The next thing I remember (and wish I couldn’t frankly) was the sound of my head bouncing off the concrete floor. From this point until my arrival in the Emergency at Memorial Hospital, memories are scant at best. I can recall profound pain in my lower back and total blindness in my left eye. Yes indeed, good times.
Once I was actually taken from the ambulance on the transport gurney I became slowly aware of my changing surroundings. Questions. Someone keeps asking me questions. I probe my mental storehouse for something approaching answers. I can find neither words, nor sentences, let alone answers. My less than ideal lucidity denied me access to any coherent response. Or, any response at all.
It was becoming increasingly obvious that things were less rosy than I persisted in believing them to be. This notion was confirmed as someone proceeded to cut my pants off with unnecessarily large scissors. Now, there have been times when having some nice nurse remove one’s trousers could conceivably be a rather welcome experience. In this instance, however, the nurse in question was a rather beefy looking fellow with a biker beard and possessive of none of that delicate finesse one might reasonably expect from someone engaged in dissecting one’s trousers from stem to stern. That is to say nothing of the discomfort of cutting devices of any kind so close to my body’s southern hemisphere.
I glanced to my left long enough to see a most disconcerting sight, one that would only take root in my conscious mind much later. A different nurse, female this time, who enjoyed a healthy and welcome ability for bringing a breezy levity to an otherwise not so chipper circumstance, held in her careful hands what appeared to be an arm. The hand at the end of this arm was pulling the very cool geometric feat of reaching all the way to the forearm with the fingers and was tilted to one side. It was just this physical impossibility to which I was awakened some weeks later upon my return to what would become my new “normal” for some time.
It is at such moments when I realize what a gift shock can be. Hence, in the growing light of my situational gravity I cackled some ridiculous quip or other, pleased with myself that the tough dude on this table still had “it”, even on royally shitty days like this one. They did not need to know that historically, my best defense against the worst circumstances is to dish up an extra helping of cheesy humor.
The nurse lifted the hand-like thing so it was once again parallel with the arm-like thing it was (thankfully) attached to. She proceeded to bandage it and then box it up in some kind of triangular splint that looked more like the packing inside a TV shipping box. She seemed delighted with her work, hinting that she was perhaps a new kid on the medical block. That said, I was elated that my arm was once again a straight prairie road instead of the physical version of a u-turn; no longer a tangent but a vector pointing in the proper direction. Up.