Bone Art

My sister has a very good friend who is a psychiatrist by training but an amazing photographer on the side. Because he does graphic abstracts and alterations of photographs, I sent him the x-rays of my broken arm (see my post on January 31) with the challenge to make them into “something beautiful”.

Here are his results:

Kieth image 1

Kieth image 3

Kieth image 4

Kieth image 5

Kieth image 6

Kieth image 7

Kieth image 8

Kieth image 9

Keith image 10

All I can say is WOW. Who knew something so painful could be the inspiration for such beauty?

By the time you read this, I should be in a blissful drug-induced stupor and my humerus will no longer be suitable for imaginative art.


From Bad to Worse

Being the avid knitter that I am, I cannot come to grips with the fact that my broken bones are not knitting together on their own. Here’s the x-ray that was taken in the hospital December 25, which shows three breaks–one that goes completely across the bone along with displacement, and a spiral break on the upper segment along with a splinter towards the bottom of the upper piece.

xray Dec 25

Two doctors agreed that I could get by without surgery if I work a splint for two weeks, followed by a compression brace that would hold the pieces together. It seemed like a fine idea to me.

But the x-ray taken three weeks later (Jan 15) showed that the two main pieces had moved. If you’re queasy, don’t scroll down.

xray Jan 15

The doctor adjusted the compression brace and told me to come back in two more weeks (Jan 29) for another x-ray.

xray Jan 29

Sadly, there’s not much improvement and the swelling in my forearm and hand won’t go away. A friend mentioned that the bones looked like two crossed knitting needles (I guess the problem is that there’s no yarn for them to knit with).

I’m scheduled for surgery next Thursday (Feb 5) unless there is a cancellation before then. I’ve never had surgery but I have to admit that I’m looking forward to this one. All along I’ve been able to feel the bones grind against one another and I’m taking far more pain pills and muscle relaxers than I’d like.

Positive healing thoughts are much appreciated.

I’m Trying

Thanks for all the good wishes for a speedy recovery. Tomorrow I get another x-ray to see if the bone is properly aligned and is “knitting” back together. I love that they refer to bones as “knitting” and I’ve assumed that my case should be exceptionally quick, given the amount of knitting I’ve done throughout my life.

But, in terms of knitting with yarn, things aren’t going so well for me. A few days after I got the compression brace, I cast on some stitches to give it a go. I didn’t have much trouble casting on, but when it came to actually knitting those stitches, each one took serious effort–my left hand just didn’t want to cooperate with tensioning the yarn. I took a photo after knitting a couple of stitches, then took some pain meds and went to bed.

first row cast on

I’m sure that part of the problem is that my left hand has been so swollen. I think you need knuckles to knit. Fortunately, the swelling has gone down a bit.

swollen hand

After four weeks, I’ve managed several rows of garter stitch, followed by a couple of inches of stockinette. I then joined the stitches to see if I could knit in rounds. I can do it, but it’s slow and arduous. I even tried a few rows tensioning the yarn in my right hand (throwing, English style), without any better luck.

total knitting after 4 weeks

I have great compassion for new knitters!

A New Brace

There have been some amazing advances in medicine and I’m glad to be the recipient. I got rid of the enormous splint on my left arm and now have a brace that will allow me to wear “real” clothes. The idea is that I tighten the velcro bands on brace every day to force the bone back into alignment — no plaster cast, minimal time in a sling, and the brace *can* be removed so my arm can be washed.

Ann's brace

The fleshy thing hanging down from the brace is my lower arm, but it sure doesn’t act like it belongs to me. Still, I’ll happy to have the use of my left fingers. I hope that I’ll be able to support my forearm and have my fingers available for knitting. I think I’ll start with a washcloth because I doubt that my tension will be very even — assuming I can manage to obtain tension at all! Besides, I can’t shower so I need lots of washcloths for sponge baths. Sigh.

Beauty and the Beast

Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement–I do appreciate it. And I appreciate the flowers sent by family and friends. They certainly add a lot of beauty to the cold gray days we’ve been having.

ann flowers

This morning I was measured for a smaller cast, which I’ll get next week. In order to measure my arm, the doctor had to remove the upper part of the brace that I’ve been wearing since I fell last week. If you’re quezy, you might not want to scroll down to see the (blurry) photo my husband took of my exposed upper arm. The color would do Shrek proud.

Ann broken arm

Once I get the new brace, I should have full wrist and elbow mobility (within my pain tolerance limits) and I expect to try knitting again.  Until then, I’d love suggestions for good movies to watch. I’d be ever so grateful if you’d respond with titles and a sentence or two about the plot so I can choose according to my mood, which swings with the pain level.

A Memerable Christmas

All three of our boys came home for the holidays, along with two of their girlfriends and my sister. The house has been full of good friends and good cheer.

But there was a little snafu Christmas Eve night when I fell and broke my arm, which landed me in the hospital for two days. I don’t like photos of myself under the best of circumstances, but the one my son took of me Christmas morning is so bad that I don’t think I’ll object to any future photos.

ann in hospital

My left humerus is fractured (and displaced) in a couple of places and I’m looking at six to eight weeks for recovery. I see the doctor again this week and hope to get a smaller cast that will let me use at least the fingers of my left hand. Once that happens, I’ll attempt knitting again. In the meantime, I’m very grateful that it’s my left arm (I’m right handed) and that I have a nice assortment of legal pain killers.

I’ll let you know how one-handed knitting goes.


Managing the Deep Freeze

Like most of the country, we’ve had our share of record-breaking low temperatures. Fortunately, we haven’t lost power and no pipes have frozen (note to self: knock on wood). The sudden shift from mild fall to deep winter (temps dropped 40 degrees in 3 hours Monday morning) caught me somewhat unprepared but very grateful for the number of wool sweaters that I’ve knitted myself in the past years.

my wool sweaters

I’m enjoying my morning dilemma over which one to wear.

I hope you have enough warm woollies to keep you comfortable during these frigid days.


One Front Done

I finished the right front of my Garter Lace Jacket (a remake of the one that’s in Simple Style). It didn’t look so great off the needles, what with the way the lace edging contracted.

right front off needles

But after a soak in the tub and the help of a couple of blocking wires, it looks right nice!

right front blocking

You’ll notice that I use a striped towel when blocking — the color doesn’t always look so great with the knitting but the stripes help me pin and block things square.

Shawl Progress

It’s not often that I simply follow someone else’s pattern, but I sure do enjoy being able to knit and knit without thinking.

I spent part of the Labor Day weekend working on Stephen West’s Daybreak shawl. Here it is, all ready for the final border, which will be all the dark purple color.

Ready for border

I hope to finish it on my flight to Atlanta today (on my way to teach at the Atlanta Knitting Guild this weekend). Although the temps cool off to the 60s in the evenings here in Colorado, I don’t expect I’ll need the shawl while I’m in Georgia. But I’ll have it just in case.

Back Home

After 20 hours in transit, I made it home safely from my trip to Norway. Here are just a few photos — I think these are all from Bergen.

Bergan hillside Bergan park Harbor2

We met my mother’s relatives (they share a great grandfather), who are living in the same houses that there great grandfather and grandfather lived in. Can you imagine?

We also saw beautiful scenery, visited historic sites, ate plenty of fish, and walked miles every day. Surprisingly, I only stopped in one yarn shop but didn’t buy any yarn. At the time I worried about the exchange rate (things cost about 3 times as much in Norway as they do in the States) and lugging it home. I’m kicking myself now, but it’s not as if I don’t have plenty of yarn on hand already.

An hour after we got home we discovered that the sewer had (and still was) backing up in the basement. A friend of mine has accused me of having the “Budd travel curse” because I seem to be a magnet for bad luck when it comes to traveling. I was feeling smug that we got through this trip without a problem. Oh, well.