Bruised and broken
We got away to Chico in December. It’s an annual tradition to celebrate John’s birthday and have an extended weekend to enjoy Chico State basketball. We knew there would be no basketball this year (merci, COVID-19), but little did we know what was ahead. We headed out to play pickle ball first thing Friday morning, and five minutes into our warm-ups I tripped and fell on my right wrist, breaking a bone for the first time in my life. I instantly felt myself going into this weird clear-thinking mode: No, we don’t need urgent care, we need the hospital. This is broken. How did I know? When our daughter Claire was seven, she broke her tibia and fibula. She announced to John that her leg felt “jellyish.” That is precisely how my wrist felt.
No extra persons are allowed in the E.R., so I sat alone in serious pain. When they called me back and asked what my pain level was, I answered, “More than labor, less than a kidney stone.” Pretty bad then, eh? Yep. Pretty bad.
X-rays revealed that it was broken in two places, and they had the option of surgery to set it or they could yank it back into place. As someone with an astronomical deductible, and who was once rolled into a CAT scan for a kidney stone and ended up paying $5,000 out of pocket, I was bizarrely practical and said, “Yank it.”
While I waited, I texted with my kids. I needed to apologize for my lack of empathy for their broken bones and other injuries. I was suddenly aware of how incredibly insensitive I had been. Plenty of texts went back and forth, lots of kindness from the offspring, and a fantastic bunch of ER folks to keep me distracted and relaxed. When the crew came in to set the bone and put it in a temporary splint, I opted for the suffer in silence mode, squeezing the circulation out of an assistant with my left hand while they poked, pulled and placed the bone on my right. Wowzer. Bright lights flashing kind of pain, but over quickly.
As someone very reluctant to use pain meds, and someone fully devoted to her dominant hand, December 4th was only the beginning of the challenge. But the fact is: I was very well cared for by my husband and friends, we still had a great visit with our Chico son and celebrated John’s birthday, and the E.R. staff at Enloe Medical Center were amazing and skilled and kind. It was the beginning of a dark time for me, but today I am no longer in a cast and I am typing with both hands. Hallelujah. It’s so good to be on this far along in healing.