Still I rise : The Wrist Chronicles by Paula Dirkes

On Dec. 8 2018 I was visiting family to see my 11 year old great-neice in her first play. Later at my brother’s home, my older brother Jim (age 66, playful grandpa, black belt in Tae Kwon Do) agreed to play a one-legged balance game with the same 11 year old girl in a pretty crowded living room. While I stood chatting with my toddler nieces and nephews, unbeknownst to me the balance game was in progress. Jim lost his balance and crashed into me which knocked me to the floor. My very apologetic brother brought me to the Emergency Room, where I learned both wrist bones were shattered. The ER doctor set the bones, put a temporary splint on and my brother drove me home the next day to the other side of Michigan. 
I met with a surgeon that I was referred to – Dr. F. – on Dec. 11 2018 and he did surgery on my wrist on Dec. 14 2018. Both bones were set and one titanium plate with 6 screws and some bone graft were inserted to rebuild it. (My surgeon later told me ‘It was a mess!’) 
I began wrist therapy on Jan 3 2019 with Lodia, the wonderful Certified Hand Therapist at Dr. F’s office. I have been attending wrist therapy appointments twice a week ever since, along with multiple daily exercise sessions on my own at home. To be honest, it was often frustrating to wait for my wrist to heal as quickly as I wanted it to heal. My goal was to recover the strength and mobility I had before the accident so I could continue the activities that I enjoyed. To make it less overwhelming, I just focused on ‘one day at a time’ because it made it all more do-able. In  reality, every week I have noticed progress with strength and mobility – and it was a lot of work along the way! 
Each time I went for another therapy appointment, I noticed some gifts from Lodia’s fans/patients on her office wall – including art and poetry. They all focused on the hand, but she did great things for wrists too! I decided I wanted to inspire the current and future patients that had fractured a wrist like me, but I wasn’t sure what I would do.
Two weeks ago I happened to be on Pinterest and I saw an image with the tattoo ‘still I rise.’ on the inside surface of a wrist. This was the perfect image and message that I felt represented my journey over the last 5 months. I set out to find the source of the image and use it as a parting gift for Lodia and Dr. F. After MUCH research and communication attempts (, I found and ultimately connected with founder and CEO, Arun Pandit. Once I told my story, Mr. Pandit graciously supplied multiple images of (his) wrist and tattoo, free of charge and merely asked for a picture of me and my therapist featuring the ‘still I rise.’ image so he could share the story with his audience. 
It just so happens that I am a youth mentor of a 15 year old girl, whose Mom happens to be a professional photographer. I asked her Mom to print the image that Arun supplied, had it framed by a local frame shop and presented the gift today to Lodia and Dr. F, at my second to last therapy appointment. It was a hit! 
Regarding my wrist therapy, I have made huge strides in my strength and mobility and continue to add activities to my schedule every day. It is amazing to me how far I have come in 5 months!
Paula Dirkes

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