Rediscovering the Virtue of Patience

We have settled back into our part-time home at Jojoba Hills, where memories of our Patagonia trip may have faded a bit but revisiting photos can put that smile right back on my face. One of my more vivid memories of Patagonia was our hike to the Three Towers in Torres del Paine National Park, as this is where I experienced firsthand the “knock-you-down” winds for which Patagonia is noted. This is where I learned to fly during a rainstorm, albeit it briefly, as I made the steep ascent to the towers. This is where a rogue gust threw me off a boulder and, although I didn’t get the iconic shot of the towers that day, I remain grateful that I didn’t suffer a serious injury.

The iconic shot I was hoping for, courtesy of

An x-ray, a consult with an Argentine doctor, and a splint in place and the next day I was on my way to our next adventure. Although I was told to keep the splint on for three weeks and I should be good as new, I suspected, once ‘sans splint’, that something was amiss. My knuckle looked weird and the more I exercised my finger, the stiffer and more painful it became.

By the time we arrived in the Atacama, weeks later, my finger was red, warm, and not at all happy with me. I worried about an infection, but there was no one to consult in the small village of San Pedro, so I buddy-taped it again and tried not to think about it the last few days of our trip. Out of sight, out of mind, right? We couldn’t return home anyway as our airline went on strike; our flight was canceled; and we couldn’t get out any earlier. The best I could do was schedule an appointment with my doctor back home, so I tried not to let it interfere with the last few days of our trip.

Navigating the healthcare system back home was frustrating as I waited several weeks to see a hand surgeon and get an MRI after my initial x-ray, which revealed a fractured knuckle. The first hand surgeon I visited confirmed the avulsion fracture and a ruptured volar plate (the thick ligament that secures the knuckle and holds the two bones in place in the finger)and when asked what treatment he would recommend, he replied that it was bad and he couldn’t help me. No physical therapy, no surgery…what the heck? Needless to say, he is not my current hand surgeon.

Should you ever have the joy of dislocating a finger, here is some of what I have learned:

  • Splinting should be done for no more than one week and gentle manipulation should begin immediately after the splint is removed, even with an avulsion fracture. This probably won’t be much fun as the finger will still be swollen and painful to the touch. My accident was three months old when I saw my current hand surgeon and was splinted far too long so my situation was a bit more challenging.
  • Aggressive range-of-motion therapy can be an option, and was for me. I see my therapist twice weekly for 12 weeks. She is an angel, even though she often hurts me. 😢
  • If hand therapy doesn’t work, surgery would be a next option. I have found a great hand therapy specialist and she doesn’t see surgery in my future. Yay!! Finding a good therapist who will customize a program for you is a must.
  • Be prepared for slow progress. I wake each morning feeling like I am starting all over again, which I am told will probably be the case for the next six months. Patience definitely is a virtue at times like this.
  • Finger dislocations take a minimum of 8 months to heal. It is no wonder my finger is still swollen and stiff, along with other fingers as well.

I’m sad to say that our summer plans for Yellowstone National Park have been disrupted as I focus on getting my hand back in shape. I will be living vicariously through all of you and spending more time discovering the beauty right outside my door. Sometimes we just need to slow down a bit to find that beauty.














69 thoughts on “Rediscovering the Virtue of Patience

  • Oh my gosh, Luanne, that’s awful. I’m happy you finally got the help you needed to regain the use of your hand. Thanks for the write-up on what happened. I was clueless about that. Life can sure throw us curveballs from time to time.

  • You may not have gotten that iconic shot, but you were so much closer than we will ever get!
    Hope you do another post soon with all the macro shots from around the park you’ve been working on 🙂

    • You would have loved the hike Gayle. I’m not sure Jim would have liked it as much. 😉 I will probably post some flowers very soon.

  • It can be tough sitting still especially for someone as active a traveler as your are. Injuries are so frustrating. I’m sure you’ll find some local discoveries to keep that camera working. Your header shot is wonderful!

    • Thanks Ingrid! I continue to remind myself that there is value in slowing down the pace. It looks like a few beach trips will be in order this summer.

  • Hate to hear about your major mishap! Knowing you, I imagine healing sooner rather than later.
    Sorry you are missing out on Yellowstone, but glad we will get to see you next month when we will be in Encinitas!

    • See, there is already a benefit to staying in So. Cal this summer. We look forward to seeing you and Stan next month. I will be in touch.

  • Sorry about your finger! Loved following your trip! Have you thought about being a travel writer? Hope to see you again one of these days. Much love always❤️

    • Thanks so much Kathie! There are so many good travel writers out there. I am not sure I rise to their level. I would love to see you again my friend. Hope all is well with you. Love you too!

  • So glad to hear that you are back. So happy that you have enjoyed this fabulous adventure. Roger had a stroke about a month ago. We just arrived back in Lake Arrowhead and the trailer and everything has been put to bed until next year’s camp hosting.

    Gayl did an amazing job of getting this all done. Roger sat around with guilty feelings because Gayl insisted that he wasn’t quite ready to do much helping with the end of camp hosting duties. Oh well, there is always next year.

    Now you need to plan a weekend trip to Lake Arrowhead to visit, you can stay with us, and tell us all about your terrific trip. Til later,

    Rog and Gayl

    On Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 3:04 PM, Paint Your Landscape wrote:

    > LuAnn posted: “We have settled back into our part-time home at Jojoba > Hills, where memories of our Patagonia trip may have faded a bit but > revisiting photos can put that smile right back on my face. One of my more > vivid memories of Patagonia was our hike to the Three To” >

    • I have had you in my mind a lot recently Roger. Hope this note finds you recovering nicely. We have been talking about how to get away from the heat a bit this summer. We would love to see the two of you again. Let’s talk more about that visit to Lake Arrowhead. We would love that! Big hugs to you and Gayl.

    • It can be a bit painful Debbie but if she can get my mobility back and I can avoid surgery, I will deal with it. That itch to travel is another thing. Enjoy your summer!

  • Oh, my – now I can think about how lucky I was to simply not get the shot and not be hurled off a boulder! We, too, were sorely disappointed not to see the torres up close and personal in the rain and mist, but at least I came home intact. So sorry to hear about your mishap and hoping the PT does the trick.

  • That was really a “knock you down wind” that you fractured a finger! And you did it for us so we can travel with you through your photos, thank you but sorry for that mishap. Being home now and with access to your Doc and PT your pretty finger should be good in 8 months 🙂 Being sideline is tough but probably the best time to train your cameras closer to home. I learned a few tricks on iphone photography while sideline in Tucson last year 🙂

    • You are right MonaLiza. I need to explore nearer our home anyway. I have a long list of projects, many of them photography related. I need to improve my iPhone photography so perhaps I should look into that.

  • So sorry about your finger LuAnn! What a pain – literally apparently. Hope it heals up quickly and will be fully functional again asap. Yeah, those Patagonia winds – legendary!

  • Lu, I’m so glad you’ve found a good therapist. (That doctor who told you he couldn’t help you—what the heck?!) We know all about being sidelined for a while. And knowing you, you’ll be finding all kinds of interesting things to do while you’re “at home” for the summer. Hugs to you! (Love your header photo!)

  • Sorry to hear of your disrupted plans. Patience is such a hard virtue to practice but in this case your reward will be a healed finger.

  • Having a doctor and therapist you feel comfortable with is so necessary. It sounds like your therapist is working some magic and you can avoid surgery. Fingers crossed! Yes, patience is your new word for awhile. Thanks for keeping us posted on how you are doing. Take care and keep working that finger and hand:)

    • I will do just that Pam, although it is a bit tricky, as doing too much will set you back. I have already learned that a time or two. 🙂

  • 😥 Your poor finger! Whether at home or travel, I’m reminded again of how a single incident can change our lives so drastically. I’m relieved to hear you don’t require surgery, though. As you exercise your painful injury and your patience, may the natural beauties outside your doorstep help you towards full recovery and plenty of deep, healing rest.

    • Thanks so much for the lovely comment. I am certain by the end of summer I will have found some remarkable areas to visit nearby. Hope you have a wonderful summer!

  • Oh wish I could give you a hug! ((Hug)) but slowing down and taking care of your finger is what is in need. I know you will find amazing captures right outside your door.

    That header shot is amazing.

  • Oh that “patience” thing can be such a bitch, LuAnn. And ‘virtues’ are highly overrated. 🙂I’m picturing the pain, anxiety and worry that accompanied the last part of your trip and have real admiration for you not letting it get in the way of enjoying your epic adventure. So glad that you ditched the first, very unhelpful doctor and have found one, along with a good hand therapist, who will work with you to get your finger/hand properly functioning again. So sad that your Yellowstone summer plans were canceled but it sounds like you’re looking ahead to the ‘What comes after’ and planning other adventures. Although your downtime has been forced upon you, enjoy the slower pace and summer in lovely California! Anita

    • I had to chuckle when I read this Anita and will admit to getting a bit frustrated at times when I wake up in the morning with two straight, stiff fingers again and I feel like I’m starting over. I tried not to let my hand situation get in the way of our adventure as I knew we would not return to this part of the world. Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t get on the internet and research dislocations after the accident, which is what I would have done immediately at home. I might have done things a little differently had I done some reading. In any event, no sense looking back now. Time to find adventures near home. Hope you have a wonderful summer as well Anita.

  • LuAnn you are a trooper to carry on as you did for the rest of your trip. Travel is not necessarily easy that’s for sure. I will be sending healing vibes your way and hoping one morning soon you wake up noticing a big improvement.

    • Thanks Sue! As I mentioned in another comment, I knew this would be the only trip that far south for us, so I wasn’t going to let a little mishap get in the way.

  • I hope your finger will heal soon now that you’re in good care. I know it’ll take awhile, mine took about a year and I didn’t dislocate it, just fell on it on the tennis court really hard many years ago.

    • Thanks Z. I had no idea that this would take so long to heal. You don’t realize just how much you use your hands until you don’t have the use of one. I cannot imagine the trauma of losing one.

  • Up to 8 months! Goodness what a wringer you’ve been through. I had no idea this could happen. The medical stuff is fascinating, but the healing…ugh…..You’ve had your fair share of medical stuff this month. Healing {{vibes}} to you!


    • Thanks Nina. Who would have thought a finger could create such problems? Hoping all your medical issues are now behind you. You two have had more than your fair share of stress these past several months.

  • I am glad you are sharing, via your blog, so your fans can keep track of your recovery. I am also glad it wasn’t something more serious; it could have been worse. I hope you will try to go up to Lake Arrowhead. I went there, quite often, as a child, and I loved it. Of course, that was a LONG, LONG time ago, and I am sure it has changed quite a bit, but I thought it was beautiful. I’m sure there are hiking trails up there, that you can explore.

    • I am sure we will head up to Lake Arrowhead this summer. I would love to see our friends again and do some exploring. Hope your knee is doing well.

      • Thanks, Lu. Nine days to injection, hopefully 11 days to get back on the trails. Becky will be here, and perhaps she and I can go hiking, shortly thereafter.

  • Here’s hoping that your finger already feels better and that you will be doing Downward Dog soon… though I have a feeling that ‘Wild Child’ is more your pose 🙂 I hope you get clearance for a few days of R&R in MT July 12 or 13-15 or 16… Thinking of you and missing you and Terry!

    • It is slowly feeling better Julianne and I have started to do some Downward Dog already. I did Wild Child regularly years ago but not sure I could get back into that post comfortably. Perhaps that is something I could work towards. 🙂 Unfortunately I won’t be able to get clearance for mid-July. It conflicts with my therapist’s schedule and she really feels I should stay on track if I want to be released by the end of summer. We will be thinking of the four of you as you enjoy your time together. We are already missing MT.

  • Sending healing vibes your way and wishing you a speedy recovery, LuAnn. I’m glad you found a good hand PT and I know you’re determined to follow the exercise plan to get your fingers/ hand fully functioning again. I also know you’ll make the most of your time in SoCal.

  • I hope your hand gets better soon. At least your injury came at the end of your time away and thankfully not at the beginning. Slowing down is also good and taking stock, I look forward to an epic trip around the small area outside your place, like that bloke wrote about his bedroom, I forget his name now.

    • My hand injury occurred less than two weeks into my trip but I wasn’t about to let it stop me Ste J. It’s a slow process but I am seeing some improvement. Hope you are well.

  • So sorry to hear about your finger/hand injury and on your trip! How are you managing typing? Praying it all gets better and better and you do have the patience for therapy etc! Sending our love!

    • As much as it has changed our plans for this summer, I often remind myself that it is just my hand and it could have been so much worse. As for the typing, I have gotten pretty good with a couple of fingers on my left hand and it has now become part of my therapy to relearn how to type with all my fingers. Hope you are both doing well. Big hugs to you.

  • So sorry to hear about your finger but glad you’re looking on the bright side, LuAnn. Thanks for sharing your tips and what you’ve learned from this experience. Patience and time are the two most powerful warriors. 😉

  • Ouch!! This looks and sounds painful LuAnn. I hope that by now it’s getting better, and if not, it will soon. The only other consolation I can offer comes from our Baby Boomer sage Neal Young: “I’d rather wear out than rust.” Well this fits you to a T. At least you were in Patagonia when it happened and not shopping at the local grocery store. ~James

    • I have no plans to rust James! My hand is coming along, albeit it very slowly. Being in Patagonia, it gave me a story to tell. 🙂

    • Thanks Ute! Surprising to me, it is a long process for what seemed like such a minor injury, but I am healing. Hope you are doing well.

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