Right & Left: the Space Between

A daytrip resulted in a broken arm. It’s not too long a story – may I start at the beginning? There are funny moments, but you kind of had to be here for those.

I tripped over a concrete parking block (also called a parking stop, a curb stop & more.) It’s that concrete thingie installed in parking spaces . And, in a spasm of ironic humor, it was a HANDICAPPED block – but then, blue is my favorite color. We were in a rest stop near Silver City.

I have a mental vision that my body whipped forward in a crack-the-whip motion, my right arm & my nose landing simultaneously. I have a slow-mo impression of bouncing on the tip of my nose, my head snapping back to have another go at landing, this time fully face-down. I now call it my “asphalt exfoliation.” I could feel my nose dripping blood. Pat, my travel companion, rushed to help me, as did another man but before they could touch me, I growled, DON’T! I drew myself up to a sit, carefully positioning my face forward so as not to bloody my clothing.

Inside, I sent up a fervent prayer, Don’t let it be broken!! I rushed through the door marked Denial in my ringing head. I got myself up somehow, re-entering the bathroom where the water pulsed in a slow trickle. I looked in the mirror & choked. I dabbed carefully at my face with a rough paper towel. I figured, It’s done, might as well go on.

My friend & I continued to Silver, discussing whether to go to urgent care or a hospital. But I was reluctant. I asked Pat to fashion me a Girl Scout sling to support & immobilize my arm. I kept sending up smoke signals of prayer (“not broke, not broke, not broke”) I knew on a deep level: broke for sure. This experience was, after all, a revisit to a 2002 event in which I landed on my right elbow.

We had lunch at an outdoor table as (of course) all indoor venues are closed. After half a tuna sandwich & a fruitless search for a store Pat wished to visit, we stopped at CVS for an arm sling. The passersby in Silver City offered ice, help, care, directions to the hospital… We started home. I was in that space after a traumatic injury. Nothing yet hurt, but I wasn’t exactly planning on breaking out in the Macarena. The ice melted in my lap wetting down my shorts thoroughly, adding a level of comedy…oy! Wet pants on top of everything else.

Since I’ve broken this arm before, at the elbow, I had a preview of the immediate future. I groaned inside as my Medicare card does not include doctor fees, but relied on the fact it does include hospital care. Next piece of irony up: the hospital treated me as an outpatient so I now face bills in four digits for a 15-pound plaster bumper, a 4-pound “ski” to seat the injury into & no fewer than six ace bandages tying the whole thing together. I left hospital with an offer of oxycontin (NO!), a bloody-scraped face which they didn’t even offer to put a cool cloth upon, a CD of the break & a prescription for an orthopedist in Las Cruces.

I barely fit into my tiny car with my cement block arm. I learned that slings of any kind are not forgiving of DD bra size or having a straight neck. I adopted a tilt to balance the weight, learned to meditate about moving no matter how urgent the call to do so. Slithering seemed to work when standing up was involved. Dishes, washing, food prep, dressing, climbing the steps & descending backwards…

Friends gathered every day to help with all of the above. From feeling faraway while up close to my surroundings, I was gathered in a bubble of love & help that brought more relief than tears, tho they were not far behind as it turned out.

I am not even a month after the event. This morning I opened a jar, cut my eggs, buttered toast, washed in the shower (hair, too!). I dressed carefully in real clothes – finally free of the single caftan that I could squirrel into. I am typing with both hands, my right elbow tucked in close to my hip.

The tip of my nose is still pinker. My arm bears a stripe of discoloration which may never fade. My elbow looks like a small ball has been shoved into the joint. The injury – supracondylar transverse fracture of the humerus – heals well under the infrared lamp, constant Reiki & much mental conversation over the future.

My career as a Massage Therapist is likely over with this being the second injury in the same area. A whisper of possibly changing careers in these unusual times has become a steady hum. I finagled a couple of payments for the hospital & the doctor who earned $608 for looking at me, recommending oxycontin, insisting on a CT scan for what he was convinced was a broken nose, then disappearing to peck at a computer behind his decorative mask. (Since a CT scan would provide nothing to enhance what might become a prizefighter’s cauliflower nose,  this I also refused.) Not a bad night’s earnings when it was early on Friday evening with the weekend rushing in. I’m not even gonna talk about the hospital bill. They could have admitted me so the bill would have been covered, after all.

Life & moving on. I am left to do right in future, to repay the care & love I’ve been shown. Soon I will be driving again – maybe I’ll get to Silver City to thank the people there, too.



2 thoughts on “Right & Left: the Space Between

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    1. Hi Terri – all is well in my world & I am healing, knitting things up to what perfection I can muster. Every day brings such great improvement. This has taught me to trust more fully, to define myself against different standards. I am not broken but re-mended, re-minded that all is for Good & I am part of that. Hope your world is in good order & your blessings come in milder doses!! Many thanks! love, Carol


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