Around the World 2016, Days 9-54

This entry, probably the last about this voyage, which actually ended by the end of day 8, is a sort of debriefing and summary, covering the physical, mental, and emotional fallout from the journey.

As soon as we got home we went to the bathroom, gave the dogs a quick pet, and got in the car to go to the emergency room.  Gail was treated immediately.  She got an Xray as I paid the $75 copay and then was evaluated further by a physician.  He again confirmed that she had a proximal humerus fracture, that it was not laterally displaced, and she should see an orthopedist on Monday.  We left with Gail finally having some serious pain pills and went to breakfast at Denny’s at 400 AM.  Then home to sleep at last after the 24 hours since leaving Aruba.

Our orthopedist had already given us an appointment for Tuesday (he’s in surgery all day Monday), as I had called from the ship.  He said that the main bone was a few degrees off of normal alignment, but not enough to require surgery, and the main bone was “smushed” into the ball part and seemed to be solidly in place.  He said to continue using the sling and come back in a week for another Xray.  The next week, and the week after that, he said the same thing.  After another 3 weeks he said to start occupational therapy on the arm.  Today we went to the appropriate facility at the hospital and she was given training on six exercises to do at home, three times a day each.  Throughout the first several weeks we were very well fed by friends from church and from the SunRiver duplicate bridge club.

About a week after we got home the next artifact of the fall arrived, a front top tooth that fell out. She thought it was just the crown that had come loose, but the tooth was actually broken off.  It was glued once, but that didn’t hold as there wasn’t much left to fasten it to.  So another few weeks later, when her arm felt good enough to think of dealing further with the tooth, she arranged for an implant.  The first part of the implant procedure went well last Thursday, but by Sunday afternoon she was in a great deal of pain, so we called the dentist and got a couple of prescriptions for the swelling and any possible infection (not likely, but just in case). He was actually in church Sunday afternoon, so we particularly thanked him for attending to her need.  We had the dentist double check it this morning and he said the swelling was more than usual, but no infection.  She will get the actual tooth implanted in a couple of months after her mouth totally heals.

So, Gail is physically healing in all respects, and I hope to be.  As many know, last summer I had my spine “cleaned out” of bone spurs that were causing continual pain, but since we planned to leave in January, the doctor wouldn’t put in hardware to support various vertebrae.  We agreed that if need be we could revisit hardware after returning from the trip in July.  Well, I started having pretty continual back pain right after we got home (though totally different from that before surgery) and saw the neurosurgeon yesterday.  He took new Xrays, said yes, there were problems, and ordered MRIs to be done as soon as possible.  I hope to get those in the next week or so and then get another appointment so we can decide what should be done and how soon.  The continual pain really drags me down and limits my mobility, so I’ll be happy to have it fixed as soon as possible, though I know it will be a long and complex recovery.

As we remind ourselves regularly, getting old isn’t for sissies and that every day on this side of the dirt is a good day.  And we do have a good life and are blessed in so many ways.  Although we’ve cried over the loss of this lifetime dream, we were reminded on Saturday morning that our problems were minimal.  One of the couples we got to know before and on the cruise was enjoying the trip when one day at sea he died, presumably of a stroke.  The two are on their way home from Tanzania to Florida.  There but for the Grace of God…..

Meanwhile, we have booked a cruise for next January 4, on Holland America, around the world, but only a 111 day voyage.  We don’t have any money at risk yet, so we’ll see how our plans develop, if they develop.

More blog entries as things happen, but not likely they will be about the cruise that we’re not on.  We’ll continue to follow the blogs of friends who are on it.