Making progress

By the time I’d decided to consult with a dietician, I was firm in my resolve to lose weight. Although I was acutely aware of the fact that my health and nutrition came first, I was also sick and tired of having a cupboard full of clothes that no longer fitted me. In addition to that, after doing some research I realized that losing weight would in itself be beneficial for my health, since fat in the body can store additional amounts of estrogen. For me having hormone receptor positive breast cancer losing weight was not just a matter of feeling more comfortable in my own skin, my health depended on it. All these factors made it easier for me to stick to my diet and exercise regiment. With the help of my back brace I was slowly but surely gaining strength, being able to walk more and more upright as the weeks passed. By the time a month had passed, I was walking quite briskly for 30 minutes at a time. When I went to the hospital for my medication and to see the dietician again, I discovered to my absolute delight that I had managed to lose 3.2kg’s in 4 weeks. Although in the months to come that weight lose would slow down somewhat, I stuck to my guns and continued with my walking and diet plan, steadily gaining strength and shedding the pounds as the months went by.

One evening whilst washing dishes, I picked up a glass and while absent mindedly talking to Jaco I didn’t notice that the glass had quite a sizable chip in the rim of it. With the washing up sponge in my hand I plunged my hand into the glass and in doing so, caught the top of my thumb where the thumb joint meets the hand, on the chip which ripped the skin and flesh open in a c like formation. I remember seeing the skin flapping about and blood spurting all over the place. Jaco immediately started to panic. I was rather surprised by this reaction because he was historically very calm. Not this time however. I was the one that remained calm and asked him to bring me a bunch of paper towels so that I could try to stop the bleeding. No matter what I did the bleeding wouldn’t stop and I knew that it was time to go to the hospital. For me this would be the last resort. I certainly didn’t want to go back to a hospital once again for something as stupid as this. Like I hadn’t spent enough time in them already! Very reluctantly I suggested Jaco go and get the car keys so that he could drive me. Thank goodness he was there otherwise I may have had to go to a next door neighbor and ask them for help because the moment I let up on the pressure, blood would come pouring out again. I already knew at that point that I would for sure need stitches.

In his blind panic, Jaco lost his car keys which meant we had to switch cars and he had to run back inside the house again to get my keys, which he couldn’t find. Shouting and kicking things around, he started to scare the girls who started crying. He eventually saw them hanging in their usual place and, locking the girls in the house ran for the car. By this time the paper towels that I’d been holding against my hand were close to saturated with blood and it was still coming. We screeched off! Luckily the hospital was only a 5 minute drive from where we were. The staff at A&E responded very quickly as soon as they saw us walk through the door and immediately determined that I would indeed need stitches. While waiting for the plastic surgeon to attend to me, I phoned the girls at home to calm them down and reassure them that I was okay. I lay there feeling so foolish…almost like I was wasting everybody’s time. I had done a really stupid and careless thing which was clearly avoidable, yet happened so fast. In the meantime the nurses went about the business of cleaning my would. They doused it with saline solution and disinfectant and proceeded to pull the flap of skin back so that they could clean the inside of the would. I winced and cried out as I clutched onto Jaco’s hand. When the doctor arrived, he gave me a series of injections to numb the area before he started stitching my hand up, which took another 20 minutes. While he was busy I kept on apologizing to Jaco and kept on thinking how unnecessary this all was. As if I haven’t been through enough pain already and to make matters worse, it was my right hand.

We returned home with 15 stitches and a heavy bandage later, wondering how I was going to get things done with a gammy left hand. I was told to return to the hospital regularly to have my wound cleaned and the bandage changed. The stitches would be removed in about 4 weeks time depending on the healing process. We later found Jaco’s car keys between the driver and passenger seat in front.  In the meantime I would have to find a way to get by with one and a half hands.

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