I was fresh off a family weekend. My parents, little brother and even my dog came for a visit to SLO and I had enjoyed the many perks. I’d slept in a giant hotel bed, hiked, eaten out, and been generally doted upon. I had said my goodbyes in a bit of a hurry in order to attend a sorority roller-skating event. Mind you, I’m not a skater. And here’s why. Three hours later, I was on the phone with my mom sharing my unfortunate and slightly embarrassing news. A mere five minutes after tentatively shuffling around the rink and just a foot away from the safety of the wall, I took a fatal fall. OK, not fatal. But I broke my wrist.
Now, as I painstakingly type this using only my left hand and a limited number of fingers from my right, I have to choose whether to feel sorry for myself or learn how to deal. A broken wrist is really no biggie. Dealing with it on my own, however, is an unfamiliar kind of challenge.
As I walked myself to the ER (in the interest of full disclosure, my apartment is right across the street), I couldn’t help but reflect on past medical experiences. I remember (kind of) being escorted home from my wisdom teeth surgery where my beautifully made up makeshift couch-bed awaited me. My responsibilities included sleeping, movie marathons and eating homemade soup. Over this past winter break I recovered from a hand surgery on that very same couch. Again, all creature comforts were delivered to me and someone even kept track of my pain meds.
This time was a little different. A friend did escort me to the ER. And my brother did show up for a bit with my phone charger. But much of the four hours I spent there were spent alone. When I finally reached the front of the line, X-rays were decisive, bandaging was quick and an orthopedist was recommended. And mom wasn’t there holding my hand or scheduling my follow-up appointment the next morning. In fact, I would be driving myself to CVS for painkillers.
I now face the challenge of going to school and caring for myself with some limited capacity. Challenge accepted. Whether imposing upon one of my roommates to put my hair in a ponytail for me (thanks, Jules), or managing the child lock on the Tylenol bottle, every day has brought an unexpected hurdle.
But slowly and steadily, I am solving these issues on my own. A visit to the campus Disability Resource Center determined my school accommodations for the next six weeks. My solo venture to the orthopedist’s office stabilized my wrist with a flashy pink cast. And did you know that Microsoft Word has a dictation feature? Neither did I.
It’s a new kind of independence I’ve adopted. An “adult” kind of independence. Missing Mom and Dad right about now, but it’s not so bad.