Photo by Kirsten Hively
If there’s one thing my broken arm has provided, it’s a healthy dose of perspective. And what is perspective, really, but a way of being thankful — thankful that things didn’t turn out even worse.
So even though I’m dealing with an awkward, frustrating situation, I’m thankful that I broke my non-dominant arm, so my dominant hand is still free to do important stuff (see above). I’m thankful that the accident involved no blood or scrapes or anything like that — just the two broken bones. I’m thankful that I don’t have to commute to a job every day, which would be tricky. I’m thankful that I lost the ability to type for only a few days. I’m thankful that my ESPN bosses have been incredibly patient and supportive, basically telling me, “Take as much time as you need to get better — no pressure.” I’m thankful for having so many wonderful friends who’ve brought me food, done my dishes, moved my car, helped me shop for heavy items like cat litter, and more. I’m thankful that just about everything I need, including my orthopedist and my hospital, is within walking distance of where I live. I’m thankful for having reasonably good health insurance that will cover a good chunk of my medical expenses, and enough savings to cover the rest. I’m thankful that the weather hasn’t been too cold since the accident, so I haven’t to worry about bundling up in all sorts of layers while my arm’s in a sling. I’m thankful that, in an odd way, the accident has been good for my Mom, because it gives her a good reason to get all concerned about me and lets her be a Mom again, which is what she does best. Most of all, I’m thankful that my home, my pets, and my belongings were unharmed by the terrible hurricane that took place just two days before my accident. So many other people in my city weren’t as fortunate (some are still without heat and/or electricity), and what I’m going through is nothing compared to what they’re dealing with.
A few nights ago, I strapped my arm into its sling (I tend to use the sling when I’m out and about, because it sort of tells people to be careful around me, don’t bump into me, etc.) and went out to have drink with my friends Matt and Rebecca. At one point we looked across the room and noticed this girl sitting at the bar with a cast on her leg and pair of crutches propped up next to her. I’ve kinda gotten used to being the only cripple in the room over these past few weeks — who did this chick think she was?
I went over to her. She had three or four friends standing around her, but they stepped aside as I approached, realizing that she and I were about to have a broken-bones summit meeting. “Hey,” I said, “I’m kinda used to being the only cripple in the room.”
She laughed and said, “Yeah, me too.” We spent the next 15 minutes comparing stories and experiences. I thought her broken ankle sounded way worse than my broken arm (“At least I can still walk!”), but she saw it the other way around (“At least I can still open jars and chop vegetables!”). Once our conversation had run its course, we parted, each of us thankful not to be in the other’s shoes.
Happy Thanksgiving. Peace. — Paul