Monday, August 28, 2006

Where's my chisel?

I'm about ready to carve my way out of this cast! I somehow twisted my arm inside it last night and wound up with something that feels remarkably like a rope burn. I have a feeling that my arm is going to look rather hideously bruised from bumping against the cast by the time the doctor takes it off.

Luckily, this is now going to be 9/18 instead of 9/22. It's only a few days' difference, but even that's something! So if any readers within earshot hear joyous shouts of "I'm free, I'm free!" on the morning of the 18th, that will be me. (Sorry if I wake you up!)

Unfortunately, I am no longer a full-time student. The University of Toledo insists that they have to charge me out-of-state tuition, since I haven't lived in Ohio for very long. They have tuition reciprocity only for Monroe County, Michigan. Well, I lived exactly 20 feet north of Monroe County. Sigh. But I should have in-state residency for next semester and can try again then.

The class I kept is called "The Early Republic." It's a senior level history class about the time in US History between the Revolution and the War of 1812-- you know, the part that gets completely glossed over in most history classes. The professor is a delight-- he absolutely loves his subject, so he's very excitable during lecture. It should be a lot of fun! (The first test is September 12. Hopefully he'll be able to read mine. My handwriting with a cast on is, shall we say, less than exemplary.)

Now I'm off to do some studying. Federalist Era, here I come!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mixed Blessing Across Two Worlds

The other day out in the world, a very dignified elderly gentleman struck up a conversation with me about the cast on my arm. I explained that it had been a rollerblading accident, but that it was healing up nicely and the cast would be off before too long.

The man's face seemed to glow with benificence. "It's gonna heal," he told me. His deep southern voice reminded me of chocolate. "I know it's gonna heal." He very gently laid a hand on the cast and proclaimed, "By the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, you be blessed and healed."

What an odd gift to give a stranger! But he offered it so beautifully that the kindness of it brought a tear pricking to my eye, and I thanked him profusely. "Thank you, sir. Bless you."

It was an absolutely profound moment of beauty, which shifted rapidly when the man asked if I was married, and started to caution me that when I did get married God hates divorce and I needed to make sure I obeyed my husband.


The blessing I accept as the gift of utter kindness and love it was.

The advice, though? It's just not going to quite work for me. Obviously. He was so earnest that I'm sure it was offered with just as much kindness as the blessing, but that is not the world in which I walk.

But for a moment, two worlds intersected just long enough for a blessing to be given, and that contact was a blessing in itself.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Broken Bone Update!

According to Dr. Mike Modano (really, they could be twins), my poor fractured radius and ulna are healing perfectly. The x-rays barely show a fracture line at all (I had to look very hard to see it), and all the bones are lined up just where they should be. So, no surgery for me! The cast can come off on September 22nd. (Believe me, I am counting the hours...) It will be replaced by a splint which will be worn for 2 weeks, and then I should be good to go!

One of the cool things about Dr. Mike Modano is that he does not dumb down his explanations in any way. He's absolutely 100% willing to answer questions if he uses a term I don't know, but otherwise he speaks in genuine doctor language. Or maybe this just seems cool to me because it helps me realize how many interesting medical vocabulary words I've picked up from helping Tirithien study!

The other very cool thing about Dr. Mike Modano is that he's only going to charge me the lower Medicaid rate for my care. Apparently with a fracture, he charges one fee that covers setting, casting, and other follow-up care, such as the cast removal with the scary looking tool that looks like a saw blade attached to a shop-vac. Plus I'll be allowed to make low payments until it's paid off. This is extra good, since I did not have insurance when the injury occurred!

Meanwhile, I've gotten myself enrolled for fall classes at the University of Toledo. I'll be taking 12 credits (4 classes).

Full time school, plus full time work, plus a broken arm.

Clearly I'm quite thoroughly insane.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My first ever broken bone!

This post is pretty much a copy and paste from a post I made on the snopes message board, with Percoset-enhanced mistakes edited out. When you consider that I'm now reduced to typing lefty, and I'm extremely right-handed, I figure you will all understand!

Tuesday morning seemed like an excellent time for rollerblading. I hadn't been in quite awhile, and didn't have anything to do, so why not scope out a new Toledoan trail? Good exercise, fun, etc.

I was doing quite well for not having bladed in ages, once I worked out the initial wobblies, but I had forgotten one of my cardinal rules of rollerblading: never skate a trail before first walking it.

This trail had a slope. In my skating prime a few years ago, I could have handled it with aplomb. It was not all that steep, but was long, so I was going at considerable speed. I nervously tried to grab a tree branch to slow down, and my top half obliged, but my skates kept right on going. Splat! Right wrist, then tailbone. (And I was indeed wearing wrist guards.)

I was pretty well stunned, but thought if I could get my gear off, I could walk back to the car. But I couldn't even get up! And I also discovered, upon working my right wrist guard off, that my wrist was bent at an extremely sickening angle. It was pretty obviously fractured, at the very least, and by then the pain was sneaking through my shock. Ow, ow, ow!

A couple of nice bystanders stopped to help-- one went to fetch the park rangers, while another stayed with me and called Tirithien to let him know his girlfriend was apparently broken. The park rangers called EMS, EMS called paramedics, and I got an ambulance ride to the hospital. They had me all immobilized since my tailbone and lower back were so badly pained. They were so nice-- one of them called Tirithien to let him know what hospital they were taking me to, and another gave me a teddy bear and told me jokes all the way to the hospital.

The hospital nurses were just the nicest nurses I have ever met. After they did the obligatory pregnancy test, they sent me off for x-rays. Meanwhile, Tirithien's parents came to the hospital to check up on me too. X-rays determined that I hadn't broken any spinal or pelvic bones, but my arm... Well, I managed to snap both forearm bones right below where they join the wrist: a Colles fracture. The ER doc told me their orthopedist was doing a surgery, but if I could wait about 3 hours, he'd come treat me.

The unfortunate thing was the possibility that I could have needed surgery to fix this, so I wasn't allowed any food or drink, even ice water. And I was SO thirsty. They hooked me up to a saline drip with some nice painkillers that let me sleep. Evidently I was time traveling in my sleep, because at various points I asked Tirithien if he had fed Colin, my guinea pig who died in December, and who he'd found to watch Brendan, which is what I want to name my future son-- who isn't even conceived yet! Good meds, there. ;-)

The orthopedist, who bore a striking resemblance to Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars, showed up, injected my hand with some interesting numbing solution, and stretched out my arm so the bones popped right back where they should be. Bless him, the post-setting and casting x-rays barely looked different from a healthy wrist!

So then I was sent home, in my hospital gown and shorts, since we didn't dare attempt to get my shirt back on. I looked like a hospital refugee. I'm supposed to go for checkup x-rays and a follow-up appointment with Dr. Mike Modano next week, to make sure I really won't need surgery. And I have Percocet and strawberry ice cream. And I have typed this entire post left handed. But I think my rollerblades are going to Play It Again Sports. :-p