lessons from my broken arm

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I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago.  I am publishing it now, two months to the day after the break, and I am happy to report that each day, I am growing stronger and some of the below is not my current state.  I am now allowed to hold up to 5 pounds, I can grasp things in my left hand easier, I am starting to type with my hand, I am less swollen so I can do more housework, and I am almost to doing my own ponytail or being able to feed myself with my left hand.  All baby steps, but I am so glad that I am getting stronger.

You can read more: 85 things I’m thankful for {after breaking my arm} and Mercies anew: amidst deployment, death, and a broken arm.


I have learned patience {and gratitude}.

I am dependent upon others for everything. I can’t put my hair in a ponytail. Or wash the dishes. I am helpless. But, gasp to admit, I am annoyed that my husband doesn’t do things like I do it.

Where’s the butter? You didn’t put it in the right spot!

You bought this brand of frozen hashbrowns?! The nerve!?

And you put all my clothes away — but where’s my favorite shirt? It’s not in the middle drawer!

All things I have horridly said. I am completely dependent upon him and it kills me. I hate needing him — or anyone when they are here. Because I can’t do it. I can’t physically change my daughter’s diaper and that kills me. But God is teaching me gratefulness. How amazing to have a husband who cleans the dishes every night? Or has changed every poopy diaper for more than a month? Thank you, thank you. No, you don’t do things as “quickly” as I do, but you do them, and you do them very well. Thank you.


I have learned to be thankful for the small things.

Now that I can’t physically wash the dishes or clean the baseboards or vacuum the ceilings — I want to do them. It was my privilege. Not only that I was well enough and strong enough and able enough. But that I have a home. It should be clean. I should cherish my home and treat it with respect. Now that I can’t — I long for the day that I can. I don’t want to be lazy. I want to be purposeful and thankful.


I have learned to slow down.

I was running in my kitchen and I tripped and broke my elbow. I was running. Hurrying. Because I HAD to get to my son’s room fast, didn’t I? That was how I did things!? My husband will be home in 20 minutes!? Well, crazy mama comes out and I can clean the dishes, pick up the floors, maybe vaccuum and start the dinner in those 20 minutes! But don’t get in my way children!!

God has taught me that I must slow down.

Savor life. Savor the moments. Savor my little girl experimenting with eating the little squashes in our Thanksgiving display. Or watch her play in the sink for 10 minutes. Or watch her climb up and down her little chair with a big, glorious smile because she’s so proud of herself. Wait and watch and listen and enjoy. I have had to sit and sit and sit. My arm needs to be elevated and iced oh so often. And it bothers me to not be “doing” things. I want to make more Christmas crafts! I wanted to roast my own turkey this year! But what matters? Slowing down, reading books on the couch with my children, showing and teaching them patience.

This lesson is not to say “slow down, the chores can wait” — that is not it, at least not for my household — because a clean home is my husband’s number one request.  For me, it is don’t rush out of the house. Slow down. Give myself an hour to get ready and enjoy the time watching my daughter try to put her little shoes on or my son trying to zip up his coat oh so carefully. Those are learning and teaching times. Just live.

Now, it is, enjoy. Thankful for my home and the air and the stuffed cow and hippo my son forgot. Thankful and slow.  Check out The Gratitude Challenge at Finding Joy.


I have learned that it’s okay (good, actually) to let my children be bored.

I recently read a post on The Stir Cafe Mom titled 7 Important Skills Kids — being silent was one of them. In this day and age, of Pinterest and mommy competitiveness, we feel the need to occupy our children with the latest and greatest crafts and activities and sensory bins. (Guilty! = me!) And now that I can’t physically do these things with my child, and he has more time to be alone with his blocks or Legos or his matchbox car, I truly see his imagination going wild! He talks on the “phone”, he played with the Little People Schoolbus for an hour this morning, he played with a simple Snowman craft for an hour last night.  He is connecting ribbons around the couch and sticking swords (straws and hammers) in his belt loops.

All I have done are two things: ignored him (because I have to elevate and ice my arm and literally. can’t. play.) and I also don’t let him watch television. I think both of these have been so helpful in his development as a little human. I can send him outside alone for an hour and he’ll sing and talk and play with sticks or trucks on the sandbox for at least an hour. Kids need alone time. Of course, I love love love to do kids activities, as you know! But one little thing a day is all that’s needed for him (and this tired, resting, broken mama).


I have learned about endurance.

Sure I birthed two babies at home.  But that pain was joyful because my babies were coming to greet me.  This pain, it seems, is just for nothing.  It is just to get my arm back. And my progress is so small.  Can I bend it one more degree?  Maybe?

Twice a week, I go to physical therapy for an hour.  And every day, 3 times a day, for 30 minutes or more, I kill myself stretching it.  The progress is slow and oh so painful.  But I have to believe I will get there.  Just like my births, I have to believe I will get my arm back.  And honestly, I feel hopeless.  I need to ask God for strength to just believe I can have my arm back.

So therefore, He is showing me to endure and be strong.  This is hard.


I have learned humility.

I have had to let others help me.  With my kids, with meals, with drying my hair out of the bathroom.  It’s hard to need.

And it’s hard to not feel or look “perfect.”  I feel deformed.  But I am working every day to get my arm back.  And that is another long post of thoughts and prayers for another day….

I’ll let my pictures speak for themselves.  Extension and flexion.

DSC02498 DSC02509

Lessons amidst one of the biggest struggles of my life. Grateful that God is with me every step of the way.

Praying for my arm everyday (it feels almost selfish), so thankful for my health and my children’s health, perspective is everything.

But here I am in all my weaknesses,

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  1. I can’t even imagine how hard this is Amy! Bless your heart! Prayers for continued healing and for you to continue to grow through this experience. (((hugs)))

  2. What a beautiful reminder of how God brings beauty out of our pain! I pray that you continue your healing. I know that rehabilitation can be just as difficult from my husband’s knee surgery. Hugs to you!

  3. I’m praying for complete healing for you! Thanks for sharing this. I needed the reminder to slow down and be thankful for what I can do–including the dishes! ;)

  4. Hi Amy, you can’t imagine how happy I was to read this… Having a very bad day, as it’s been 11 days since I broke my left elbow, & 8 days since the 4 hr surgery, and screws in my elbow!! Today all I’ve done is cry…when I got on and googled what the lessons are in this.. I found your story which has helped me tremendously…I guess today it just really got to me Valentines Day.. Can’t really drive I look terrible every day can’t do your hair….etc you touched on every single thing…. Exactly like me same arm and elbow… So I guess I still have a long road ahead right?? How are you doing?? Thanks for a great story!

    1. Thank you for sharing, Debbie, UGH I’m so sorry to hear that you’re experiencing this — I am 3 1/2 months post-op and doing well. I will never straighten it again but I am at 10degrees extension and 140degrees flexion. I worked on it a least 30minutes 3x a day after about 4 weeks. I was too swollen to do much sooner. I WISH I had worked more on it before 4 weeks, that is my only advice, push it to the brink, don’t feel bad about taking pain meds, move it as much as you can from the beginning. I am still working on it twice a day and making smaller strides, I got to PT 2x a week, where I take string meds so he can crank on it, I hope you have a good PT. My goals are 5degrees and 150 degrees. Please email me any time if you need more support or encouragement. It will get easier. ♥

      1. Hi Amy,

        I hope at this time your arm is healing well and your just about back to normal.. Well I was sitting here thinking about you so I thought I would send this.. I would love to know how you are doing and progress? Today starts the 2nd week of PT. One of the hardest parts of this for me is straightening the arm from last week to today I moved 3 degrees. One of the things they also recommended was a brace where you turn the dial and crank it so much each day… but the therapist thought I wouldn’t need it.. I hope I’m making the right decision.. It s just such a big brace and I thought I would work hard on this therapy?? If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them! Also can you straighten your arm out completely?
        Well… Amy I’m so glad I met you thru this because your first e-mailed helped me a lot!! I do hope your doing well!


        1. Hi, Debby, I had a brace and it helped immensely between about 110 to 130 degrees flexion (I didn’t like it for extension), but come to think of it, I should try it for extension again! If you can get it through your insurance, you should!!! It is absolutely worth it. Not much progress for me. These days are slower, less progress at a time. Gotten to about 6 degrees and 145, but that is in therapy, not regularly. I am less motivated to work on it, but I still know I must every night.

          My shoulder is completely locked out. I can’t move it hardly at all right now. So that is my primary problem right now. (From not moving it for months). MOVE YOUR SHOULDER. Throw a ball at the wall. Lift your arm up with your right arm and move your shoulder every day. If I had, then I wouldn’t be dealing with this now. Blessings.

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