YEAR and a half ago, early one Thursday morning, I was
injured when entering a local business to make a business
presentation. In the ER, they said I had a badly displaced
fractured humerus, the bone that runs from shoulder
to elbow, a diagnosis confirmed four days later by trauma surgeon
Dr. Christopher Parks.
Later I would be sent to Dr. Anne Allen, who added a stretched
brachial plexus diagnosis, with some wrist damage. This was
followed by a torn supraspinatus diagnosis (one of the four rotator
cuff muscles), swollen bone marrow, and a blob of swelling (edema)
on my humerus head. I came to call my damaged parts from shoulder
and underarm to fingers my wing assembly.
This period of time overlapped the earliest to middle of the
pandemic, so as the whole world was shutting down, fighting to
survive, I was laid up in bed, on opioids, which resulted in an
addiction that took two tries to kick. CBD oil from a local company
helped do this, making my pain bearable, reducing swelling.
A hundred or so days in, I had begun physical therapy (PT).
My hand had remained hugely swollen for six months, and no
longer functioned. After a too long wait, hand or occupational
therapy (OT) was granted by the insurance company.
Still, I didn’t manifest healing. By mid-June 2020, all work for
me ceased. Post-traumatic stress disorder was suspected (PTSD).
My life revolved around three times a week physical therapy and
14 july 2021
two-three times a
week hand therapy,
coupled with doctor
the saving grace was
intimate time with
At the suggestion
of my PT doc,
180 days in I walked
out into Banks
dock on the south
end and began to
move in the water
with a noodle.
Then, six days a
week I was out
up and down the
length of the dock
on my back like
Slowly I gained
I want to tell you my story of
two 2021 healing miracles
Pat Bradford flies our nation’s flag aboard the 45-foot response boat at United States Coast Guard Station Wrightsville
Beach before boarding the 29-foot boat for our cover shoot (opposite, top).