Thursday, January 18, 2007

Facing Fears

Ok, so it's kind of a bizarre fear, but I have this thing about not wanting to saw into anyone's arm.

Let me take you back to 1982...

I was age four, and just as difficult then as I am today. My younger brother was in the middle of his swimming lessons. My mother sat on the front row of the bleachers with the mother of one of my older brother's friends. I didn't have any friends of my own around that day, so I was kind of playing tag-along with the older bro. He and his buddies were jumping off the end of the bleachers onto the ground, and took off running around somewhere. I decided I wanted to be cool and jump off the bleachers, too.

I approached the end of the metal bleachers cautiously, and looked down. Although they couldn't have been more than 5 feet above the ground, it still looked pretty high up to me. I looked off in the distance and bit my lip. My brother and his friends were still chasing each other. There was no one egging me on, no one taunting me, but I still didn't want to chicken out.

The next thing I remember was the crack of my arm beneath me as I landed on the cement on the side of my body. I had gotten too scared to jump off the end. Instead, I decided that if I rolled off the end I could turn myself around mid-air like the falling black cat I had seen on television and land on my feet.

It didn't work.

My mom carried me over to a lifeguard who said that I was fine, but my mom could see the gross deformity in the shape of my arm. My mom left my brothers in the care of her friend and took me to the hospital. I still remember thinking that if I stopped crying that I wouldn't have to go if I could convince her that I was fine, but that didn't work either.

Hours later I had a heavy plaster cast on. I had midshaft fractures in both my left radius and ulna. After many weeks of taking baths with a bread bag over my cast, I finally went to the doctor's office for a follow-up. I still remember sitting in the waiting room. My mother had dressed me in one of my better outfits, a navy blue dress. We went back behind the waiting room door, where they proceeded to cut off my cast with a rotating saw blade that looked like a pizza cutter. By the end of it all, my dress was coated in white powder. And, during the process, they underestimated the padding of the cast and cut into my forearm. It wasn't very deep and I don't recall it really hurting, but I still have the scar.

Today, I helped cut off three casts, and felt a little panicky when we got out the saw. It worked out well enough, but was I was more than a little nervous. I guess now I can cross that fear off my list.

Next week: spiders? Maybe not.


~~Silk said...

The very thought scares me, too, and I've never even seen it done! The very sound would send me screaming.

ru said...

and for some reason I have a mental picture of you sawing off tiny little casts from a tarantula. Nice.

Chris said...

As great as your post was, RU's comment was even better:)

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ru said...


I can still see her teal-colored tights and striped tops. Maybe that's why I've never been keen on running.