Monday, April 29, 2013

Mowing the Lawn

Let me start by saying, I didn't really get injured, but let's just have some fun!

In an effort to keep the title of Operations Manager and hope to become employee of the month, I decided I’d mow the lawn. See, that just sounds so productive and wonderful and easy and fabulous. Why WOULDN’T I do it? Turns out, there’s more to mowing the lawn than just simply having the desire to mow the lawn. Who knew?

First, appropriate clothing. Now that the trees have leaves, our new “backyard neighbors” can’t see over the fence or into our house. I can’t tell you how liberating that’s been. Well, I could tell you, but I’m afraid the images you may conjure up would be too disturbing. Let’s just say commando isn’t just for men! What? Of course I’m wearing underwear!!! What kind of savage do you think I am. So, I head out in my tank top, shorts and flip flops. It doesn’t get any more Southern than that, well, I think I’m bordering on Redneck, but who’s counting?
The lawnmower awaits, all shiny red, full of gas and with a nice bag attached to catch all the goodies I chop down. By goodies I mean items other than grass that I accidentally run over. Rocks, lawn chairs, garden hoses and bird baths. I figure, they hear me coming and they didn’t bother to move, it’s not my fault.

The only thing between me and a freshly mown lawn is a running lawnmower. We don’t own an electric start mower, no we’re old school. Actually, we just use the mower that the previous homeowner left here. This mower has a cord that you pull to start it. I grab the handles of the mower with my left hand and grab the rope with the right and give it a good pull. I manage to pull the cord an amazing 2 inches. Rinse and repeat times 100. I head into the house to get some duct tape and replenish my electrolytes. You see, there are two handles that must be held together for the mower to start and I need both hands free. I duct tape the handles, put a foot on the mower, and grab the cord with both hands and pull. I fall over backwards into an ant bed. I come up screaming and undressing!!! Shirtless, but determined, I stand on the lawnmower and give it all I’ve got, I feel a searing pain in my shoulder and I collapse on the lawnmower. I fall off the mower and crawl to the deck. I pull myself up using my left arm because it’s the only one on duty at the time. My right arm is hanging limply by my side and if it swings a mere centimeter the pain in my shoulder is awful.
I’m hot, sweaty, dizzy, in pain and mad at the lawnmower! Once I get inside, I find a suitable t-shirt and realize I can’t lift my right arm. I dress and leave my right arm inside the t-shirt and as close to my body as possible to avoid further pain.

I drive myself to the ER using only one arm which is incredibly inconvenient. I mean, how could I gesture to other drivers? I’m driving 75 MPH with the hazard lights flashing which happens to be how I normally drive. As I attempt to sign in at the desk, I ask for a crayon figuring that since I’m using my non-dominant hand, perhaps a crayon would be the best way to go. It’s going to look like a 3 year old wrote it anyway. The triage nurse, who is manning the “front desk” just scowls at me and tells me to be a big girl and sign in and have a seat.

I sit down and there seems to be a small circus in the far corner of the waiting room. They’ve got bright lights, batons, fancy costumes and then I realize, the police are taking down a disruptive patient who appears to have had about 3 cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon, known affectionately in the South as PBR. Mr. PBR is cussing and hollering and declaring he’s not going down without a “helluva fight” and what happened to his “Mirena Rights”?? I don’t have the heart or the bravery to confront and correct him. Seems he’s watched a few too many commercials. Mirena is an IUD and has nothing to with Miranda and his rights. I sit as far away as possible and begin to survey my own surroundings. There’s a lady 3 seats over who is at least 15 months pregnant. I try not to stare. What if she goes into labor?? I’m a nurse! Will I be expected to respond with something other than “LAWD Miss Scarlett, I don’t know nothing ‘bout birthing no babies!!” before I pass out?

As my gaze scans the room I see an elderly gentleman with what I assume is his daughter. He is dabbing at his forehead with a handkerchief, but otherwise appears fine. He puts his arm around his daughter and then grabs her breast! OH MY!!! I scream “What kind of man are you!? You beast! Don’t touch your daughter like that! I’ll report you! Yes, I will. You see those cops over there; they’re here for YOU too!” He can’t hear a word I’m saying, but his young WIFE can. “I’ll have you know this gentleman is my husband and had he not taken that little blue pill we wouldn’t even be here. He’s fit as a fiddle! Well, he can’t hear and his arthritis flares up when it rains, and…………..well, anyway! How dare you scream at him!”
I look away and pretend I never started anything. Sweet little innocent me waiting to be seen.

Miss Hrrrrrjjjnnnn calls the triage nurse. No one moves. MISS HRRRRRJJJNNNN??!! She finally comes around the desk and leans down to look at me. Miss Hrrrrrjjjnnnn, I’m calling you. Oh, I’m Mrs. Jackson, I say. Well, why didn’t you write THAT down??? Me, I tried but my arm was out of order.

We get to the back, the big game, the real place of action. I’m lead into a room and instructed to change into a gown leaving nothing but my underwear on. Good thing I hadn’t bothered with a bra earlier. See I planned ahead. Well, actually, no. At no point in time did I think “I’ll try to mow the lawn and end up in the ER”. Earlier I thought getting a t-shirt ON was difficult with my shoulder feeling like it had molten lava running around in there. It was nothing compared to getting it off! I tried everything I could think of to get it off while not moving the right arm/shoulder at all. I grabbed it with my teeth and attempted to help my left arm maneuver it over my head. Turns out I can’t get my mouth over my head so that was useless. There was an IV pole in the corner. Being a nurse, I knew how to adjust it so I lower it until the hooks were about level with my chest. I hooked my t-shirt on the IV pole hook and lowered myself to the floor. It was at this inopportune time that the doctor decided to come in. In an attempt to look “normal” I stood up quickly and ended up with the IV pole hanging from the back of my t-shirt. His greeting: “Other than your obvious lack of coordination, what brings you in today?”

I told him my whole story, beginning to present moment. I failed to notice that he drifted off and shifts changed. I was trying my best to be brief, but I wanted to be sure he understood the exact circumstances. When I woke him up, he said he thought an x-ray was in order, so he’d order that and he said it had been very interesting meeting me and he’d be sure to tell the oncoming staff all about me. Well how nice of him to be so thorough. I was whisked to x-ray and thankfully that was a brief and fairly painless procedure. When I got back to my cubicle of the ER the new doctor was waiting me and said he wanted to do a brief exam. What he wanted to do was pull my arm in every possible direction and see which movements made me yell the loudest. I’m guessing there’s a “doctor scale” for shoulder pain. She screamed the loudest when I pulled it medially or something like that. After a brief examination the doctor declared I had a “simple sprain”. I was offended. I thought it was no longer PC to call someone or something about them simple. He said I should be thankful it wasn’t a torn rotator cuff and I told him I didn’t care what he called it, it hurt and I needed relief NOW!

He said he’d give me something very mild so I could safely drive home. Safely drive home? I have a tendency to drive the wrong way on one way streets and have been known to run a red light or two so I’m not real sure anyone would call me a safe driver under the best of circumstances. Medicated, it would be a free for all. I wanted something to knock my socks off and make my shoulder pain a distant memory. After I volunteered to call a cab, he ordered the good stuff. The cab arrived and by cab I mean limo. As I staggered toward the open door, the driver explained this was the only available vehicle and would be $150.00/hour. Fine by me, we could make new friends as I hung out of the sunroof and have plenty of room to welcome them aboard!

When I arrived home, Rob had returned from work. I told the driver to blow the horn so my husband could see my “fun filled land yacht”. When he came out on the porch and surveyed the scene he just rolled his eyes and asked “how much is THIS gonna cost me”. I said “honey, this is the least of your problems. I’ve got hospital bills hanging from the bumper like a tin cans and a Just Married sign on a car full of newlyweds.