And your birthdate is …?

My hubby and I just had our birthdays last week. Despite the our latest turn around the sun, we stay active and independent. Case in point: remember how they moved those giant blocks to build pyramids in the 1950s film, “The Ten Commandments”? 1. Place a few sturdy rods under a bulky object. 2. Attach a rope to pull while someone pushes. 3. Pick-up used rods to move to the front.

Hubby chose that technique to move an over-sized stump in our backyard. He swapped forward boards and rollers, moving the stump toward the burning pile. He worked alone until his 80 year old body protested against bending. He hinted he needed help.

I moved a couple rollers, a board or two and tugged on the rope to angle the stump to the muddy pile of ashes. I tugged and stepped sideways into mud. My legs slid into an impossible sideways split. The impossible became possible when my right hip bone snapped. I sank to the earth in pain.

“Can I help you up?” hubby asked.

“No!” I barked.

He wisely declared, “I’ll call the ambulance.”

We waited. I lay on the cold dirt staring at the blue sky dappled with white clouds. The pain decreased a bit. My head cleared, and I wondered if we really needed an ambulance.

No time to second guess, the men in blue walked around the corner of the house to assess the situation.

I have a high pain threshold, so I do not feel pain as quickly as most. “It’s a blessing …. and a curse,” as they say.

With my high pain threshold, when the EMT asked, “What is your pain level?” I answered “About two.” Then he had to ask, “What is your birth date? Are you allergic to anything, do you take any prescription medicine?” Just last week, thank you, and not much.

“We are going to tie your legs together before we lift you,” he pulled out a length of gauze, loosely tied my bent knees together and my ankles. He lifted my torso and the other EMT hoisted my legs. They eased me onto the stretcher. As we rolled across the lumps and valleys in our mole infested yard, the EMT man said, “I’m glad you are not a heavy woman.” I’ll take that as a compliment; a bright spot on a dark day.

Inside the ambulance, he put stickers on my shoulders and ankles to do an EKG. “It’s all part of the ambulance package deal,” he explained. After thumping the veins on the inside of my arm he inserted a needle, “in case we need an IV.”

Inside the hospital, I answered the same questions from Emergency Room doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians and anyone else entering my room.

Folks transferring me from ground to gurney, gurney to x-ray table and back again asked my birth date and my name. Before each transfer I always heard, “I’m so sorry.” and my hip pain soared to at least five with each move.

X-rays revealed a broken hip. “You need surgery, but before surgery you need a chest x-ray What is your name and date of birth?” Back to radiology to verify my health.

“Surgery will be in the morning,” the doctor said and prescribed pain killers.

The nurse put my leg in traction for the night with one more “what is your date of birth?”

Mid-morning, after 14 hours of fasting, I took a bumper car ride to the surgical suite. The pre-op nurse asked my name and birth date and shot my IV port with sleepy medicine. That’s all I remember until I woke up with a wedge of foam holding my legs apart and another clinician asking me my birth date and name. I do believe my birthday has been acknowledged plenty this year.

About jottingjoan

retired former newspaper writer. Many children and grandchildren. One husband.
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