Life’s curveballs come as a shock and can really rock your world. I experienced one of life’s curveballs recently.
As you will recall if you read my August Newsletter, at that time I was whining about my chronic shoulder pain. Guess what? God/he/she/it/whatever/whoever decided that I needed to be distracted. It has certainly stopped my laser focus on upper body pain.
And I Thought Walks Were Boring
I’ve never been much on walking. I’ve tried Spotify, podcasts, listening to stand-up and texting everyone I know, and I’m still bored. I’d rather just take off running and get back to the starting gate. The only thing that helps is having someone, preferably my loving husband, come with so we can talk. Then my brain is elsewhere.
But, since I sit on my butt all day I know I need to get my body moving before it atrophies in place. So every day I go for a one-mile walk around the Crossroads Shopping Center across the street. It’s short enough to feel doable.
Last Friday I was doing my usual walk and waited the requisite 3 minutes until the generic walking human icon gave me permission to cross. I made it safely to the turn lane when I noticed a small orange car travelling at an excessive rate of speed. When the driver saw me she slammed on the brakes but by that time was most of the way through the crosswalk. I made eye contact with her, lifting my hands up in the universal WFT expression. I then started to cross in back of her car since it was way past the crosswalk.
Suddenly, for reasons that elude logic, she put the car in reverse and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground with my legs pinned under a car tire. I immediately realized that this was not going to be a good day. Instead of helping clients with their health, I’d be checked into an extended stay at the ER.
There are Still Kind People Out There
Despite being bloodied up and screaming in pain, I was immediately heartened by the kindness of strangers. Someone called 911, others hoisted me out of the street and gingerly deposited me on the sidewalk. I heard a chorus of “How can I help?” entreaties. One of the witnesses was an RN who correctly triaged the laceration as being down to the ankle bone. That didn’t sound good.
Another kind soul went back to her car and got a bottle of water for me. A big beefy guy was so irate that he went after the runner-overer who had fled the scene. He proudly returned to report that he had tracked her down.
Within a few minutes I was creating a major traffic jam as a fire truck, ambulance and what seemed like every police car in the City of Irvine, converged at the intersection. Meanwhile I had voice texted my husband and later learned that this bizarre message was conveyed:
Somebody just have me on the street call Vern Baranco please from sweetheart rollaway.
I obviously had pressed “send” without proofreading the word salad Siri wrote. What I meant to say was a bit different:
Somebody just hit me on the street at Culver and Barranca. Please come sweetheart. Right away.
When Scottie failed to beam my husband to the scene immediately, I called him and explained the situation in English. Once he had a comprehensible message, he drove to the scene as fast as he could. As soon as I saw him, I took a deep breath for the first time since being run over and felt comforted.
As I was being peppered with a chorus of questions from the first responders, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that several of the witnesses had stuck around to give police reports. Chalk up another one to the kindness of strangers.
Off to Hoag Hospital for Treatment
Next, I was carted away in the ambulance to Hoag Hospital, answering questions all the way and having my vitals taken over and over. Once I arrived, I was taken into a cubicle and asked to repeat the narrative many more times.
Everyone who tended to my care for the next four hours was very empathic. They all called me “dear,” which felt like a term of endearment. The attending looked like McDreamy on “Grey’s Anatomy.” I wasn’t complaining.
It took some time for the portable X-ray machine to be wheeled in to confirm that there was no break or fracture in my ankle. That was a huge relief and allowed me to later make the snarky remark to my GP that a bone density test would not be necessary this year.
My body became a pin cushion for injections of tetanus, pain medication and a double dose of heavy duty antibiotics. Finally the PA stitched me up and I was on my way.
The Aftermath of Dealing with Life’s Curveballs
Once I had been escorted out pushing my brand new and wholly superfluous walker, I decided I was quite capable of going back to my office to keep my existing 4:00 pm appointment. After all, the client was about to embark on a Disney Cruise and needed some help planning healthy meals. After keeping that appointment I prepped for the next day and drove myself home as usual.
I ate dinner with my husband while trying to make sense of the day and then went on our usual after-dinner walk with my mummified leg. I was so numbed and drugged up that I was feeling no pain. After half watching my usual cooking and home remodel shows, I gingerly climbed into bed vainly hoping to sleep through the night. Not so fast! Pain issued a wake-up call in the middle of the night, so I quickly downed a Percodan and eventually got back to sleep.
I took another Percodan in the morning to keep ahead of the pain, did a short walk and went to work. I was feeling proud of myself as I got through the day until another curveball came whizzing past. Out of the blue, the room started spinning and I became nauseous. Somehow I faked my way through my last 2 appointments. Sometimes the side effects are worse than the pain. No more Percodan for me.
I hobbled through the weekend and was able to get in to see my primary care physician, who is wonderful, on Monday. Naturally, she gave me after-care instructions that were 180 degrees different from Dr. McDreamy’s. I chose to go with her, more current, regimen.
Today is one-week after the incident and I’m slowing getting my life back to some semblance of normalcy, testing the waters on resuming minimal workouts to help get the blood moving and the lymph moving out. I feel like a leaky faucet and I’m convinced that my legs were transplanted from a 95 year-old sedentary diabetic. Not my favorite look.
I’m Not Making Lemonade, But I’m on the Mend
I’m nowhere near noble enough to make lemonade from lemons, plus it would never be my beverage of choice.
But there certainly are some reasons to feel gratitude.
• My husband has been a saint and the incident has brought us closer together.
• The unbroken ankle bone has allowed me to pat myself on the back for working out.
• I will probably escape with just a nasty looking scar on my ankle.
• I’d rather be in my position than that of the woman who hit me.
• I’ve become an expert in effective wound care.
• I’ve gotten a surfeit of love and support from friends and clients.
• I’ll be a lot more careful as a driver and pedestrian.
• The ordeal has helped me appreciate normal life more.
• I got a good blog/newsletter story out of this.
Thanks for reading and I’ll write again next month, hopefully on a more cheerful health topic!
Thanks for reading about my experience with life’s curveballs.