|Photo by Ian Parker|
Two days after my birthday I was attending a party at a neighbor's house. It was nighttime when we returned to the car. My hands were full holding a large porcelain pie plate with a quiche. That day it had strangely snowed about 5 inches. As I tried to march up the mound of snow next to the passenger side of the parked car, I slid and then did a bizarre twist in the air. I landed, on rocks beneath the powdery snow, with the full force and weight of my entire body on the tip of my ring finger on my right hand. I lay face down in the snow with my outstretched right hand that had tried to rescue the porcelain plate from shattering and had itself been shattered.
I knew immediately it was a bad injury. When I got home I pulled my birthday ring off my finger since I was sure it was going to swell up. Which it did. That week it swelled up like a balloon and turned all shades of purple, then green, then yellow from the bruising at the finger joint. That week I decided not to see a doctor. Maybe it was just a bad sprain, I thought. Maybe it will heal up by itself if I baby it, I reasoned. I did my best to ignore my giant damaged finger. The problem was that I was down to the wire writing my new book and the publisher had given me a flat non-negotiable deadline. I had to finish writing the book that week. If a doctor put a cast on my finger I would never be able to finish the book. I worked furiously - using the old "hunt and peck" style of typing - and managed by some miracle to finish my book. By then, people were telling me I was stupid not to get it checked out since it could result in the loss of mobility in the finger.
The X-rays came back and, sure enough, the finger joint was fractured and the ligaments were torn as they had ripped a chunk of bone off the joint when they were stretched out by the injury. As I write this blog, I am struggling to type since my finger is still swollen and stiff. I was told yesterday that healing may take up to a half a year or more. When I asked when or if I could ever wear my birthday ring again, the physical therapist told me to wait a year and then I will know if it will be possible...
Last night I had a peculiar dream. I was walking with my husband and three "relatives" - although they were not people I knew. It was one very old couple, husband and wife, and one exceptionally old lady close to 100 years old. They wanted us to go sightseeing in their town. It seemed vaguely European. I surveyed the colorful townhouses and architecture. Suddenly, we found ourselves walking up an enormous arched bridge. They marched happily up the steep slope and talked about how it was the largest bridge in the world. I was amazed that these very old people seemed to be so physically fit that this hike didn't seem to bother them. The bridge seemed to climb up in a rounded arc into the mists of the sky. It was superb. When we reached the summit, I lost the others. They seem to have disappeared and taken a path down the other side of the bridge where I couldn't see. I stood there, a bit lost, and a man appeared from no where. He said to me, "You are at the top of the bridge. This is the most you will ever know about everything." The dream ends.
And so, as I get older, I find myself in a rush to hurry up and acquire the maximum amount of knowledge about everything and to learn all the secrets of the universe before I die. My message to myself, apparently, was to understand that I know everything, inherently, now - as I stand at the pinnacle of the bridge of my life.