By Yvonne Lehman
BROKE… at Christmastime!
On December 12, I became literally broken – physically. Then I discovered the truth in 1 Corinthians 12: 12, 26 (NLT): “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body… If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it…”
There I was, 20 minutes before 14 Sunday school class members were to arrive for a Christmas party at my beautifully decorated home, the flocked Christmas tree beside the fireplace, two tables set with lovely china, crystal glasses, cloth napkins, aromas of meat concoctions in the crock pot and oven, candles glowing and emitting their holiday scents. Dirty Santa gifts festively wrapped. My Let It Snow novel ready to be given to each. Perfect!
So, in my upstairs bedroom I swung my left leg onto my high bed and tied the laces of my black 4” heeled suede ankle bootie. As I was leaning back to bring the shoe off the bed, the covers clutched my bootie, I lost my balance, but my leg wouldn’t come with the rest of my body and the covers of the unmade bed wouldn’t turn loose.
A fleeting thought of don’t break your hip or back prompted me in a nanosecond to fall to the side while my bootie is still on the bed. The next thing I know I’m gaping at a weird twisted thing where an arm used to be, a band of swelling flesh replacing a wrist, and limp extremities instead of fingers.
My goodness, that was as freaky as when a writers group critiques a manuscript and you can only sit silent, feeling the horror and pain while your “perfect” creation is becoming something unrecognizable and you know it will never be the same again.
Anyway, the next minutes are filled with contortions, crawling, squirming, elbowing across the room, getting a workout more strenuous than my 30-Day Shred DVD, wondering how to stand or find the phone while left hand holds an appendage that might drop off or if gets fatter could explode.
Long story short—finally managed to contact my daughter, Lori, and we get ready for the trip to the hospital while guests are arriving. Lori, our Sunday school teacher, tells them to stay and enjoy the party which they seem delighted to do. After all, everything looks and smells perfect…except me.
At the ER, the arm is confirmed to be broken (hmmm), and we’re sent to the aptly named Waiting Room. The entire process lasted over five hours. Lori took pictures, emailed family, friends, partiers, et al, giving them an overview of happenings. She’s a scriptwriter, and you know, to a writer everything is a story.
She wrote, “I hate to say this, but it was a wonderful time with my mother, despite the circumstances. She was given great numbing medication. We brainstormed for her next book, Broken Moments, and made plans for a New Year Sunday school party in January. I prayed while the doctor and nurse pulled mom’s arm back into place and the doc was impressed with how well she handled the setting of her wrist.”
My perception was slightly different.The smiling doctor is coming toward me, holding a weapon that looks like a skewer, or spike, or rod and he’s saying, “We’ll see about numbing this,” and the nurse is telling Lori she has fainted twice while watching the procedure. Lori asked if there’s anything she can do. I say, “Pray.” She prayed aloud while I’m watching, and feeling the doctor gouge, shove, grimace, saying he’s trying to find the crease in which he will dispense pain-killing medication. He’s taking a looooong time and what comes to my mind is “sadistic.”
I do think the prayer worked – the nurse didn’t faint.
Finally, after being pulled apart, wrapped, x-rayed, I have incapacitation inside a cast from above the elbow to below the first knuckles on the five-pronged appendage. It’s as useless as that story having been rejected by an editor or critiqued by a writers group.
My broken book is like an arm in a cast—useless. Like the body, if one part is broken, all other parts suffer with it. To be functional, readjustment is necessary.
During the weeks that followed, I had to rely on others at times, was challenged to learn new ways. My writing looked like a child’s in first grade. But they learn. With time and effort, I could learn.
After removal of the cast, the doctor said there might be nine months before the arm regains previous strength. Hey, don’t we call our books our babies? Think of all the changes that take place, leading to that delivery when many women say, “Never again!” But that’s forgotten as they hold the most wonderful miraculous of God’s creation in their arms.
Book delivery is something like that. All the “helpful” criticism, changes, lovely words deleted, new ways of presenting the initial idea, the cutting, adding, and the book will never be the same and you feel like Mark Twain who wrote, “If I’d known what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it and ain’t going to no more.”
My arm hurts when I force movement, weight bearing, flexibility. But I’m told that if I endure the pressure and pain, in time it can be stronger than ever. Hmmm, isn’t that what was said about that manuscript?
I get my books all gussied up, but after discovering it’s weak, going to be incapacitated for awhile, has broken parts, and healing will take time, it will hurt. I can’t take my creative/craft expertise for granted. I’m just one move away from needing to be worked on, body or book. At any time I might have to say, as did David in Psalm 31:12 (KJV), “I am a broken vessel.”
During my recuperating time I read a comforting devotion of Charles Stanley’s based on Matthew 14:22-34 and he commented that we should ask the Lord for his presence in the midst of our trouble. He will provide strength to endure and wisdom as we go through the storm. And, like I said, to a writer, everything is a story.
See, I got a blog out of the experience. Oops! Better wait to find out if it’s usable, or if it needs… surgery.