Broken-hand experience eased by ER’s kind, competent attention. I was supposed to be in the air on my way to Paris today. Instead, I am typing this column with one finger on my left hand.
My broken right hand, according to my friend Sandy Buff, looks like a leftover Halloween costume – a mummy appendage or a puppy’s hurt paw. ” Not a very good costume,” she adds.
I fell. I slipped on a wet walk while rushing about getting ready to drive to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a speech and book-signing. I drove on to the University of Alabama, held forth an hour, signed a few books in terrible handwriting, then went to the emergency room for an X-ray.
I still would be feeling sorry for myself except that gets pretty boring after the first day or so. Once you’ve whined to two or three people about how you’re supposed to be at a cafe on the Place des Vosges, not sitting around talking to them, the obvious hits you. Compared with most folks, I’m still lucky. Compared with most people in that emergency room, I’m lucky.
It didn’t feel that way that day. I’ll admit it. For several long ER hours, I sat and watched ESPN announcers round on Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton, whom they had elevated to a demi-god in previous weeks. Now he was a greedy scoundrel. Guilty in the court of pundit opinion. The about-face was dizzying.
Dozens of red-clad waiting-room denizens sat riveted to the small screen looking satisfied and vindicated. ” Everybody’s known about this for months,” one man with a big crimson belly said between potato chips. I wanted to slap him with my good hand.
” Nothing good comes of wading into enemy territory,” I thought to myself. “I deserve this.”
I could have kept a good slow burn going for days, but for the amazingly kind doctor and nurses who saw to my injury. I’ve never been treated as considerately as I was in that ER, by professionals who had lots more to deal with than one clumsy woman’s metacarpal.
Doug Woodward, who hails from Mississippi, was a doctor so young and handsome he could have played one on TV. Nurses Beth Gaines and Beverly Wilson were patient, unrushed and capable. I forgot all about the pain, the pundits and Paris.
Well, maybe not all about Paris.
Right now the challenge is learning to eat, dress, type and otherwise function with my long-subordinate left hand. It is amazing how you can adapt when fate forces your hand, if you will.
I can read, drink, watch football and seethe without much adjustment. And I’ve remembered that the fastest typists in the newsrooms of my youth were always the two-fingered, hunt-and-peckers, old-school reporters who never had a typing class.
Sandy Buff says I don’t need to brush my hair or apply makeup anyway. With my mummy claw, it’d just be wasted effort.
Rheta Grimsley Johnson is a syndicated columnist. She lives in the Iuka vicinity. Contact her at Iuka, MS 38852.
Rheta Grimsley Johnson