We laugh about Illinois and our other states… my mother started spending a lot of time in Minneapolis last year when they were having an unusually hospitable winter and spring.  This year, of course, it’s more hellish up there, i.e., normal weather.  We told her that makes sense; Minneapolis wanted her, so it was on its best behavior, and now that it has her, it’s back to its 20-below-as-usual.  Similarly, when my husband and I made our first look-see visit to Tennessee two Marches ago, it was 78 degrees and sunny.  Tennessee wanted us, and it won us easily, what with the daffodils and the peeping frogs and the redbud trees and the Bradford pears and the big showoffy spring it puts on without effort.  Now Tennessee knows it has us, and has been baking sullenly in severe drought all year.  We’re still dazzled.

Meanwhile, Illinois is punishing us with snow after snow and lots of single digit days and nights.  It knows we’re leaving and it’s trying to pretend it doesn’t care, but obviously it has hurt feelings.  We were just congratulating ourselves on weathering it.  We’ve avoided the nasty flus going around – a nice benefit of childlessness, by the way – but then yesterday, winter finally scored one on me.

I came out of my therapy session feeling bubbly and at least temporarily sorted out, and fell on the giant slab of ice that coats most of the Midwest.  I have been soooo careful on all the ice, salting, taking alternate routes, wearing my sturdy hiking boots every day, taking little baby steps, but I forgot to be careful.  I thought my ankle was broken because I heard something snap as I fell, and I lay there on the ice gasping, feeling shocky and freaked out and so much pain. 

In our city, when you call the ambulance they send the fire truck first. I guess it’s a kind of triage, or maybe they can’t put you in the ambulance if you’re on fire.  Oxygen tanks and all that.  It worked; the firemen showed up quickly but I already felt like maybe it wasn’t broken, and they hauled me up off the ice (there were three of them) and I decided I didn’t need an ambulance. 

If you’re going to have an injury, make sure there is a mental health professional nearby.  My therapist parked me in her waiting room, made me tea, gave me an ice pack and Advil, and had plenty of kleenex, People magazines, and blankets for me while I waited for my husband to arrive.  Except for my wet butt, nearly frostbitten from lying on the ice, and the screaming ankle pain, it was very nice.

My time in the ER was like taking a bath in gratitude, especially after the three Advils kicked in.  Around me were people with no insurance, people with real problems, people with layer on layer of chronic illness, most notably poverty and / or mental ills on top of all the physical ones.  I felt almost embarrassed, parading in there with my attentive husband, my good insurance, my low blood pressure.  Although my positive attitude was momentarily pierced when the triage nurse asked me "are you still having menstrual periods?"

Ouch!  I may be desperately infertile but I bleed like clockwork, thank you very much.

Did I mention my blood pressure?  96 over 53, not bad for a fat girl.  Although it may have been suppressed by Hypothermia of the Butt.

So here I am, on the couch.  If you see Illinois, tell it to come get its records and its sweater because we are broken up for good.

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