Friday, July 8, 2011

Injury Prone: Learning How to Write Left-Handed, Part One

I tell ya, the money I saved my parents by not needing braces or glasses as a child, I had 'em pay out in spades through ER visits, X-Rays, and the occasional surgery.

Sure, I've broken my arm, my knee, I've injured my shoulder, I've even got a couple of fingers in there for good measure (spoiler alert!)...but none of these injuries required me to become ambidextrous.

Until The Shattered Wrist of '01.

It was a cold, frozen evening my freshman year of college in Minneapolis. The beginning of the 2nd semester, classes hadn't even begun yet, but my friends and I were back in town and craving some fun social time.

A recent ice storm had left the campus covered in mortal danger (especially for an accident-prone person such as me), so, instead of trying to beat Ma Nature we joined her by planning a game of broom ball on the intramural ice rink.

Now, if you're unfamiliar with broom ball, it's the basic rules of hockey (read: insert ball into net on ice using long stick); however, instead of a puck you use a ball and instead of a hockey stick you use a broom. Did I mention players don't wear pads or skates? One just bundles up in the warmest clothes on hand and ungracefully glides across the ice on tennis shoes.

It was, maybe, 10:30 PM and my team had the ball. I was open along the boards, and right after I was given the ball I took my chance at a slap shot. Being the athletically-inclined person that I am, I immediately fell backward, bracing my fall with my arms extended behind me.

This was a mistake.

Instead of landing on my rear and, maybe, having to deal with a bruised tail bone and/or ego, I instead landed on my palms, taking the brunt of my weight on my wrists.

Having broken bones before, I instantly knew the hot, quickly swelling, throbbingly painful joint was broken.

Luckily we were close to the university's athletic center, so we carefully made our way off the ice to get help.

By this time I was crying the silent, persistent tears of one who knows she's in deep.

The hospital was a mere 1/2 mile away, and the receptionist at the athletic center asked if I wanted to walk or if I wanted an ambulance.

These were the good ol' days of me being covered by my father's insurance plan, and that, combined with the fact that all sidewalks were covered in glare ice, led me to choose option B, the ambulance. I figured the EMTs would be able to patch me up a bit before the ride, and at least this way I was sure to not break anything else. It was me; there was 45% chance of such a thing happening.

I got to the ER and, like in every other hospital in our great nation of profiteering HMOs, I filled out a mountain of paperwork and waited an hour and a half for a doctor, X-rays, etc.

Not to gross you out, but X-rays were pretty much unnecessary*. When I lifted up the sleeve of my sweatshirt, everyone could see my wrist bones (distal and radius for those playing at home) created a slight S-curve, where before they were straight. *Note: X-rays, however, were necessary for the surgeon later that week, more on this later).


The doctor put me in a temporary cast and gave me some pain pills to last me a few days. She then signed me up for the next available appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon - a full week later.

Faced with the daunting 2+ mile walk back to my dorm across ice-encrusted walkways, in severe pain and slight loopiness with medication kicking in, at 1:30 AM no less, I wondered what the heck I was going to do.

As fate would have it, I remembered a very important moment from my church group's meeting that took place the previous evening...

...The Previous Evening

My friend, Aaron, stood up in front of our Campus Crusade for Christ group and gave his testimony. This was a common way to start our meetings - share a testimony, run down items of business, worship, speaker, and prayer, etc. At the end of his testimony, Aaron said, "If you have any questions or just want to talk about what I've said or what you've heard here tonight about God, give me a call at 301-0103*...any time, any day." *not his actual phone number, but you get the idea

During the meeting I couldn't get his phone number out of my head, which was ridiculous because he lived one floor above me in the dorm. I was never going to need to call him; I could just walk up and see him. For some reason, though, I couldn't get "301-0103" out of my head; I kept repeating it and repeating it until it became a sing-song mantra of a sort.

Little did I know...

...Back at the Hospital.

My roommate, Amanda, was with me through the whole broom ball, broken wrist, ambulance chase (read: ride), ER visit fiasco. As we were getting ready to leave, we thought about how we were going to get back across campus to our dorm (NOTE: we went to the 2nd largest university in the country, hence, a "walk across campus" generally consists of miles, plural, and at least 25 minutes).

Me: To be honest, I really don't want to walk. Knowing me, I'll fall and break something...else.

Amanda: Do we know anyone with a car? (This large university is located in Minneapolis, which means the cost of parking is atrocious and not many college students bring their cars)

Me: What about John? (A friend who lived on our floor)

Amanda: Do you know his phone number?

Me: Hm, no. (He lived on our floor. We never called him, we just knocked on his door)

Amanda: *thinking*

Mandi: *thinking on narcotics*

Mandi: 301-0103, 301-0103, 301-0103...

Mandi: Hey! I know Aaron's phone number!

Amanda: Does he have a car?

Mandi: Why yes, yes he does!
In a truly blessed and foreseen-by-God moment we called Aaron - of the "any time, any day" friend variety - and he graciously drove over to the hospital in the middle of the frozen, icy night to pick us up and save us from a long, perilous journey home.

I'd say he saved Amanda more than me, because, now that the Tylenol+Codeine was kicking in, I surely would've been a handful for Amanda on the walk home.

We arrived safely home to our dorm, where I promptly fell asleep for the next 48 hours.

Like this story? There's more! Stay tuned for Part Two...
____________________________________________________________  Mandi

Current Couch Potato | Aspiring Runner:

Completing my first half marathon to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America will be a community endeavor. Won't you help me change lives?

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