A couple of days ago, wordpress sent me a congratulatory message on my dashboard. The baby “Travelogues of an African Girl,” had clocked two years. What a milestone!
I have an idea about turning two from my visible ‘flesh and blood’ child. I recall the phase as one that turned a happy curious baby into a tantrum-throwing toddler. It was a period marked by my oscillating between begging, bargaining and most times bribery. Part of the time saw me crawling up walls in despair, I kid you not. We survived simply because children grow fast, and the end of that phase lead to the beginning of a calmer one.
The cyber toddler on the other hand has already had her share of drama; with a bubbly entrance followed by starts and stops for the past few months. At a period where I am meant to be setting off; I have to pace things for a while, sit pretty so to speak, thanks to an accident.
The thing about accidents is that they arrive without notice, and have a knack for re-arranging life’s agendas. They also teach you to pause and reflect on how fickle life can be, how fragile the human body is and the strength of the spirit. Accidents have you reconsider what you deem important; and if you’re a parent, accidents can suddenly separate you from the little people you love.
I got injured badly, with a bloody gash on my foot and a somewhat twisted leg. The ambulance arrived shortly after, to take me to hospital. I thought I had just suffered a dislocation and would be home by sunset, but X-ray came back with the grim diagnosis: my thigh bone was broken, and I had to be admitted to hospital.
I must say there’s no fury quite like femur fracture pain.
When the nurse asks, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad would you rate the pain?”
You say, “20 out of 10 bad,” because the pain takes all of your focus, and has you intermittently howling and shrieking in every shade and tone possible, regardless of where you are or whom you are with.
The femur is one of the strongest bone in the body. When I was admitted to hospital, what the medical team did in the quickest fashion possible; was to stick a catheter up my urinary tract, get an intravenous line running, make sure the heart rhythm was in order before ferrying me off to the theatre. Theatre because the location of the break ruled out a cast. So with a couple painful pricks to my spine; the lower part of my body numb, I was ready for surgery.
I was a little perturbed as I lay on the operating table. Sleep wasn’t forth coming and it seemed that I was to be awake for the hour and forty-five minute procedure. Despite having no feeling below my waist, I requested to be knocked out completely; reason being that I have a vivid imagination and didn’t want to construe any movement as being sliced up and metal screws set in place to hold the bone together. When I came to, the surgeon announced that the surgery went very well, in a tone that suggested I had something to do with it going well, when all I did was pray and black out.
I was in intensive care for an hour or so. It was an empty place with many monitors, but none of the screeching, blinking lights and hooting I had in a previous ICU experience. My blood pressure was low, and they had to stabilize everything before sending me back to the ward. A few days later I was back home, testing the limits of what I could and couldn’t do.
The recovery process is a hurdle that involves waiting, healing, physiotherapy and baby steps; a slow down that doesn’t include sprinting after buses, boats, trains and flights. The travel bug has to be quietened down a notch.
It can be frustrating, so attitude is everything. The first day after I came out of hospital and hobbled outside my apartment with the walking aid, I took time to feel the cold misty air on my skin and appreciated it. I looked more intently at flowers and vegetation each time I paused to relax. I have the space now to read books that have been gathering dust in my possession; the minds of Eleanor Roosevelt, Mike Murdoch, C.S Lewis or Malcolm Gladwell. Other times I swipe the ipad and google “How long it takes for broken bones to heal.”
Who knows whether it’s time to change gears?