Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ok, let's move on from my dogs now...

...and take a random trip down memory lane.

The first night of our girls' weekend, we had a lovely dinner at J's house, during the course of which I made a joke about her incredibly lethal chopping knives, and how if I was going to chop off my finger, or have any other accident for that matter, at least I would be doing it in the company of a doctor and an ICU nurse, which was reassuring.

"Oh no-no-no," said J, "You and I already did that scene. Once was enough." It's true. And it's related to why I'm running the half-marathon.

Several years ago I was in Denver on business while J was still doing her residency there, and I stayed on to visit her. She was working nights at the time, so I had a couple days to kill before she was free to play. One morning as she was sleeping, I walked to a nearby shopping mall. I wanted to buy some shoes.

There was construction underway inside the mall and they had put up temporary plywood walls to keep shoppers out of the work area. Kind of a safety wall. Except that one section of the safety wall was a little too long and heavy for its support posts, and as I was walking past it came loose, curling toward me in slow-motion as I moved almost but not completely out of the way. When the deafening clatter stopped, my right foot was pinned underneath the not-so-safe safety wall.

A security guard who looked about 16 years old rushed up as I eased my foot out gingerly. It hurt like hell. "Are you ok?" he asked anxiously.

"No, I'm not *#&@)(ing ok!" I said. (I am not known for the the most decorous language under duress.) There was much scurrying around, and a lady from the Aveda store offered me some Calming Tea, and the mall manager came out with the sort of expression that people get when they realize a lawsuit is looming, and finally I said - just put me in a cab to my friend's house. She's a doctor. She'll know which hospital to take me to.

Now, as the cab dropped me at J's house, and as I hop...hop...hoppped up the sidewalk to her door on my one good foot, a car accident occurred right behind me. A car screeched and slammed into a tree. I did not hear, see, or notice this accident in any way, despite the fact that it happened 20 feet away, because I was (a) intensely focused on the difficult task of hop...hop...hopping up the sidewalk and (b) probably in shock.

But the accident woke J up with a start from her deep sleep, so as I hopped into the apartment she sensed something amiss and said:
"Flora? Are you ok?"
"No, I'm not. A wall fell on me."
"Did the car hit the wall?"
I had no idea what she was talking about. "No, it was at the mall."
Pause...."The car hit the mall? I don't understand."
"What car?"
"The one that hit the wall!"

And so we went around for a few minutes, having our addled, Who's-On-First conversation, until we established what was going on. J looked at my foot. "Do you think anything is broken?" I asked. "It's starting to really hurt a lot now."

"Hell if I know," she said, "I'm a gynecologist. Let's get you to the emergency room."

While we waited at the hospital, I remember J on the phone, trying to get somebody to cover her shift that night, and saying over and over, "My friend from out of town had a freak accident." I remember trying to tell her I'd be fine on my own, and she said "Babe, you are going to be on crutches, and really good drugs. That is not a combination that should go unsupervised."

And then they gave me the really, really good drugs, and did some x-rays, and left me out in a hallway by myself, which J thought was scandalous but I wasn't caring a whole lot any more. I remember J saying, "I just met with the radiologist and looked at your films. You have so many broken bones in that foot, it's even obvious to a gynecologist."

So she took care of me (she was right about the drug-crutches combo), and helped me bathe, and helped me get copies of all my medical records to take back to Seattle, and got me to the airport, where the nice check-in lady asked me, with the glow in her eye that everyone in Denver had when they asked this question: "How did you break your foot?" Because, I was in Colorado, where it was just assmed that broken bones happen as a result of busting a really cool snowboarding move that made it all worthwhile.

"A wall fell on me at the Cherry Creek Mall," I said, for the umpteenth time by then.

Stunned silence. "Let me see if I can get you upgraded to first class, hon." 'Cause, dude? Breaking your foot without busting a righteous snowboarding move? That's just tragic.

Anyway, the broken foot is the reason I got out of the running habit. Which I'm finally rectifying with this half-marathon scheme. So between the marathon, and the girlfriend weekend, it seemed timely to take this particular trip down memory lane. The moral of the story: If a wall's going to fall on you, it's not a bad idea to have a gynecologist around.

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