Friday, March 17, 2017

Comparison across the age spectrum

While having all the time available to recover from an injury, I am feeling compelled to think back to previous injuries. When I was seven, I broke one of my arm bones while ice skating. This mishap occurred in summer, and the only real inconvenience for a seven year old, was not being able to go to summer camp at the prescribed time. I got my cast off prior to beginning third grade, and promptly forgot the incident once the pain and cast were gone.

Since then, I have had the normal bumps and bruises, until over a decade ago, when I fell and broke my left wrist. This occurred at the onset of a week of fieldwork between quarters when I was working on my undergraduate degree. We were at the fieldwork site, the incident was painful, embarrassing (as so many people saw me in my nightgown), and I had to be delivered to a local emergency room by one of my professors, again in my nightgown. As happened this time, my husband arrived at the emergency room a few hours later to rescue me and dry my tears. The next few weeks were filled with doctor appointments, a cast, followup appointments, another cast, physical therapy, and the amazing experiences presented by riding the bus carrying a backpack full of books and only one functional arm. Injuries of this magnitude, and not very significant from a wider perspective, do not seem to heal as quickly as they did when I was seven. I do not have full range of motion in the injured wrist, all these years later. The point of these reminiscences is that at some point vulnerability sets in, and while I expect to be up and about my usual business within a month or two from my injury date, I will again be fearful of falling. What will it be that helps me to slam the door on that fear? Perhaps it is best to maintain a small quantity of that fear, in terms of caution rather than incapacitation from it, but it does seem a shame to have to deal with it at all.

A cost for me with this injury that I am feeling sorely, is that I am not walking the neighborhood as usual, as spring begins to arrive. I have been walking my neighborhood, along with others, for over a decade, and am missing the plants, houses, and dogs, that I am used to seeing. I always plan to walk past a tulip tree a few blocks over when it blooms, several times, because it is stunningly beautiful. I want to stand and gaze at it, but feel that anyone who noticed me would think I am creepy. So many plants needing to be admired, and I cannot do it for another month or two. Thinking about seeing the daffodils, tulips, primroses, rhododendrons, azaleas, along with the flowering trees that will soon be bursting into color and splendor, makes me so sad to think I might miss them. I have my own as well, and will try to satisfy my extreme need to see color and beauty with them. I am sure that our dogs will be happy to accompany me into the side-yard to sit and gaze for a while. Ah, the pleasures of life, whether injured or not.

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