This was hardly a brush with death. It was more of a brush with gravel, the kind that creeps up under the toe of your right foot as you are halfway through your run, making your way home beneath a perfectly cobalt blue January sky. Until it all goes horribly wrong and the right foot catches and stumbles, the momentum plunging you forward, arms flailing wildly, fingers desperately grasping thin air. Crashing into the blacktop, my legs skidded, performing a most peculiar worm-like dance move before coming to a screeching halt. Silence, then expletives because as I always advise Master/Master and Blondilocks, “Save those words for the times when you really need them.” Oh boy, this was truly one of those times.
Whoever was responsible for this gravitational crisis was also responsible for sending Ms. Jackie to my rescue. Seated in a car across the street, Jackie jumped out of the driver’s seat, clearly dressed in her Sunday best, hair perfectly smooth in a bobby pin secured pageboy. Scooping me up and helping me curbside, we accessed the damage. On initial inspection, it wasn’t good. There was bloodshed and imbedded pieces of gravel and goodness knows what else lodged beneath my multiple thermal layers. I remained optimistic considering the impact had not shredded the knees of my Saucony leggings. A little antiseptic, several doses of anti-inflammatory drugs and a bag or two of Trader Joes frozen petite peas to serve as an icepack would surely help. Jackie was not so sure. The open wound across my knuckles did not inspire confidence. Nor did the shade of aubergine that was creeping over the top of my hand and inching it’s way up my arm. Jackie felt the need to invoke super powers and began to pray. Whoever Jackie was praying to was clearly out of town for the holiday weekend. But thanks, Jackie, for your sweet kindness. At the conclusion of the prayer service, I stumbled home reasoning that it was probably better to keep moving than not. In hindsight, perhaps it would have been prudent to let my new friend drive me home.
Dismissing the idea of emergency room x-rays on a Sunday, I balanced one bag of frozen petits pois across the knuckles, the second one across the elbow. Cubes of ice seemed to make much more sense congregating in a glass filled with Speedy Icer’s recommended restorative; bourbon, lemon and a splash of maple syrup. I highly recommend it, with or without the ice, even without the lemon and maple components.
Blondilocks received word of my mishap and hopped on a NJ Transit train, reminding me of a time long ago involving one of her soccer games and the fractured heel she received as a parting gift. I remembered. We watched back-to-back episodes of the Great British Baking Show as we waited for Sunday to turn into Monday.
A medical professional known as Dr. “Jazz” reviewed the damage on Monday sending me straight away for photographic images of the right hand, from fingertips to elbow. A concerned nurse handed me a pamphlet explaining What You Can Do To Prevent Falls. Blondilocks patiently piloted me from doctor’s office to imaging center for what the receptionist called “Extrays.” Waiting for the technician, a riveting episode of The People’s Court provided entertainment. More interesting was the screaming commercial for Mirman, Markovits and Landau, advertising legal counsel for those injured in a fall…
Last stop of the day, the local medical supply pharmacy for a protective arm sling. Bypassing the heavy duty OSHA model in XXL, I opted for the Snoopy arm sling in a child’s large, which fit like a dream.
Dr. Jazz called me the very next morning admitting she was rather shocked all parts were intact. She was emphatic however, that there could be a hairline fracture beneath all the swelling and I was not allowed to lift with the right hand, and certainly avoid the “twisting a doorknob” motion. “How about a rolling pin?” I asked. Silence. She prescribed more icing, more ibuprofen and no work until she saw me for a follow-up in a week. Checking the remaining episodes of Great British Baking yet to view and my Theo dark chocolate inventory, I promised.
Learning to use your non-dominant hand comes with a new appreciation for many things. Velcro closures on a winter parka, for instance. Wash and go curly locks. The impact of a singular jazz hand. (Not nearly as dramatic as a pair.) It also provides the sobering reality that a full pie plate is much better than an empty one. More critically, it appears that the things you desire while healing are sealed beneath an impenetrable cap. The jar of Bonne Maman orange marmalade you wish to spread on a slice of multi-grain toast. Your next dose of ibuprofen. But thankfully, neither the foil-wrapped bars of chocolate nor the bottle of bourbon.