Death By Derby
I almost made it, folks, I almost got to hit the rink, hit my friends
and say yes, indeed, I am a roller derby queen. Unfortunately, the
fates have other plans for me and more than likely you’ll find me
manning the ticket booth.
Last Thursday, on what has become a routine flogging, trouncing and
ass-flashing head first dive to the floor, I managed to split my elbow
open to the bone.
Ew. I know.
Only I didn’t know it when I did it, but an hour later, as I pulled my
elbow pad off and flashed my funny bone to the team, no one was
laughing. Immediate gasps, shrieks and calls of, “Oh mah gawd get some
stitches, girl!” filled the room.
Unfortunately, medical care more advanced than a splash of Betadine is
foreign to me, and as I crawled into bed a few hours later I had no
idea what kind of festering adventure would be awaiting me on the
other side of dawn.
By the time I’d finished throwing up the next morning as I stared,
bleary eyed, at the pink tinged surface of my elbow bone, I wasn’t
sure what to do next.
Thanks to my mother’s occupation as a nurse, I know how to clean and
bandage the mess with near-bizarre precision. Unfortunately, I’ve
always suspected my mother’s career was a hindrance later in life as
it removed any sense of concern or urgency in relation to pain. Many
of my closest friends have found this out the hard way:
Moving into a stereotypically hilly apartment in San Francisco a few
years back, my friend Kelly smashed her hand while leaping,
maniacally, into my precariously balanced U-Haul van. Rushing out of
the apartment, mindful of the 3-hour window the rental place had given
us to move all my crap across town (SF may not be wide, but it makes
it up in hills), I stopped, looked at her limp, pale limb and asked,
as the tears of pain rolled down her face, “Can you move it?”
“You’re fine. Let’s go!”
If it can be moved it cannot be that bad, and therefore it’s good
enough to go back outside and play, damnit, and leave me alone….
And with the move test as my litmus I slunk into the doctor’s office
the next afternoon, where it became obvious that freedom of motion is
not the only way to gauge the severity of a wound.
Potential for amputation is.
And as I sat, shaking, wondering how on earth I’d ever floss my teeth
again with only one arm, I started to think of all the other things
going on in my life I’d been missing since roller derby took over my
And I decided that the injury, while probably not fatal and likely
(hopefully – I have to go back tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.) not to result in
anything more than a nasty scar, was a sort of wake-up call to
remember that I’ve got a lot of great things in my life in addition to
my beloved fellow derby girls.
Like writing, drawing, and general art-making.
And my friends, and my family, and someone who falls somewhere, I’m
not sure where, in between.
Not to mention the job, no matter how square, and apartment, and, one
day maybe, a dog.
And, well, hey, most of all, let’s all give a big round of applause
for: my arm.
As the drummer from Def Leppard can attest, two is better than one…