Thursday, July 06, 2006


Can only one side of your body be accident prone? I was examining my still weeping/seeping/oozing boo-boo on my left foot where it was smashed by the Frozen Fowl last week (BTW, earning me the nickname of "Chicken Foot" at work) and noticed that it was the same foot that I injured when I was 16.

First, let me give you a bit of history so you can understand my question. All of us girls were active and thus accident prone. We were on a first name basis with the emergency room nurses and the Doctors all knew us as well. Between the 5 of us we had multiple incidents of stitches & broken bones; foreign objects stuck in windpipes, noses & ears; and 2nd & 3rd degree burns (Teresa threw a match in gas, human torch, but a story for another time). For whatever reason, my left side seemed to catch hell most of the time. I'll just hit the highlights or this post would take forever.

When I was 4, I fell while climbing on Dad's pile of scrap metal and broke my left collarbone. I don't really remember it, but Mom claims that’s why my left collarbone sticks out farther than the other.

I was around 12 or 13 when my sister Lana, pissed off for whatever reason, swung at my head with a returnable drink bottle. You remember the ones I'm talking about, real glass, quart size, with a screw-on top and heavy as hell. I blocked the blow with my left hand and she broke my pinkie finger. The darn thing junted out at a 45 degree angle from the bottom knuckle!! At the time, Dad said it was just out of joint, yanked it straight and wrapped it with an Ace Bandage. A week later, the thing's still swollen and purple, so Mom took me to get it x-rayed. Yeah, it was broke. Now it's crooked and has a hump on the inside of the second knuckle. But hey, I can bend it sideways, always a neat party trick and a great ice-breaker with the opposite sex. Men just love those kinda odd-ball things in a woman.

Moving on, age 14. Donna, Ricky Speegle (one of our neighborhood posse) and I were climbing a huge walnut tree in the pasture. I was wearing soft-soled moccasins and it had started to rain. I slipped on the wet bark and fell a long-long way down, landing on my back with my left arm twisted behind me. I must have sunk 4 inches into the ground and was lying across a ditch. It knocked the breath out of me and all I could do is lay there and try to suck some air in my lungs while Donna hung off a branch, looking down at me and yelling "Are You Dead?" When both of them got to the ground and got me up, my hand was on backwards and my arm was turning really interesting colors.

We walked home, I took a bath (couldn't to the hospital with all that mud on me) and on to the emergency room. Not broken, but both wrist and elbow dislocated. The Dr. claimed that the only reason I didn't break my back was because of the mud cushioning my landing. Before the thing healed, I went through 5 casts, what with being thrown in swimming pools, getting hit in the cast by a softball and getting thrown off a horse (several times). For years afterward, every time I used my left hand to pick up anything over a few pounds, my wrist would pop out of joint and someone would have to grab my hand and yank it back in place.

Sweet 16 (now comes the foot part). I was mowing the back yard with a push mower when I hit a large piece of gravel at the edge of the driveway. The mower blade broke in the center, where the bolt goes through it. Half slung out the front and half out the back. That back half got stopped by my foot! I stumbled into the house yelling for Mom, a stream of blood squirting out with every heart beat and my big toe hanging on by a scrap of skin. The cool thing was, the blade hit so hard that it knocked all the feeling out. It didn't hurt; my foot just looked like a prop out of some Slasher/Horror Film (Curse of the Bloody Foot, perhaps?).

Mom, being used to bloodshed and mayhem, calmly wrapped my foot in a bath towel, loaded me in the station wagon and headed to Moulton. Everything was fine until she turned into the emergency room entrance and hit the speed breaker there. The thump caused my foot to slap the floorboard and all those severed nerve endings woke up at one time! The nurses rushed me inside , gave me a wonderful don't-give-a-damn shot, numbed my foot and then I sat up and watched Dr. Willard reattach my toe. He kept up a running commentary the whole time, naming and showing me the tendons and blood vessels as he sewed them back together. It was almost like watching the Discovery Health Channel. I bet not many of you can claim to have actually watched while a part of your body gets sewn back on!

The toe healed, eventually, but it took all summer. I left school for the summer on crutches and started the next term still on crutches. I got blood poisoning (for which they OD'ed me on penicillin, causing me to forever be allergic); slipped on spilled oil in the garage & fell, re-breaking the darn thing, and developed strong arms from hobbling around on those cursed sticks. A summer not being able to motivate is hell for a teenage girl, even if I did have a cute guy visiting on his motorcycle!

NOW……. The 1-ton-frozen-chicken smacked right on top of the tendon (which was cut and sewn back together in the past) that runs from my ankle to the reattached toe. The damned tendon is red, swollen and has a chunk of meat gone.

My left side is jinxed! True, the right has had a few injuries; I'll tell you the story about the ring of scars circling my upper right thigh - left by a flying, shredded beer can sometime. BUT……. What can I do to make the left side of my body less vulnerable? Hell, I'm 50; I don't heal that fast anymore! I refuse sit on the couch, quit doing anything that I want, or wear some kinda padded suit.

Oh well, you gotta die of something. Just make sure my good side is to the front when I'm in the coffin…….

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