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Birth Balance Blog

A series of topics related to preconception, pregnancy, labor, birth, bonding, and post partum issues. Feel free to make suggestions for future topics.

Requesting A Break – Part II

I have learned from my visits over the years, pretty much everything in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is fairly close together. Post office, right up the street. Need to go get milk, oh, that’s about 7 minutes away. Visits to my father, not more than 15 minutes.

Lundy Pavilion

The drive to Mercy Care Center takes all but ten minutes, yet in the excruciating pain pulsating through my ankle and leg, I bite my lip and redirect my mind to more pleasant thoughts. It’s funny, what keeps going through my head is, “This is all in divine order. Nothing is out of place.”

“Well,” I blurt out. “At least I look fabulous to go to the emergency center.” I washed and curled my hair; great make up, power-jewelry on and fashionable black and white New York outfit.

Mary turns and squints her mouth as if to say, “Like we really care here!”

When Mary parks the van, I manage to peel my body off the seat and slide out of the van, dangling my bulbous left foot, laden with a ten pound cool pack and 9 inch wide, 4 foot long support wrap. I wonder what’s worse, the break or the concentrated bowling ball at the end of my foot.

Mary runs around the side of the van and produces the metal walking sticks. The crutches, oh yes, crutches. I think I missed that course in the school of life. Mary HAPPENS to have a couple of sets, because not only has she had the privilege to take the course, her twenty something sons have also engaged in class as well. Without missing a beat, Mary chimes in, “These will save you a good $100 off the bill.”

Great! I ponder, now how the hell do I use them? OK, under the armpits, up against the side of the body, hang on at the palm poles and balance. Crutches first, hop on right leg next, all seems easy enough. Man, the lymph nodes under my armpits are really being activated. How in the world am I going to do this for a number of weeks???

Mary sees the terror in my face, reads my mind, she says, “You can’t put the crutches right under your pits. Rest them along side the body and focus your weight bearing on your palms.”

OK then, here we go. Doors are held open for me. People look on with faces of concern and pity. Avoiding the glances, I look down, one step, literally, in front of itself until I reach a cushioned chair in the waiting area.

Mary rushes over to the registration window and I prop my foot up over an adjoining chair just to relieve the pressure. There is a big burly, red headed, bearded, Harley Davidson man right across from me, with his girlfriend or wife. They both look on with empathy.

As I settle into the chair and my body for the first time since the fall, I feel my nose begin to burn, eyes start to water and I blink back crocodile tears while I experience a tightening around a regressed five-year-old mouth. I want to cry out loud but there are too many people. (Actually compared to NYC, there is hardly anybody in this waiting room. But this point anyone beside myself feels like too much!)

I see out of the corner of my eye Mr. Harley Man gets up and saunters over to me. “Wow, man, what happened?” he asks sincerely as the sound of chain jingles in his pocket.

“Oh, I broke it,” I cordially reply, fighting back the tears, avoiding eye contact.

I regressed at that moment, to a comment made by one of my black students at a high school I was teaching at 30 years ago, “You can always tell when a white folks are going to cry or have been crying. Your nose and eyes get all pink and shit.” I was at the ‘pink and shit’ stage. This man’s true act of grace and heart felt kindness, burst my dam and humongous tears poured out of eyes, rushed down my cheeks and onto my sheik New York attire.

“Ah, man! You’re goona be all right! I’ve broken so many bones in my body. It hurts, but you’ll get better real fast, ” Mr. Harley says to me as his huge palm pats my timid shoulder.

I gaze up at him with the tears streaming down my cheeks and splashing onto my chest. “Thanks.” I timidly grin with a sort of embarrassed and genuinely grateful response.

My sister sits down next to me after completing the duties of registration board, credit card exchange and other logistical procedures; I can’t begin to wrap my head around. Now I know what it’s like to a hospital in labor and am asked a million questions in the midst of all that is happening.

The wait is relatively short. I look at my watch and keep saying to myself, “I am already on the plane, already in New York.” The emergency clinic is so clean. Definitely the Midwest!

A woman opens a door and calls my name. I hobble and hop past everyone else in the waiting area then down the hall into the examination room. My sister has been invited to come with me. Hey, I need someone to carry my stuff.

The nurse asks a number of questions about my allergies, how did the accident happen and then proceeds to take my blood pressure. Before she does the reading, I take a deep breath out and calm my nervous system. 113 over 73. Mary comments, “Not bad for someone who just broke their ankle!” I have resolved myself early on there is no room for fear, only trust.

Ok then, what’s next? Radiology. A very large woman comes waddling into the exam room and says, “Follow me.” I feel strong, I feel powerful with my metal appendages. I keep the tops of the crutches against my body and not nestled into my armpits. My strides are long and steady. I am going to make the plane on time. Maybe even with time to spare.

She leads me into a huge empty grey room except for a long cold table. Up I go onto the cold slab. The technician takes my crutches and places them as far away from me as possible. She rambles on about the weather, her knees, pain, difficulty walking and slowing down. I keep on breathing and seeing myself on the plane.

She asks me if I could be pregnant and I say, “It would have to be a miracle if I am, because I no longer menstruate and haven’t had sex in awhile.” Her mouth opens, then closes and a little smile arranges around her mouth. “Alrighty then,” the technician lays a heavy apron over my ovaries and exits the area.

A large camera hovers over my leg. She asks me to lay the leg this way, prop it that way, turn a little more this way. Done! Good, on the plane, on the plane. She teeters back and forth as she waddles over in pain to remove the metal covering from my privates.

“OK then, it will take about 2 and a half minutes for the x-rays to process. Hopefully this will work because there were funny sounds coming out of the machine before you got here and I hope we won’t have to do it again,” she says in a gleeful voice while exiting the area.

“Oh great! That’s all I need is to vibrationally mess up the machine! I see myself on the plane, I am in NYC by tonight.” I ponder quietly.

The long, cold table is fairly uncomfortable so I sit myself up on my elbows, listening to Ms. Techie on the phone talking about recipes for the Sunday picnic. I also hear the x-ray machine buzzing and whizzing away. Breathe out, on the plane, tonight, today, easily, effortlessly, focus on what it is I want, only what I want and desire.

The machine clicks off…I wait for the conversation on the phone to end. It continues for another minute, then two, three, four, five, six. I’m losing now. I wonder if I should scream out in a New York fashion, “ Yo! The pie is done. Dinger has dunged! Helloooooo! X-rays are awaiting us.” But I don’t scream it out loud. I scream it in my head.

Breathe out, on the plane, seven, eight minutes, more conversations about food, food, food. OK, this is it, no more Ms. Nice Guy…I sit on the edge of the table, that feels like it should be holding dead people and I scream at the top of my lungs, “GET OFF THE F—-PHONE!!!” (Only in my mind though.)

All of a sudden I hear, “Well then, we’ll see you all on Sunday, bye bye now.”

I blurt out, “I think the x-rays are done. I’m a bit on a time schedule, I do have a plane to catch you know.”

She responds, “Oh, they ARE finished aren’t they?”

“DUHHH,” I think to myself, yet I contain that thought.

“OK, you are in luck, these did turn out, there’s an odd line across them, but looks like all is well.” She cheerfully chimes in. “Are you traveling first class?”

What an odd question, I think. “Ah, no, but if this can get me first class, I’ll work on that.”

She looks at me rather strangely and then proceeds out the door. OK, here I am, trapped in the room that echoes. I can’t reach my crutches, I am not really sure where she’s going and I still don’t know if it is broken or not. I guess I wait for her go and come back. Hopefully, she will stay focused and go and come right back.

I decide to go in my mind and slow down time. I do this sometimes when I am in a cab, stuck in traffic, working on not being late for an appointment. It works, quite readily, in fact. I imagine Ms. Radiology moving, floating to her destination and back with efficiency and grace. Five, six, seven minutes later she comes into the room.

More to come….look for Part III

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