OBX Fishing: Physical Therapy for a Broken Arm

As much as I was shocked and dismayed at the prospect of surgery for my broken arm, I was almost as upset at my post-surgery follow-up when my doctor mentioned "physical therapy." Again my first thoughts were cost, and when I asked if my insurance would cover the P.T., I didn't get a direct answer. Instead my doctor said he could give me some exercises to try at home, and we could see how I was doing at my next visit. Who would have known that fishing from the pier in Rodanthe, North Carolina would prove to be excellent physical (and mental!) therapy?

The first few days, I really tried to do the exercises. But it was depressing. I had to bend my hand forward for three seconds, three sets of ten. Then bend my hand backwards, three sets of ten. Then move my wrist back and forth in a handshake motion, three sets of ten. There's more, but I only made it through one set of the first three in the first few days. The first time I tried, I got light-headed. How ridiculous! And how frustrating! If I wasn't watching, it felt like my left hand was bending backwards just as far as my right would. But if I stole a glance, I faced the reality that my hand wasn't bending backwards at all.

While I could tell I was making a little progress, I was getting really depressed. I made up my mind that at my next two-week visit I was going to ask for a prescription of wellbutrin. Surely depression is fairly normal after an injury as life-changing as a broken arm?

But my husband decided we were going fishing. I didn't really expect to be able to fish, but the prospect of sitting in the sun and reading a book sounded good. And he suggested we barge in on my dad Friday and Saturday nights since we were spending all the hotel funds on medical bills. Hanging out with Daddy is good therapy, too.

The North Carolina Outer Banks weather was warm the first weekend in May, but the wind was really blowing. I ended up wearing my hoodie all day despite the 80 degree temperatures, and when the fish were not biting, I was close to miserable. But lucky for me, I caught a nice mullet on my first cast.

Reeling him in hurt! I reel with my right hand and hold the rod with my left, so the weight of the fish was on my broken arm. For a minute, I didn't think I could do it. But we were fishing! And I was catching the first fish! Ken helped me take the fish off - certainly the first and only time he's done that! Come to think of it, I guess I should admit he put my rig together, too. Who knew it takes two hands to connect your bottom rig to the swivel? You might say I'm a little competitive about fishing with my husband, but I was forced to let him help me this trip.

My next nice mullet hit the line before Ken made it back out on the pier after a trip to the restroom. I had to take care of business by myself. A man fishing next to us walked over and told me that I had all the luck. I laughed and agreed, "Not bad for fishing with a broken arm!" He had not noticed my brace under my jacket until then, and about that time Ken made his way back. "She caught another one," the man told Ken, "and I didn't know she had a broken arm!"

It wasn't long before everyone on the pier knew of my handicap, and I continued to catch sea mullet while Ken didn't for a few hours. He eventually caught up with me before the day was over. (The wind took its toll on me, and I took a shopping break.) All in all it was a good day - it's always a good fishing trip when we come home with enough to eat!

The next day, I realized I had much more mobility in my wrist. And strength. Back at work Monday, I was starting to type with two hands. And by Thursday, I no longer wanted the antidepressants. My doctor seemed to agree that the fishing had been beneficial. He asked how big the fish were and cautioned me not to try to catch a shark, but he did not send me to physical therapy!

Six of Thirty

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Comments 5 comments

DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 7 years ago from Central North Carolina

Nothing like a trip to the Outer Banks to fix what ails you!


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Great! I find that living alone takes care of all the physical therapy I need -- unscrewing the lids on jars, chopping and slicing food, taking out the trash -- as Montana Girl said, Happy Healing!


dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

As I've said several times, Teresa, you make me feel like such a whiner! Your break was much worse, and I just don't know what I would have done without someone to help me tear the plastic wrap the first few weeks! I hope you are doing lots better, too!!


R. Blue profile image

R. Blue 7 years ago from Right here

Woo Hooo...Rodanthe Waves Salvo


dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

you know what I mean, RB!

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