SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
Author’s note: I wrote this column in late summer, and kept it as filler in case, for some reason, something happened to keep me from writing a new one. Now, in early November, my fiancée is getting over the flu and I’m coming down with it … once you’ve read this, you’ll get the irony.
Frankly, at this point I’m afraid to move.
This summer was, in my family, a variant of Murphy’s Law that reads, “Anyone who possibly could get injured, will be.” Now, I don’t recall in exactly what order these things happened; I took notes, but when I tried to retrieve them I stabbed myself with a pen.
But the highlight, for me, was when my fiancée received such serious injuries that people who didn’t know us thought I must have beaten her up. (People who did know us figured that if it was a fight, I’d be the one all bruised and bloody.)
We were taking a walk, which is something people do for recreation when they can’t afford a private jet. That particular area had no sidewalk (personally I think streets without sidewalks are a travesty; but as far as I know that section of street never has had one, and you can do only so much with without money. Unless you’re the Federal Government.)
I’d just handed Emily my cell phone, and she was talking to my sister-in-law as she walked beside me. Then she disappeared. Emily, I mean. Just – gone.
I looked down in time to see what appeared to be a baseball maneuver: Emily appeared to be sliding into – I don’t know, what bases do players slide into? Third? Fifth? In any case, she belly flopped, arms outstretched, half of her onto the pavement and half onto the very sharp gravel on a berm, which we hadn’t noticed was now a few inches shorter than the street.
It actually looked kind of graceful at first glance. Unfortunately, Emily hates sports.
Luckily, I have some experience in first aid. Stop laughing. We removed gravel, applied antibiotic ointment, bandaged wounds, and did all that other stuff I usually have to do on myself. I don’t recall the last time I saw road rash on someone who wasn’t riding a wheeled vehicle when they went down, but before I could tease her about reaching for the fly ball my sense of self-preservation kicked in.
Just another day in the Hunter household.
She also jammed her thumb, which I attempted to pull out while avoiding jokes about passing gas. At some point, some guys figure out what humor is appropriate and what isn’t, and I’m getting better at that. We thought it worked, until she ran into the whole problem of being utterly unable to move it. Hitchhiking? Out of the question. Not that I was about to let her get close to the side of the road again.
We got an X-ray, which was inconclusive. Apparently it was only a Y-ray, which revealed the hand might have a little chip broken from one of the bones, but maybe not, and they sold really nice knee and elbow pads at the pharmacy.
She was still in the healing stage when my mother called. “I just wanted to let you know before anyone else told you, that I broke my foot.”
My mother had fallen. But this wasn’t the time for someone to just fall, nor was it the time for her to just break her foot. She broke it so badly it had to be operated on. She broke it so badly the surgeon remarked on how unusually bad it was, and how if she didn’t remain perfectly still for the next thirty days that very same foot would turn itself completely around and kick her in the butt.
I’m paraphrasing, of course.
But wait, it gets better.
I’ve hardly mentioned my own various injuries because, let’s face it, me getting hurt is old news. I did learn during this same period that kneeling on the ground, while throwing bricks laterally onto a pile when the heat index outside is 100 degrees, will result in dueling problems. Basically, when I regained consciousness I discovered I couldn’t use my elbow without screaming in agony. Once the neighbors were sure I hadn’t fallen off the roof, they went on their way; me screaming is not a new experience.
(The doctor later diagnosed lateral epicondylitis. See? I told you it was bad. Sounds so much more serious than tennis elbow.)
It’s amazing how much you can hurt yourself just by tossing several dozen bricks to one side while blinded by sweat. Okay, the amazing thing is that I didn’t lose any windows.
Meanwhile, Emily was getting an ear infection, which was not only bad itself but also might interfere with an upcoming dentist appointment. The doctor, wondering what could possibly happen next, was surprised to discover she didn’t have an infection at all. Good news – that was different. Maybe she had TMJ issues? TMJ means … um … the jaw joint. Yeah, it means Too Much Jaw. Yep. She’d be X-rayed by the dentist the next day, so maybe he could check it out.
These guys are in the same building, by the way, a building that started glowing just from Emily’s X-rays.
So the dentist discovered Emily has … get this … wait for it …
A dislocated jaw.
I’m telling you, this woman has a high threshold for pain. She wouldn’t even have noticed the bricks.
Apparently she landed so hard that her jaw actually bounced off something, maybe her own shoulder, and she didn’t notice because of the pain elsewhere. That’s one tough cookie. That’s tougher than my cooking, which has also dislocated jaws.
Jeez, it’s been a rough summer. I can hardly wait for fall … um, autumn.
Uh oh – I think my sister-in-law is still on the line.
See? I should also note that since completing the original column, I fell out of a tree … but I guess that’s fuel for a sequel.