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: to dislocate
En promenant Smokey en laisse, Kristi s'est luxée le coude droit.
While walking Smokey with a leash, Kristi dislocated her elbow.
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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
The night before I was to leave on a three-flight, four airport journey home I dislocated my elbow!
I should have listened to my daughter when she said, "Reste à la maison!" But no, I wanted to watch her and her father play tennis our last day together! I had packed my suitcase and was ready for my 3:30 a.m. wake-up call. A little exercise before the long journey would be good! I would bring Smokey along and, after a brisk walk around the tennis club, the two of us would watch the father-daughter match.
I had a strong premonition as Smokey and I wandered forth into unknown territory. Looking around le voisinage that circled the tennis courts I noticed the houses, each with a tall fence enclosing its yard. What sorts of dogs lived behind those fences? What if one of them began to bark? My gut told me to turn back, but it was a pity to miss this chance to give Smokey some needed exercise.
Approaching a cul-de-sac at the top of the road, I was relieved to have an excuse to turn back. But wasn't it strange that not one of the houses we'd passed had a dog? What a quiet neighborhood! A little too quiet. I wound my wrist around Smokey's leash, to tighten my grip and to assure my unquiet mind....
No sooner had I secured the leash than Smokey began to bolt, taking me hurtling towards an angry dogue de bordeaux--or what some call an English Mastiff! The dog was barking like mad from behind a tall fence.
My first thought was how am I going to land? Currently I was hurtling towards a wire fence, the gravelly ground below me getting closer and closer. This was going to be a painful meeting. Would I land face first?
A split second before the face-plant, Smokey made a hairpin turn. Because my wrist was wrapped so tightly around the leash, I made the hairpin turn right along with him! No longer was my head in danger, given my new direction (still downward!), I might break my hip--and never make tomorrow's flight!
Instinct kicked in and I threw out my arm to break the fall. Only, when my hand hit the ground--followed by the rest of my body--something snapped. I looked up to find my forearm twisted gruesomely away from me!
It was surreal to see my arm so deformed. Given the unusual angle in which it rested, I thought, It must be broken! In my current state of shock my brain overrode my usual tendencies. The tendency to depend on someone else! Besides, there was no one else! No one around to ask "What do I do? How to fix this? Help!"
My body seemed to know the answer. Quickly, my left arm grabbed my right forearm and flung it back toward my rib cage. That's when I heard the pop. The elbow snapped right back into place!
Cradling my arm I scooted across the road like a snake. And when I reached the fence I began to began to moan. Smokey ran up and I managed to used use my free hand to lace his leash through the fence opposite the mastiff (who was safely behind his own fence).
Once my elbow and my dog were secured, reality hit: something was very wrong with my arm and this meant I would not be travelling to see my family tomorrow!
NO! NO! NOOOO! I shouted, wailing from the pain and the loss. NOOOOO!
A neighbor, who turned out to be the dog's owner, ran up and began to assist me. Her husband arrived next.
"Réspirez! Réspirez!" the kind-faced woman said, when I complained of nausia.
"Je crois que je vais vomir," I said. The woman's husband ran inside to get a down coat, returning to lie it over me. Crying from the pain and apologetic for the chaos, I tried to tell them how to reach my husband. The rest was babbling: vous êtes gentils. merci. désolé. mon chien! aïe! ça fait mal... qu'ils arrivent vites!
I could now hear the speaker on the tennis courts, just behind the couple's house: "Monsieur Espinasse. Vous êtes demandé à la reception...." But when Jean-Marc arrived the question remained: How to transport me to the emergency room? What to do with Smokey? We couldn't all four of us ride to the urgences!
The tennis court manager, who had accompanied Jean-Marc, suggested calling les pompiers. "It's a bumpy road all the way to the hospital, better for her to ride in an ambulance...."
Three fireman arrived next. They placed what looked like a deflated raft beside me. On the count of un, deux, trois I was lifted into the "raft" (located on a gurney). One of the firefighters began pumping air into the contraption which began to hug my entire body.
"There. Do you feel secure now? Can you move your hand?" The pompier wanted to know.
Entombed inside the inflatable body-brace, only my front sticking out, I felt like a swadled baby. Looking down I tried to wiggle my fingers and saw that they could move.
At ER I was wheeled to the x-ray room where nurse asked me to lift my arm up onto an x-ray table and I informed her I could not move it.
"Well I don't know the reason for which you are here!" she said, in her defence.
The rest of the staff were just as sympathetic, and when my x-rays finally arrived on the attendant-doctors desk I watched, in amazement, as she tossed them across her desk!
"I don't have time for all this now!" she complained.
From my gurney in the ER entry, facing the giant window behind which the doctor and colleagues processed the paperwork, I watched her storm off.
Seeing my son walk into ER was a great soulagement. Then came the tears. The sum-total of this freak accident hit me. I looked at the clock which crept toward the dinner hour. I should be getting up 8-hours from now... getting on my flight.
"You have a flight tomorrow?" the doctor said, when she finally arrived with the x-rays. "Well, your arm is back in place, but you shouldn't be travelling like this. Is your trip for business or for pleasure?
"I'm going home to see my family..."
"Well, it's up to you but I would not recommend it," the doctor concluded, with a reminder that I should be seeing a specialist the next day, one who would review the x-rays and examine my arm--beneath which my tendons were flairing from pain. (The codeine only made me more nausious.)
After stopping at the pharmacy to buy a sling, or un gilet d'immobilisation d'épaule, Jean-Marc and I rode home. On the way, my husband kept assuring me I'd be just fine, each time I voiced my doubt about flying with an elbow of frayed tendons and a giant sling. But the constant encouragement to go ahead and fly tomorrow was beginning to sound suspicious.
"Do you happen to have any plans this week?" I asked, fishing for an answer to my doubts.
"No," Jean-Marc said. "Apart from seeing all my girlfriends," he joked.
" Seriously, you seem intent on getting me on that flight tomorrow. Are you sure you don't have any plans at all this week?"
"No, there's nothing in particular..."
* * *
(To be continued... Dear Reader, please excuse any mistakes in today's edition. I just arrived home and am catching up on a lot of stuff... but wanted to be sure an get this post out to you!
reste à la maison = stay home
le voisinage = neighborhood
réspirez! = breath!
je crois que = I think that
je vais vomir = I'm going to vomit
aïe = ouch
ça fait mal = it hurts
qu'ils arrivent vite = (I hope) they hurry!
soulagement = comfort, relief
les urgences = ER
les pompiers = firefighters
un, deux, trois = one, two, three
un gilet d'immobilisation d'épaule = sling for dislocated shoulder
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety