Friday, December 13, 2013

Many Hands Make My Shoulder Work

I’m sure most of you have read how I separated my shoulder on a Saturday in October after flying over the handlebars of my bike. After eight weeks of physical therapy, I am nearly back to full mobility. None of that could have happened without all these people!

I just so happened to make this graceful display in front of one of my students. He ran into his house saying, “Ms. Simon just flew off her bike! His mom responded, worried, “Well, go help her!”  He did. While he helped me off the ground, his dad got my bike off the road and asked what I needed. Feeling the wonky bone sticking out of my shoulder, I told him to call the nurse-on-call. Inside, my student's mom gave me frozen bananas for icing said shoulder, a granola bar, ibuprofen and the nurse on the phone. His sisters helped by asking lots of distracting questions.


The nurse-on-call happened to be a friend of both of us. Aunt Jody, as they call her, came and picked me up in the ambulance. She warmed up the x-ray machine, took the x-rays, called the doctor-on-call, and kept me distracted from the pain. Her husband helped too by walking me home.* 

I went home with a sling.
Now it was up to my roommate to do everything I couldn’t with one arm. 
 She’s been the biggest help!

Monday I completely forgot I had recess duty and was utterly exhausted anyway. I slept in the reading area of my classroom while my students were at recess and Music class. This teachers' aide took my daily recess duty that day and for the rest of the week. That meant a lot.

The principal and I at Carnival a few weeks later

Tuesday morning the Occupational Therapist** called me at school and asked to see me. I up and left my class. The principal and another teacher covered for me while I was gone.

Rachel, the OT, posing during Friday Lunch Recess after 6 weeks of helping me.

 She told me it was time for passive exercises 2-3 times a day. This is the embarrassing act of doing nothing while someone else moves your arm so you don’t get a “frozen shoulder.” Below: Meet the team who did this for three weeks, one person in the morning, one in the afternoon, and my roommate before bed.


Unexpectedly, I got a package from my mom that Tuesday. Phew, that made a world of difference. A friend drove me to and from the post office because I couldn’t carry it.

This wonderful co-teacher made my day when she brought me flossing picks (that’s right, can’t floss one-handed) and a pin that says, “I do all my own stunts” 

This dear friend*** cut my hair so that it wouldn’t be so hard to wash-one handed.

Below are all the moms who are teacher that subbed- in for me while I went to Physical Therapy for an hour each week.

This isn’t even an exhaustive list. Every day people helped me at market, at the store, at the post office, at events, and at home. Most helpful of all were my empathetic students. They got supplies from the tubs for science, demonstrated what I couldn’t, carried the projector, lifted books, and drew on the board when I needed to sit down from being tired.

My wonderful students. This day they're comparing the brightness of two different-sized stars.

I love helping people, but I find letting people help me is difficult. However, by the end of six weeks, I was getting pretty good at it. Thanks to God for His gifts of patience and humility. And thank you for praying with me through this time.

*This couple and I did Uka-orientation together. Also we are both from WI, making all of us awesome! We were already good friends, but this experience bonded us even more. They had me over for dinner a week later too.

**The Occupational Therapist liked to point out each week how her skills were different than a Physical Therapist. She did a great job doing research and helping me through the process of recovery! There is no way I could be functioning without her!

***I met this dear friend during training in Dallas in 2012. She and her husband have been watching out for me ever since. Her kids call me Auntie Em, and they are my Uka-nieces.

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