Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Story

Big Mister and I a few years ago...

I've heard (or second-hand anyway) that there are those who wonder what my story is. We all have a story, way more interesting than mine, but I would suspect that most of us can hide the evidence of life events a little better.

It's been 15 years today since I've experienced what I'll refer to as Chapter 4 in my life. Seems like an appropriate day to answer the question for those people who are too chicken-y to ask. (Here's a growth moment for you if you are chicken-y, just ask. Really. It's ok.)

Go get a cup of coffee, this might be a long one.
Chapters 1 through 3 of my life were relatively crisis free. As you can see from these photos, there is (visually, anyway) nothing out of the ordinary.

1976-I was 2.

My 1st communion-1983. (One of 2 first communions I would have. Jeez.)

1993 Little Miss's first Christmas

Chapter 4 begins on a sunny day in July, on a crowded lake, in a little town in southern Minnesota.

On this particular day, I bargained. I believe my words were, "If you try kneeboarding, I'll try water-skiing."

Shit. Now really, I have a hard time walking and chewing gum at the same time. To think that I could possibly be successful at balancing on two 6" pieces of board, let alone two pieces of 6" board in motion, makes me crack up to this day.

Right, give it a shot. See what happens. You have to keep your end of the deal, klutzy girl.

I climbed (I use the term loosely) into the water on the side of the boat. Deathly afraid of water, dark smelly lake water, and the possibility of any fish even grazing my feet; I clung to the side of the boat. Did I really have to do this?

Someone threw me a ski. Still hanging onto the boat, I wrestled with the damn thing to get it on my foot. The laws of gravity, buoyancy, and balance, plus an utter lack of grace and experience make it extremely difficult to put a waterski on with one hand.

"Um, hun, you need to let go of the side of the boat and use both hands to get your skis on."

Yeah, yeah. I let go of the boat and dropped into the water.

At the same time as I grabbed the ski, I saw a yellow rope out of the corner of my eye.

Now I'm under the water, what the hell? I felt a pop and thought to myself, "Oh, oh. Think my arm is broken."

I popped back up on the other side of the boat. {Darn, I don't have to try this anymore.} I went to pull myself back up into the boat fully prepared to tell those ladies that all bets were off, I was done. Forget the bargain.

{Note: I hate horror movies. The blood, the gore-I am purposely withholding the details of what next occurred.}

I will, however, attest to the power of adrenaline. My fiance (whom I will share a 15th wedding anniversary with in October) picked me up out of that boat. As he grabbed me, my bikini bottom caught on the hook at the front of the boat where you might wind a rope. This man has me cradled in his arms, while I am tethered to this boat by a pair of nylon panties, and pulls me free. He then proceeds to sprint with me up a large hill (I would guess the incline to be 70 degrees) and deposits me gently on the grass to an awaiting EMT.

{This man and I are about the same height and I am not built like an anorexic super model. Adrenaline. Human super power juice.}

I was transported by ambulance to a local medical center 20 miles away. I, then,was lucky enough, to receive my first helicopter ride to another facility farther away.

I remember having a few thoughts in those hours:
-my fingernails were so long. (I used to bite so when I resisted the urge and actually had pretty nails I was conscious of their length. I polished them wishing that someday I would have pretty hands like my sister.)

-whoever is crouching over my face needs to take a shower. they were volunteers, but still...

-I'm so cold.

-Do you really have to cut this swimsuit off? I just bought it.

I woke up the next day, with my left arm bandaged so much that it resembled a club. Seriously, I could have played Bam Bam in the next Flinstones movie PLUS I would've saved them the cost of a prop. Over the next 5 days (or was it 7?) the phone rang alot, flowers arrived, and the buildings on the hospital's sundeck literally swayed when I looked at them.

(morphine, a different type of super power juice.)

My first memory of home was big mister and I (little miss was 2ish and present but without a clue as to where her mommy has been or why the hell can't her mommy pick her up anymore) sitting in the living room. Lots of silence and then a realization, and then...tears. Lots of them. From both of us.

Apparently, the tow rope from another boat got tangled with the tow rope of our boat. My left hand got in between the two. Simple physics. Something has to give. Apparently, nylon tow rope is much stronger than bone under stress. (I can see a commercial in there somewhere-ala Mighty Puddy.) It' s like tying a string around a piece of licorice. Pull the string as tight as you can and eventually the licorice will break.

At 21, my radial ulna had been severed beyond repair. I was given an additional hat to wear. This one was labeled, "Upper Extremity Amputee". Add it to the collection boys, lets get on with it.

After 15 years , I forget. I forget that I can check the "disabled" box. I forget that to others, it may appear as if I could use a hand. (ugh. sorry for that one.) I forget that I have an obvious souvenir of a trauma that may evoke curiosity from those around me.

There are 2 things I cannot do; pull my hair into a decent ponytail and play piano with both clefs in harmony. This could be because I have short hair and could never really play the piano well, or I could chalk it up to Chapter 4.

There are more than 2 things I do know for sure;
-there is a reason for everything even if it's purpose has not been revealed to you
-there is such a thing as unconditional love
-Olga is a terrible name for an occupational therapist
-wearing a prosthesis is hot
-humor and sarcasm are essential to my survival
-attitude really is everything
-you can change a diaper, get dressed, paint your fingernails, ties your shoes, type, sew, blog, and ride a bike only using one hand
-I can still feel all 5 of my fingers that are no longer there
-sometimes you have to lose to gain
-your life can change in one little instant
That's it, the nutshell...not so amazing. Just getting up every morning, trying to make the most of it.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Thanks for sharing your story. :)

Love you!