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The Pickleball Chronicles: Part IV

One medical disaster at a time is not enough for the Duff family.

Photo by Lori Duff
Photo by Lori Duff

People have been asking me, and so I will tell you: we were able to find the diamond that fell out of my ring at the ER when my husband went back to the hospital to get my X-Rays prior to meeting with the orthopedist in Florida because I broke my wrist playing pickleball while visiting my parents.  The diamond was wedged against the wall behind a trash can near the chair he had been sitting in at the hospital waiting room.  Never one to leave well enough alone, he opened the specimen cup containing the ring to inspect my poor cut wedding rings while he was waiting, and the diamond must have fallen out then.  I do admire his dedication to the task.  I believe him when he said everyone was looking at him as he crawled around on his hands and knees with a flashlight in the middle of a public waiting room.

Anyway, when we last left off, my arm had just been set and put into a Big Blue Cast that weighed approximately 75 pounds.  I found myself unable to complete the simplest of tasks.  My dislike of the woozy feeling I get from narcotics was outweighed by my dislike of the throbbing, stabbing feeling I got without them (and by my dislike of the accompanying toddler-like whining sound I made.)  Therefore, between the cast and my being pretty well stoned, I was fairly useless and needed to be babied.  I hate this, by the way.  I pride myself on being strong and independent and I, well, wasn’t.

At first I washed my hair in the kitchen sink using the squirty thingie with help from kids who believed they’d hit the lottery because they were allowed to squirt Mommy’s head with water.  I used washcloths to clean the parts of me I could reach with my right hand.  Eventually I felt too disgusting for these stopgap measures and decided I would take a bath.  My husband and mother jockeyed for the “Who Takes Care of Lori Best” trophy. As a result my mother’s guest bathroom was full of grown people arguing about the best way to secure a Hefty bag around my arm in a reliably waterproof way. Eventually, my husband wisely realized he was arguing with a momma bear protecting her injured cub and left the bathroom.

It was then, four or five days after the Great Pickleball Fiasco, that I saw in the mirror, spanning my entire décolletage and continuing across my right arm, a purple line: the bruise mark, apparently, from where I slammed into the pickleball net.  Nope, being bathed by my mother at the ripe old age of 43 wasn’t humiliating enough.

I am proud to report that I survived it, despite some touch and go moments.

Somehow, my family made it back to our home on December 26th .  I made an appointment with an orthopedist here, who cut off the Big Blue Cast and replaced it with a Big Brown Splint, which only weighs 20 pounds, a vast improvement.  The plan as it stands now is to put a metal plate and six screws in my arm to hold the mess together and prevent the fragmented bone from collapsing on itself.  Along with my bionic wrist, I will be receiving a doctor’s note to carry around in my wallet to use whenever I go through a metal detector.

Because one medical disaster per family is not enough if you are a Duff, the day before my surgery, my husband went to the hospital to get four cortisone injections in his lower spine so he could walk without hunching over or limping.  He drove there, but he was being semi-sedated so I had to drive him home.   I forewent my pain meds so I wouldn’t have to drive impaired.  I looked a mess – I took the ever-present Chubsy and kept warm with my schmatta/poncho.  My hair was matted on one side where I had napped on it.  I entertained myself by playing dumb computer games in the waiting room.  Eventually the nurse came out and told me to bring the car around.  I pointed to my broken arm and indicated I couldn’t move so quickly.

Somehow, with one arm and no pain meds to soften the blow I was expected to carry Chubsy, my purse, my computer, and my husband’s jacket to the car with me.  I wondered how I was going to pull it off and decided that I should pull out my keys now.  Aaaaaand, of course I couldn’t find them.  I had a very specific memory of putting them in my purse, so I knew they should be there.  Unloading my purse and looking for my keys without another hand to hold the thing up so it wouldn’t tump over was proving difficult, so I embarrassed myself further by asking the nice couple I’d been sitting near for close to an hour to help me.  While they were unloading the random contents of my purse, the wheelchair guy stuck his head in the room and gave me a “why haven’t you gotten the car yet?” face.  I said, “I can’t find my keys.”  I heard my husband mumble groggily from the hallway, “I might have them.”  And so he did.  Why he took them out of my purse is yet to be determined.  So, the nice stranger people reloaded my purse.  I thanked them, dumped Chubsy and Mike’s jacket on Mike’s lap, and went to bring the car around.

As I was pulling the car around, my phone rang, and it was the folks from the hospital I was going to calling to give final details.  I have a built in Bluetooth in my car, so while the folks at Clearview Hospital were loading my husband into the car, the lady from the other hospital was blaring through the speakers to schedule my surgery for the next day.  This level of pitifulness made me laugh such a way that I feared that the nice young men with the clean white coats would shoot tranquilizer darts at me to make it stop.

And then I sneezed.  I am over 40, have had babies the regular way, and was hysterically laughing.

I’ll give you one guess what happened next.

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