Last Sunday afternoon, my friend, Joanna, invited me to go downtown to see a women’s sculpture exhibit on its final day. The same last Sunday my live-stream meditation stopped mid-stream for no apparent reason. I declined Joanna’s invitation as my husband and I had finally set aside two hours to work on search engine optimization for my website and YouTube channel. He is giving me his undivided attention until 5:00 PM (when the Notre Dame game starts). I prepared a latte and lay on the chaise portion of our living room couch, going through WordPress’ articles on best optimization practices. He cozies up.
Suddenly, the phone rings and it’s my daughter, crying, saying she is at the park up the road and has fallen off a skateboard. Her arm is in excruciating pain. I put down my latte and laptop and let her know help is on the way. My husband takes off to get her while my mind races. She walks in, still crying, and I realize we are most likely heading to urgent care. I take off the bandage a Good Samaritan has given her and see a very swollen, floppy forearm. I place my hand over her wrist to see if healing energy can help soothe the pain and/or inflammation only to feel her wrist pulling down energy like a famished hyena. Major trauma. We head out.
We find our way to UCLA’s ER. I am relieved to have an orthopedic hospital in my backyard. We are guided into the belly of the ER in the good company of UCLA’s team (a warm, friendly group of healthcare providers). The attending ER doctor looks at her wrist and gives us an immediate nod of “Yep, it doesn’t look good.” I start to wonder what this will mean for my daughter; She has just started her junior year with a heavy workload. I am keenly aware she has injured her writing, note-taking and painting hand. I want to think this is some life-shifting event for her, only to suddenly see it’s an emotional set-up for me.
X-rays are taken. They find she has broken her wrist in 4 locations. They suspect she perforated the cartilage just above the wrist, most likely requiring surgery. We are met shortly after by the attending administrator saying there is something wrong with our insurance. There is some type of hold on our policy. Given it’s now Sunday evening of a holiday weekend, I recognize there is not much I can do. I sign the papers assuming all responsibility. I will need to address the hold on Tuesday.
I am not someone who generally worries but couldn’t help wondering how much the ER bill will run added with possible surgery. I wonder if insurance will cover the injury given the hold. My mind wants to take me down Suffering Lane. Instead of allowing it, I watch the thoughts (and feelings) coming up one at a time. I do my best to give them my undivided attention so they don’t rope me in to the drama of the situation.
Under ordinary circumstances I would chalk this up to “life” but this is no ordinary time in my family’s life. Both my husband and I are pursuing our life’s work versus traditional employment. Expenses are closely watched. The feelings continue to arise as the ER team prepares to put her bones back in alignment. I don’t even want to mention the wrist bone is sticking out at a 30-degree angle. They pump up the injured area with lidocaine and ask us to leave so the orthopedic specialist can work on realigning the bones.
I head outside and allow the weight of the situation to hit me. It is nighttime. I just want to cry. I don’t like seeing anyone in pain, especially my little chickadee. I now understand why the doctor wanted us out during the procedure. My mind goes back and forth between the injury, the impact on her school, the insurance and what surgery might cost. I cry. I just need some relief and recognize life has set me up to feel some deeply suppressed emotions. I am powerless, upset and clearly not in control. There is no running away, nor any relief on this holiday weekend. The only thing I can do is cry. So I do.
I walk back in. The orthopedic doctor is pleased with the bone alignment. The last x-rays still indicate the need for surgery. He urges us to see a hand specialist right away. Without proper treatment, my daughter could see the early on-set of arthritis. After picking up pain meds, we head home. I see my laptop, latte and paperwork strewn across the couch. I am too tired to even figure out what just happened.
I wake up Monday and realize life just happened. I often set up my sacred medicine space by asking Royal Hummingbird to remind me to drink deeply the nectar of this life, even when the contrast is great and the road seems long and difficult. I am grateful to feel deeply even in the midst of this uncertainty. I am reminded I can work my way through anything, even major ER bills. I know her wrist has been tended to by the best.
Tuesday comes and the insurance situation seems to be reconciled. We head off to our first round of specialist visits. My daughter is in great spirits, the most capable person I know of spinning love and ease into life’s challenges. I am a little lighter for the tears and fears I shed Sunday night outside of the ER. I am lighter and ever more grateful.