was not up to scratch (even though I’d practiced for hours writing with my left hand), but I was able to help by running to and from the printer. And I appreciated the fuck out of it, just to be a part of it one last time. It was my last hurrah.
The recovery was slow and exceedingly painful. In the weeks following surgery, large sections of my hand were numb, and I was unable to move my thumb for a number of weeks into the schedule of ten weeks intensive, specialised physiotherapy. When I saw the worried look on my physio’s face after my second visit, I let a few tears slide down my cheek. I felt like I’d never recover the use of my right arm. I was defeated.
But my physiotherapist was fantastic. She could see that I was not going to accept my current status, so she gave me extra exercises and rewarded me with praise. Soon, I could touch three of my fingers to my thumb. Then my pinkie to my thumb. And eventually to rotating my wrist like the Queen does when she waves. Just small, incremental improvements eventually led to regaining the function of my wrist and hand.
Now, I’m pretty much back to normal. I am back to learning the cello and being able to do a mean downward dog. The scar (with a slight kink in it) is still a reminder that I have a titanium plate and eight screws in there for the duration of me. But on a deeper level, it’s also there to remind me that hard times may dent and scar your body, but if you persevere, you will triumph. That’s what I’ve decided to take from it.
I shall overcome.
PS: I cannot write this without thanking – albeit belatedly – my family (particularly my sister who drove me to the hospital and worked from my bedside) and the lovely folks at work who were all so helpful and kind to me (especially C). Danke Schoen!