Man Down

It started on Tuesday. I decided I’d go running on my lunch because it was such a beautiful day. I work very close to a big busy park so I try to get out and about whenever I can.

I was running (in realtime, a chubby thighed jog) when I must have missed a large uneven sidewalk hunk. I was going downhill, had some momentum and I just full on, bit it. Not even a little stumble, a quick trip and I was laid out. Luckily I had put my new phone screen protector on the day before because my phone landed on its face and the cover shattered.

A guy drove by in a station wagon and stopped to see if I was okay because he’d seen me go down like a ton of bricks. What a sweetie, people are so kind. My hands were bleeding, my right knee was skinned up and my left arm was throbbing. It was kind of a cool experience to feel the adrenaline. I looked at my bleeding hands and realized they were completely numb. I couldn’t feel any pain there. God made our bodies so amazing.

I was about 5 minutes into my run when I fell, so I proceeded for 30 more minutes and headed back to work. As the rest of the day progressed, my left arm really starting hurting. I went home, iced and took ibuprofen like a mofo.

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t turn myself over. I had one useful arm and I groaned to myself as my immobility resembled that of person who had a stroke. I also noted I was getting a sore throat, just what I needed before the weekend.

The next morning when I went to get dressed, I could barely do it. I had a lot of pain and couldn’t reach my left arm straight out to put my scrub top on, let alone over my head to do my hair. My left arm is my dominant arm so I knew right quick that I was screwed. Needless to say, I went to work looking like Don King.

It is very humbling to have one arm. Let me just say, God bless individuals who are paralyzed and have had strokes. I’d even take a metal claw option at this point if I had it.

This was the morning of the long awaited installation of my Invisalign A-Dult braces. I gimped in there with my one good arm, holding the other like a T-Rex. They cemented knobs all over my teeth, gave me 10 weeks of retainers and I was off.

I wanted to stop for a coffee at my favorite shop on the way, but the toof people told me the only thing I could drink with these babies in was clear liquid. Wtf. Shit just got real y’all.

I got to work and my arm was so worthless, I decided to ask a good doctor friend to give me a quick assessment. After some quick probing, he suggested I go to the urgency room as he suspected I might have a small fracture. So there I went starving, as I hadn’t eaten all morning, and sporting a new lisp.

To take these bitches out, with my one non-dominant hand was an act of God. I  realized I would’ve ideally coped with my arm and sore throat by eating, but even that was unenjoyable now. I had to face the music today using real coping skills.

I found something positive as soon as I thought about it. I’m going to lose some weight with my A-Dult braces! Every time I eat, snack or drink anything but water, I have to take my plastic retainers out and brush my teeth. Weight Watchers doesn’t have anything on Invisalign.

At the urgency room, I found out I had a hairline fracture of the radius bone in my left forearm. Yep, I’m a 33 year old with osteoporosis light. Who falls at my age exercising and ends up with a fracture simply from their own weight? Seriously people.

They hooked me up with a sling and told me to take care of myself. Well fuck, I knew nobody else was going to. In fact on my way to urgent care and back to work, I drove my manual stick shift car with my one good arm. I had to switch off between steering and shifting because I couldn’t reach the wheel with my left hand.

So I show up at work with this tyrannosaurus arm, a worsening sore throat and an aching mouth with cankers all over my cheeks. I thought to myself, this is your life right now Andrea; in Ebonics, you be fucked. There isn’t anything you can do. Except maybe hideaway for a bit. Now is probably a good time to take yourself out of the dating 3-ring circus. What dude is going to put up with these cemented tooth appendages? And I won’t want to let anyone near me with these open battle wounds in my mouth. Dayum (Pron: daaauum).

A friend of mine had Invisaligns before me and someone thought she had a rare mouth disease which produced tooth growths. Turns out invisible is a bit of an overstatement.

That night at happy hour, I told my friends about my debacle. The worst part of all of this is that I had planned a trip to Colorado with my cousins for the long weekend, months ago. Between my arm, teeth and throat, I was screwed up the crick (Pamism) on this deal. I was fucking going, hell or high water. Turdble teeth, well functioning arms or not. Anyway an airport mimosa would fix me right up. If my grandma was here, that’s what she’d do. She used to say “Andrea, I’m going to do it all!” Yep Mimi, that sounds like a plan.

My good friend later said to me: “Andrea, if today is as bad as it gets, it’s still pretty good.” Valid point Jesse. Life was good.

My mouth was raw with sores but now maybe I could listen more to others, instead of talk so much. And my left arm was hurting and worthless, but maybe I could take things at a slower pace and practice gratitude for all the things I can still do. Which is a lot. Health is such an amazing blessing that we sometimes take for granted. When I am sick or sore, it puts things into perspective for me. I am grateful for that.

The next day my friend from work gave me a ride to the airport so I didn’t have to struggle with one arm.

I boarded my plane and sat next to two friendly guys from Baltimore. We played the ‘life game’ where we made up story lines for all the people we saw. We ordered ‘a la carte pops at $3 a can. (Spirit flight attendants should wear black and yellow straight jackets.)

I glanced out my window and saw “Howdy” written on the wing; it felt like a message just for me. I smiled to myself until the tie-dye shirt Baltimore guy interrupted me with Whitney Houston playing outloud on his phone. He told me how the Bodyguard was his favorite movie and how he wanted nothing more but to love someone the way Kevin loved Whitney. He wanted to have kids and be an amazing father. This made me smile too. I love when people are unexpectantly open and vulnerable like that.

The guys ordered some shots, which they insisted I share and mixed one into my Diet Coke. I was wearing my arm sling and told them about my fall. They heard about my dental extravaganza and inspected my plastic teeth, swearing they couldn’t tell I had Invisaligns. That was probably true as they had been cut off from the stewardess Amy on the flight from Baltimore to St. Paul. They had on vacation Crown Royal goggles, but I was down with it. They were gentlemen and we chatted the whole flight to Denver. They even helped me get my carry-on up and down from the overhead compartment and helped me to the airport pickup area to wait for my cousin.

As I’m sitting here licking my bottle of instant oral pain relief liquid, I’m thinking about how good life is. I’m in Colorado now, just went to my favorite coffee place and had a Viennese cappuccino. Next stop: Trinity Brew, Colorado Springs. I’m going to drink beer with Emmy until my mouth goes numb. Then I’m going to spend the weekend with the two best cousins a gal could ever have and I know we’re going to have a blast.

In spite of wearing an arm sling and huge hiking boots with yoga capris on the flight here, while sporting a rats nest of a hairdo, some Baltimore cuties wanted to visit with me. I made new friends, people were chivalrous and caring and I have a new appreciation for having two arms.

This T-Rex may be getting pulled up a hill by a leash tomorrow while she hikes, but I’m going to keep my chin up and do it all baby.

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