Friday, January 23, 2009

Roller Blading Mishap

I broke my wrist last weekend. The Saturday started well enough with a bright morning and I skated around the park as usual. Sometime after my 3rd or 4th circle around the lake, I hit a twig that caused me to fall. I stayed in the hospital for nearly 5 days. I was operated on my 4th day and the doctor's placed a steel plate below my wrist. For 4 nights I stayed at a ward where the doctors decided when to operate on me. They wanted the swelling to subside before they could operate. So I stayed in bed with my left arm on a sling as I waited for the swelling to subside, played Solitaire in my phone, read magazines and slept. Mostly slept because I was tired and drawn out because of the accident.

It was my first operation and my close friend also had his heart operation scheduled last Monday. My operation was done on Wednesday. Of course my injury is trivial compared to him. But lying in the hospital bed, looking at the other patients, I felt the loneliness and vulnerability that one inevitably feels, waiting for doctors, the medicines they stick into your veins and the operation that will hopefully fix you. The patient beside me was a young boy who was strapped to his bed. He seemed to be having seizures and recently had a brain operation which I deduced as I saw a scar across his skull. There was always a member of his family with him. Usually, a grandmother in the mornings followed by the father, mother or sister as they come from work or school. But he was never alone.

Young nurses would come in the morning from the nursing college, rushing through the ward, talking and gossiping. They would come to replace the sheets in our beds or help the patients take their morning bath. Some nurses would help me wrap a plastic bag in my arm to protect it from getting wet as I took a shower. I usually take a bath and brush my teeth at dawn before 7 am before the doctors make their rounds. It was uplifting to wake up in the morning and to see so many young nurses busying themselves and trying to make the patients feel better. I now understand the novels I read about war and the nurses helping the wounded (or foolish like me). The hospital was very clean and I like the hot water in the showers in the morning.

During the days I was in the hospital, I was often sending text messages to my friends and colleagues. Mostly to tell them that I will be missing the Monday morning meeting or asking them to tell others I won't be attending an event or inquiring about my friends condition after his operation. There were times when I felt that fate is something that one cannot predict. I prayed that my friend and I will leave the hospital well and meet each other again. Possibly to have dinner in Chinatown like we usually do. I wondered if my accident was telling me something. That I should stop doing this silly things and focus on more serious matters. During those nights at the hospital ward I had a lot of time to think and play Solitaire.

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