(Now, what rhymes with mouse?)
Yep, I'm sick. Same cough/cold/sneezle thing I acquired in Hawaii, or possibly on the plane going to Hawaii.
So I've been feeling very sorry for my silly self, until I read something today that snapped me right out of it. Not out of the coughing, but out of my ridiculous self-pity. There are people starving tonight. There are people dying, and people suffering unimaginable pain. Cars are crashing and boats are sinking, and no one has found the answer to poverty, or put an end to war.
I'm a wuss, or worse than a wuss, and it isn't as if I never had a less-than-perfect Christmas.
Just before breakfast, December 25, 1992, my parents and my brother Rob and I were walking through the obstacle course that is my sister's driveway. I tripped over the tongue of the utility trailer and crashed, head first, into the side of the motorhome. Then I found I couldn't stand up straight.
My dad told my mother to go inside and call 911.
She ran inside, then came out again to ask, "Should I tell them we need an ambulance?"
Dad said yes, muttered something else under his breath, and Mom went back into the house. My brother took the things I was carrying, so I could lean, bent in half, on the hood of the nearest car.
My brother-in-law came out, wearing a Santa hat, and carrying two pillows, which he put under my hands so I could lean on the car without freezing.
Then the fire engine arrived. All the neighbors heard the siren, so they came out to see whose house was on fire.
Meanwhile, my niece Jodi was filming all the action from up on the balcony, to send to America's Funniest Home Video.
An ambulance arrived. Two paramedics jumped out and rushed at me with a backboard, forcing me to straighten my back so they could carry me away. My sister would tell you I screamed. I say I squeaked loudly. Whatever, I was rushed, screaking louder than the siren, to the hospital where I waited, and waited, and waited. "Triage" is the word they use for interminable waiting like that. People in danger of dying are dealt with first, while clumsy screaky females are put to the end of the line.
Throughout the day, various family members showed up to visit me. At one point, my father, brother, and brother-in-law in his Santa hat, were lined up at the end of my gurney, making me laugh. It hurt, a lot, to laugh. "Go away," I gasped. "I'm not ready for Peace Arch Hospital Meets the Three Stooges."
In due course, I was X-rayed, and was told I had, by hitting the motorhome with the top of my head, suffered a compression fracture in one of my vertebrae.
"What do you do for that?" I asked, expecting a body cast or, at the very least, Crazy Glue.
"Nothing," the X-ray tech replied.
"Nothing?" I gasped (it was a gasping kind of day).
"Well," he allowed, "they'll probably give you a shot of Demerol, so your family can fold you into the car to take you home."
|Photo by Richard Schear|
Now here we are, 18 years later and I'm married and living in another province, but, whenever I cough, I can feel a twinge in that one broken vertebra, right between my shoulder blades.
It makes me feel humble. Deservedly so.
It's the night before Christmas, and even if my husband brought home far too much fruitcake and too many fancy cookies when he went shopping today, I am at home, safe and warm, with a dog to cuddle, a family to call on the phone, hundreds of photos of Hawaii to edit on my computer, and there was a beautiful sunset here in southeastern Alberta tonight.
Merry Christmas, everybody!