When I Grow Old…

I broke my wrist on April 12th. I blame the woodchuck. He was running down a grassy hill, away from the pug and Frenchie and their sharp barking from behind a neighbor’s fence, toward his burrow near the trail on which Ben and I were walking, the one that runs along Lickinghole Creek. In my excitement I turned back to say something to my dearest, loss my footing, fell down and went boom.

It’s my right wrist, of course. On my dominant arm. Why would I bother to stick out my non-dominant arm in an attempt to soften what was a very hard fall?

It’s a classic break of my distal radius but does not require surgery. What it requires is immobilization for a few more weeks – six in total.

That’s the thing about life, isn’t it? You think you have yourself organized. You make plans. You set goals. You create deadlines. And then one chubby woodchuck charges down a hill and all that order you created in your head falls apart like a post-menopausal woman tripping over a tree root on a slippery dirt trail.

The first ten days or so were pretty miserable. Not because of the physical pain – although it was uncomfortable. It was the self-inflicted emotional pain that kept me feeling sorry for myself. I was so angry with myself. How could I have let the accident happen? And I didn’t expect falling down at sixty-four and one half years to be so very different from falling down at twelve and one half years. I was determined to live my life as if there wasn’t a broken bone in my right arm. I was determined to do everything by myself and refused to let Ben be the caregiver. I did not want to accept that what my body required more than anything was stillness and rest. I did not want to accept that what I needed to practice more than anything was patience.

Our bodies have innate intelligence. And my body’s innate intelligence refuses to go along any wacky ideas I have about chopping vegetables or cleaning house or going to the gym. My body is more interested in sitting on the porch, taking gentle walks that do not involve woodchucks and hours spent reading. The true healing began when I finally acquiesced to these little requests from my body for some peace and quiet. 

Now that my body and my brain have reached an understanding – let’s be honest: it’s less of an ‘understanding’ and more of an ‘acceptance’ – I’m almost enjoying the unexpected interruption to my regularly scheduled programming. It helps that I can use a keyboard again. And that my cast is a pretty shade of grape. It reminds me of that Jenny Joseph poem, ‘Warning’ – the one that begins, ‘When I grow old, I shall wear purple…’.