Clueless in Palo Alto

The culprit:  Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with two soup spoons and a dinner fork.

Of all the ridiculous accidents.

I have been a model patient in taking care of my right arm to help prevent lymphedema after having the 8 lymph nodes removed:  no vacuuming or weed picking, no heavy lifting, no blood pressure cuffs, no blood draws, no repetitive motions (aside from swimming, which is good, right?), no professional arm wrestling.  I actually think twice before engaging in any even remotely risky everyday activities because I have to baby this dominant limb of mine.  But I didn’t hesitate for a second when emptying the dishwasher this morning.  Aside from the dish running away with the spoon, what can possibly go awry when moving dishware 4 feet or less to its storage location?

See, that’s what I thought, too.  So as usual I emptied the bottom rack and placed the cutlery baskets on the counter while I put the glasses and mugs away, and just as I was almost finished, my right arm journeyed down from the upper cabinet and struck the felonious spoons and fork dead-on with my funny bone.  Only there was absolutely nothing humerus about it. Clutching my stunned elbow and seeking refuge in a fetal position on the kitchen floor, I waited for the familiar but 10-fold intensity of the frenetic neurological messaging from elbow to pinky and ring fingertips to die down.  And waited.  And waited some more.

After about 5 minutes, I dragged myself up, kicked the dishwasher closed, and collapsed into a chair while still cradling my arm.  At Earl’s urging, I called a Kaiser advice nurse and explained the situation.  She asked some pointed questions (you have to love these nurses; I’m sure they get all kinds of crazy medical inquiries day after day but they always mete out helpful and caring advice as if you don’t really sound like a lunatic or hypochondriac) and suggested that I take 2 Ibuprofens and ice the elbow to help prevent swelling (which is bad news if one is trying to avoid lymphedema).

Now a few hours later, the pain has disappeared except when I try to bend my elbow all the way.  Earl was sufficiently worried about me that he insisted we postpone our fun outing to SF with the kids.  We were planning to bring our bikes to Fort Mason, pedal along the Marina, through Chrissy Fields, over to Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, and then return just in time to grab dinner at a large conglomeration of specialty food trucks at Fort Mason.  We’ll try again tomorrow (if anyone wants to join us, shoot me an email), but by then the food trucks will be gone.  Foiled by Colonel Mustard, yet again.

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