Happy New Year! And, more importantly, Happy 71st Birthday to my Dad.
Growing up, whenever we had some bright idea of which Dad was skeptical, he would simultaneously exhale and murmur, “Hmmm” in a softly trailing off disapproving tone. Not enough to exactly stop us from our endeavors, but just enough to convey his concern and to plant a subliminal seed of doubt in our minds. Which usually meant personal injury for me when I ignored it.
In law school when I signed up to play intramural flag football for our team, The Tortfeasors, Dad uttered his signature hmmmm, and even added, “I wish you wouldn’t do that. I have seen lots of injuries from that.” Dismissively, I said, “Oh, Dad, I’ll be fine.” And I was perfectly fine right up until the last game when the referee stepped in front of me and the collision knocked me backwards and the back of my head smacked the hard sod. The worst injury inflicted, however, was the unspoken “I told you so” in conversation with Dad as he diagnosed a probable minor concussion and major bruise to my ego.
This past Sunday after church we went with friends and their children to Beech Mountain for sledding. While driving up the mountain, Joel and I discussed that I would not sled because the last time I attempted sledding (two or three years ago), I ended up in the emergency room for a CT Scan of my neck after a particularly frightening spill. So, just to be safe I would just watch. We laughed about my accident prone nature, and how our current plan was the safest. Positively idiot proof.
Coincidentally, Dad called just then. “What are you guys doing today?” “Oh, we are taking the kids to Beech Mountain for free sledding.” And then I heard it. A barely perceptible hmmmm. I ignored it. After all, I would not be sledding. The kids would be sledding and on a reportedly tiny hill at that. But, Dad’s silence was conspicuously loud and filled with volumes of unspoken worries about sledding in general—-which I recognized all too well from years of growing up with a doctor and a nurse for parents. As children and teens, my sister and I were unwillingly well informed about many “dangerous” activities and the horrible results from the same, usually preceded by “You haven’t seen what we’ve seen in the emergency room….” and then followed by an eye roll from us. Except that this time, Dad said nothing more except reluctantly, “Well, have fun.”
We arrived at the top of the mountain. Bright blue cloudless skies wrapped around the mountaintop. Tree branches glistened with thick layers of ice. It was extremely cold—in the teens —and slightly windy, and the sledding hills covered in deep white snow beckoned. Post card perfect! The kids ran up the hill with their sleds while Joel and I walked to the observation and landing area at the bottom of the hill.
I waved enthusiastically to the kids. Have fun! Yes, I see you! SPLAT. Now you see me, now you don’t! I’m up, no I’m down! I disappeared from Joel’s line of sight, and bewildered he turned and found me on the ground at his feet.
We had not been there even five minutes. Literally one minute I was upright and the next I fell sideways onto my outstretched left arm. I took a very hard fall onto packed snow and ice, and I knew instantly that I was injured. But, I popped up quickly from sheer embarrassment at falling in front of the crowd. You know, in the I -meant -to -do -that and never-let-‘em-see-you-sweat type of way with some nervous laughter as I stood up and shook off the snow and ice. Quietly, I said to Joel, “I think I really hurt my arm.”
We came home several hours later (after a truly fun day and during which the extreme cold helped somewhat numb the pain) and I went to the emergency room to confirm what I already suspected. I fractured my radial head and stunned my ulnar nerve. I am now casted and medicated and will have more x-rays in two weeks. Not to be defeated though, I typed this post one handed. Take that Beech Mountain!
I was not on a sled, I was merely near a sled. So for now, the final score is: Sledding 2; Suzy 0. Dang, I hate it when Dad is right.