Those Frackin' Fractures (Part II)

Continued from previous post

Sometimes it can be a few minutes, at worse it will be days. But the moments between a fresh snap of bone and stabilizing it are excruciating. If I could map out a linear graph of the pain in those moments it would be absolutely spastic. I would draw a row of shark teeth and then a random plateau amongst the daggers.
My mother never looks directly at me when I first have a fracture, she first looks at where and what I'm holding. She always seems to use her X-Ray Mother Vision to pierce through my grip of the injured area. With every last cubic inch of muscle I have I pore it all into two places at this point: 1. my eyes 2. the hold on my femur. There is nothing that could escape the wild pained look of my eyes during this moment. I am aware of how many centimeters the bed has sunk as my mother shifts her weight next to me, I am aware of how she has opened the splint in her hand, I am aware of my dad standing by silently looking on - all of these thoughts are calculated into my head in preparation. To get myself ready for: The First Positional Move.

As I wait for someone to get the proper medical equipment to stabilize a fracture it might look as though I am just lying there whimpering. But I'm not. I have first tried to internally shift the muscles and my body into a position where the pain is bearable, careful to not relax or tighten muscles too quickly or slowly; then it's my breathing - it has slowed but is still nervous and unsteady, like an infant's unsteady first wobble. Most of the time I have managed to stop sweating, my body and skin cooling off but I know this only lasts for a few minutes until the broken limb is moved.
Now my mother looks at me. Her face is blank each time, blank with the determination and readiness of a runner at the start line. That is the face she puts on just before The First Positional Move. Her face is the canvas that this particular fracture's pain will be visualized, it will be reflected as she winces with me and says "ow" along side me. She and my doctor always let me help to hold the broken limb, especially during The First Positional Move. This time it's my femur and as she cradles the palm of her hand beneath my lower leg and knee the upper half of my entire body tenses. I try to ready myself and even, if possible, recall the pain from a previous fracture - as if to use my memory as a kind of buffer for the real thing. I squeeze my face and shut my eyes, and after she says "2,3, go.." I hold my breath as she slips the old splint underneath my leg and puts the velcro straps across it. My body once again returns to a state of frantic cooling off, of an unsteady gait-like breathing.

When the limb is first stabilized the transition into the car or ambulance is not as painful. It's uncomfortable in comparison to the rest of The Positional Moves - and there are countless others. The varying x-ray positions, the first time that old splint gets taken off for a new cast, when pants are slow-wiggled n' slid off, then the screaming and the crying begins again. But even in this time as the cast sock is slid on, and the endless rolls of cotton is slowly wrapped around and around, my fingers have barely budged from the position. My doctor and mother follow my lead, but their directions are given in the form of every cringe of my nose bridge or breath held and eyes closed.
The next part is my favorite. Yes, I have a favorite part of the whole fracture stability process - I'm an odd duck I know. But when the cast technician dips the wrap into the warm water I am finally able to breathe regularly again, almost, in a sense to return to my groove. And all of the chaos inside of me that resulted from the havoc that was wreaked is magically restored as the warmth and heaviness of an assured bandage takes over for me.

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