I took a nasty tumble on the ice this weekend. I twisted my ankle, but worse yet, I landed with my full weight on my elbow. It was one of those funky, laws-of-gravity-and-physics kind of things, and I’m not entirely sure how it all happened because it happened so quickly; one minute I’m vertical, the next, I’m horizontal and in pain.
I ignored the accident for most of the evening, primarily because my ego was more wounded than my arm, but by Sunday morning, I knew I needed to have the landing spot examined to be sure I hadn’t done some sort of serious damage. The good news is, after x-rays and lots of uncomfortable twisting and poking, my elbow is only “deeply bruised” according to the doctor. He did send me home in a sling, which I found infinitely more uncomfortable than just favoring the arm but being able to move it some. He also sent me home with a prescription for Ibuprofen, but I figured the Tylenol on my kitchen counter worked just as well and cost less.
What I have learned from this little mishap is that I use my elbows much more than I had realized, poor disregarded things. Opening doors with arms full of groceries can’t be conveniently done without an elbow assist, nor can rolling over or propping up in bed. The bend and flex of my elbow is an activity that takes place thousands of times during my waking hours, but because it hasn’t previously caused me pain I haven’t noticed that before. Writing has become something of an adventure as well. My desk arrangement doesn’t allow for much in the way of arm support so I’ve adopted a rather unusual typing style: my arms are splayed out from the keyboard, resting my elbows against the edge of the desk. Not today, I tell you. In a way, this is probably beneficial for me. I’m forced to sit up straight, using proper keyboard body position to take the pressure off my injured joint.
If I were to draw some sort of literary metaphor from all of this, I guess it would be that there are so many little things in life we take for granted – like elbows – which we ignore until they are damaged or taken from us. I’ve been paying a great deal of attention to my elbows this weekend. I’ve slathered them in luxurious lotions, massaged them to increase the blood flow, and generally tried to let them know they are not taken for granted any longer. I’m certain there are numerous other body parts that I’ll need to do the same for, in addition to some seldom respected areas of my life. Little lessons we learn are seldom so little, are they.