Monday, October 21, 2013

A Return to Life

It has been over three months since I have assembled my words and my images into a blog post.  I have been on a break, a break that I didn’t see coming.
This watercolor was painted by me the day before my break began.  It needs some corrections.  The perspective between the books and the vase is all wrong; I also tried to do a wash, which failed,  I wasn’t happy with it, but with all it’s faults, the piece was an improvement for me, for sure, and I planned to do the reworks over the 4th of July holiday.
I never did.  I fell on a slippery porch; and my right elbow and wrist were broken. 
None of us are immune to struggles, some are mighty and profound, some are the ordinary everyday trappings of life.  But I’ll tell you this, as painful as it is at times, I am thankful for my bumpy journey and the lessons of life that I have gathered on the way. This post isn’t the story of a broken arm, although the tedious details are in here (sorry); but this is the telling of the journey of repair to a broken heart and a broken spirit.
As soon as my feet left the porch, I knew there would be trouble when I landed. We had just arrived at our home in Tennessee, it was early evening and raining.  I decided to get one more item from our truck and was hurrying when the disastrous combination of a slippery porch and slick bottom Toms shoes launched me into the air. When I hit the ground, I felt my elbow crunch and knew that I was hurt.  I would not like for this to get around, but I am not good with pain. Actually, I am a sizable wimp!  My poor husband was loving and heartbroken and kind.  He’s a good man.  If you want to see a picture of love, examine my x-rays because behind my arm, if you look real close, you can see the image of a man who is holding his wife and with every whimper, he is praying for her.  In the waiting area, before seeing the Doctor, he took my hand and said let’s pray. And, we did.
We were told that surgery was necessary and should be postponed until the next week because of swelling.  I was then sedated so that the bones could be manipulated into place.  Logistically it was going to be hard to arrange the post surgery care that I would need in Tennessee, so it was decided that I would fly home to Florida. At home, I first met with an orthopedic surgeon who is a family friend.  He looked at my x-rays, then told me he had concerns about the severity of my injury.  I had been told that my elbow and wrist were fractured and surgery would be needed on the elbow only, but it was never described as severe.  He referred me to a surgeon in town who specialized in complex fractures to the elbow and decided that a CT scan should be done.
My daughter in law, Amanda, was with me when the CT scan was ready to be viewed by the orthopedic specialist.  Standing next to the monitor, I sensed an uneasiness come over the Doctor as he started the animated video.  His voice became strained, maybe even high pitched.  I started to hear warnings about debilitation and impairment, advising us that we had one chance.  Wait, one chance for what?  That’s when the room started spinning with every turn of the shattered likeness of my elbow on the screen.  As he counted the breaks, he went on describing the damage and the devastation to me, to my arm, to my right arm.  My head was woozy and my knees collapsed and I had to find a chair.
I think it was at that moment that the door burst open and a strangely familiar man exploded into the room.  The bony stranger had hair that appeared greasy and clothes that were dirty and unkempt.  He glared at me as he walked my way and accompanying his glare was a spiteful grin.  He was ugly.  I crouched down in my chair as he snaked his way to where I sat;  helplessly, I remained there as he lowered his foul mouth to my ear.  He spoke, and with his hot breath assaulting me, he sneered “my name is fear”.
The memories I have of the rest of that day are few, but I do know that fear was with me. 
Referred by the orthopedic specialist in Winter Haven, the next morning my sister Pam drove me to see a “superstar surgeon” in Tampa.  He was my one chance. Pam and I were listening to the surgeon explain the procedure, when I raised my head and boldly proclaimed to the Doctor that I am an artist, so when this is over, I will be able to use my hand, right?  I wasn’t even looking at fear who was very rudely stretched out in the corner of the room. I wanted the Doctor to kick him in the teeth and throw him out of the room.  Instead, he looked at me and without emotion informed me that he operates on engineers, athletes, people who use their hands; and that he would give me the same care that he gave to them. But, he continued, sometimes people have to reinvent themselves.
So, there it was.  Reinvent myself, Ha, I’ve done that before. Here we go again.  The economy had snatched our business from us, I thought.  And now that I had time and dreams of new creative goals, writing, drawing, painting, photography, all of these were going to be taken from me too. I am right handed, these things cannot be done without my right hand.  I was weak and cynical; and fear, repulsive and loathsome fear, was my companion.


  1. So glad to know this will have a happy ending as I see now you're back to painting! Hooray! Praising God. I look forward to seeing many more of your works.

    1. Renee, Thank you for your sharing your sweet comments. I love your art and your dedication to painting everyday.

  2. I love you Teresa and I am glad you had your faith, family and friends. Love you, Beth

  3. Love it, so glad you are back blogging! I am your biggest fan. You continue to amaze me and inspire me, and one day maybe I will figure out what I want to be when I grow up! This is just a testament that we are all a work in progress as the great potter shapes and molds us. Have faith and trust in him!
    Love you! Bonnie

    1. Thank you Bonnie, just be you! You are a masterpiece!