Of friends, family, weddings, and backboards

25 Apr

Recently, I attended the wedding (“for all time” hand-fasting actually) of a couple who were more than mere friends. Barbara and I had known them for as many years as we had known each other. We had become close enough that we thought of them as family of choice, beyond mere friendship. Attending their wedding was a really big deal for me, in more ways than one.

The wedding took place out in nature, on a property of 101 acres known as Spirit Haven. The last time I was on the property before was Barbara’s memorial service. This place was special to her, for many reasons. It was a spiritual home, a place of total acceptance, and a place where distant friends came together twice a year as if at a family reunion. This land is the spiritual home of the Council of the Magickal Arts (CMA). The hand-fasting was held during the semi-annual gathering together of the members of CMA.

The wedding was beautiful, as I knew it would be. The weekend was off to a beautiful start. Several other couples were hand-fasted that weekend as well. The weather was typical for spring time in Central Texas. It was warm in the daytime, and downright chilly at night. I had been under a great deal of stress, and had determined that I would take it easy this weekend, and just enjoy my time spent with friends and family. That was to be a tall order though.

This was to be my very first time out among many of these people as Janet. I was understandably apprehensive about acceptance. I often wonder if any of my friends are worried that my transition is a symptom of a grief induced mental breakdown. This was no different in that respect. Here too I worried about that.

I worried, too, about how returning to this space would affect me. Would I be overwhelmed with grief at my first time back for the full gathering in? Would I really be able to enjoy being with those I loved, or would the surroundings and circumstances be more than I could handle? Would the fact of our friends getting to have that which we were denied be too much for me?

As it turned out, as is often the case, I worried for naught. Not only was I not treated as crazy, I found nothing but acceptance among my friends and spiritual family. All my worries to the contrary, I felt nothing but joy for my friends who were hand-fasted. They have posted some photos of the ceremony on Facebook today, and I find that my joy for them is only increased.

Of course, like any real life story, it wasn’t all wine and roses. Saturday evening, just after sunset, during the potluck dinner, I fell exiting my tent. I hit the ground hard, and could do nothing but cry out for help. As luck would have it, I had the good fortune to have an EMT and paramedic camped near to me. They heard my seemingly futile cries, and after less than a minute, were at my side. (As an aside, they were one of the couples hand-fasted that weekend.)

I had not moved an inch, for I could tell from the pain that I had a potentially dangerous situation developing. I had landed, with all my weight, on my left shoulder and, potentially much more serious, my ribs. My lovely, cautious, EMT and paramedic called immediately for a back board and C-spine collar. Yes, CMA has a fully equipped trauma building for situations such as this.

Unfortunately, no one seemed to be able to find the collar, so they improvised one with a thick towel. They kept my torso very straight and rolled me on to the backboard. Upon fairly thorough physical exam by the chiropractor who was also camped with my group, I was determined to be in no immediate danger. By this time, it was far too late for me to attempt to drive home, so I stayed the night. Honestly, I would much rather have had a decent bed that night. That, however, was not to be.

The next morning (Sunday) I awoke stiff and in significant pain. Even the slightest movement was excruciating. I finagled some friends to pack my belongings into my car, and as soon as that was done, I drove straight home. I didn’t even stop for gas, as I normally would have. I got home with still about a quarter tank. I did go out in the evening to the nearest pharmacy to purchase an abdominal binder, and a large bottle of ibuprofen.

Mid morning on Monday, I saw my doctor, who was relatively convinced I had just bruised my ribs. She decided to do x-rays as a precaution though. She also wrote a prescription for 800 mg ibuprofen. Interestingly, ibuprofen is cheaper as a prescription than taking the same dose via OTC strength.

I learned just how disconcerting it is, as a woman, to be told to undress from the waist up, and put on that flimsy gown. That, combined with the non-stop pain, made me not a particularly happy camper, if you can pardon the pun. I endured the extreme discomfort of the x-ray process, got dressed, and headed home to collapse again in my recliner.

Later that same evening, I received a call from my doctor’s office. It seemed that my 7th rib on my left side was fractured. The doctor was calling in some additional medicine for pain. I was to continue taking the ibuprofen, and the use of the binder. Well, it’s now been seven days since that call.

I’ve learned a couple of more things in the last week.

  • I can’t function at all on 50mg of tramadol.
  • Pill splitters are very useful and quite inexpensive.
  • Regardless of the PRN instruction on the tramadol, it really isn’t a good idea to skip a dose, much less two, because I am feeling a little better.

Oh, and one more thing I learned from this ordeal. I look pretty damned good in an under bust corset. Now if only I had one that looked better than this abdominal binder.


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