Jilly D.

Kindness in action

In Friends, Health, Time and seasons on March 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm

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Two week ago (Sunday 9:30 am) I took a spill on the ice and broke my wrist when I tried catch myself with my outstretched hand. Heard it crack. Sat there for several minutes absorbing the trauma and releasing it out into the cold air with my sobbing.

Got up and back indoors. Pulled the ice pack out of the freezer and put it around my swelling hand. Called my landlord, Bruno Schickel, to notify him he really needed to put some sand down in the common areas. Boiceville Cottages offer someone like me a home without home-moaning. Bruno offered to take me to Urgent Care. While I waited for his arrival from church service, I called my sister Barb in Minnesota.

“Calm down. They won’t treat you if you are hysterical. It’s probably a sprain. Put some ice on it and elevate it. Take some Ibuprofen and call me when you get back home,” she advised. Since I’m allergic to Ibuprofen and had already iced and elevated, I focused on trying to calm down as I was going into shock from the pain.

In Minnesota, the squeaky wheel squeaks but the polite wheel gets the grease; on a schedule, per manufacturer’s recommendation.  Squeak and no one listens.

Riding in Bruno’s red pickup truck I bravely choked back the tears and the terror all the way to Urgent Care. Dr. Patricia Nelson took one good look at my forearm and assured me my pain was real and caused by a colles fracture. She wondered if I might not be from the Midwest.

“A bit stoic, eh?” she asked about my subdued pain response. Why did I let myself think my biggest problem was how crazy pain made me look to others?  My biggest problem was a painful broken wrist. I shouldn’t care how others look at me.

“Just stop my pain, Dr. Nelson!”

She splinted the entire forearm, and wrote a prescription for Vicodin and a referral to an Orthopedist on Monday.

Before I can finish making phone calls – to arrange for my friend Melissa to get me to the doctor’s, book the appointment, schedule some dog walkers, think about eating something on top of an upset queasy tummy – my mother has to call about the same time as the narcotic hit my brain. Dead slumber on my bed. I don’t know if it was 3 pm or 8 pm. My eyes couldn’t read the red numerals on the alarm and I’d taken my glasses off.

“Now I understand why Sam killed himself,” I confessed to my mother. “Nobody can take twice this level of pain and want to live.” Both his wrists had been broken by one of his cow buffalos when she headbutted him like a rodeo clown that last summer. Now I felt his pain in this narcotic fog. And all I could pray for was the pain to stop, oh Lord.

I slept fitfully according to the timed effects of Vicodin. Melissa drove over from Seneca Lake to take me to see Dr. Brett Young about my wrist first thing Monday morning. As a licensed massage therapist who had also broken her wrist several years ago, she was a great companion for my visit down torture lane. Melissa forewarned me in the waiting room there’d be more pain before I’d feel better. She tried to describe the barbaric instruments they’d use to pull the bones back into place. I giggled as she described little chinese chainwork fingercuffs they’d attach and let gravity work as traction. I got scared when the nurse escorted me into the examination room and there stood the very device.

“Let your intention be healing. Let your intention be no surgery,” Melissa said quietly to me. My intentions were not for this to happen. My intention was to stop the pain, now.

Dr. Brett Young tried various manipulations; and gravity didn’t pull any fast fix either. Another round of x-rays and Dr. Kimberly Carney-Young came in for a surgical consultation. A plate, some pins and good to go in weeks instead of months.

Wednesday morning outpatient surgery scheduled. Melissa flew off to Florida for a much deserved reprieve from winter’s wrath. And my dear friend Betsy arranged to get me through surgery and home again. A flurry of friends delivered dinner, loaves of bread, soups and casseroles, books and magazines, and well wishes. More friends and neighbors created a daily rotation of taking Scooby and Lucy out for walks, exercise and a little fresh air in their noses. Facebook friends, blog readers and friends far away showed up with compassion and real help.

Using a keyboard, much less my knitting needles, isn’t happening yet. My personal posts here will resume with my recovery, but I wanted to tell you why I’ve been so silent in this personal space.

My worst fear for this winter – falling down and breaking – had come to pass. Friends came to pick me up, and hold me up, in their kindness. This kindness is a magical healing superglue to put the pieces back into place.

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