One does not really stop to think about just how important the full functionality of our limbs is to doing some of the basic things in life, not to mention how it affects your ability to accessorize. I am very blessed that I still have my right arm (thanks to my sister and brother. The hospital wanted to amputate … as it was not life threatening my siblings would not authorize it). The extensive damage to the forearm and elbow has been dealt with metal plates and screws and an artificial elbow (see image) respectively. The pronation and supatation (turning back and forth) could not be restored in my right wrist/arm without further nerve damage, so I no longer have this movement ability.
My right arm was in a hand shake position for almost 1 ½ years, before the destroyed elbow was replaced. During that time, I was not able to touch my face, head, eat with my right hand and sleeping required my arm to stick up (lots of pillows to support it). Any movement with the right arm was actually a shoulder movement. Since the replacement, I now can hold my arm at my side (not fully) and although I do not have full flexion, it does have some bend. The arm gets tired easily and is in constant varying degrees of pain. Washing and styling my own hair is no longer an option (I have natural curly hair and it requires a lot of maintenance to keep styled); tying scarves, putting on small earrings and necklace clasps, and sometimes buttoning shirts, some personal grooming things, etc. now require assistance.
The biggest challenge is to not over do it with the right arm – no more than 5 lbs should be carried with right arm (Dr. A – would rather I keep it at 2 lb limit) –Do you understand what 5 lbs really is, let alone 2 lbs? I invite you to weigh your purse – you’ll be surprised.
Large LV, Prada, and Gucci bags are now mainly used to hold scarves and as display props in my closet. When I do pull them out – somehow no matter what (little)I put in them the shoulder strap puts tension on my shoulder and neck; and the hand held weigh my arm down causing increased pain and throbbing from my shoulder to my fingers on my right arm. I have learned to make friends with wristlets and am working on learning to like across the chest pouches.
Next to the hand bags all lined up on shelves tempting me to just slip them on, taunting me –“Those pants, dress etc. would look much better if I completed the look, instead of those flat, what kind of heel is that you have just slipped on? Remember how sleek I made your legs, not to mention the extra lift I gave your behind.” Yes, heels speak! … sit my Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana , Versace and Manolo heels. Most of the time I am able to ignore their taunts, but when I give in - I pay the price for the next few days, with severe pain from my right ankle (pins and screws hold it together) right up to my neck. Gone are the days when I would put on a pair of high heels in the morning and not take them off until the wee hours of the evening, without a second thought. Now, where I’m going, how long I will be out take some priority over fashion. Thank the Shoe Gods for some fashionable wedgies and flats – but there really is no replacement for the confidence and lift a beautiful heel gives, especially when you are 5’2”.