The Operative Word is “Splat”

I swear I am normally a very healthy person (aside from the anxiety. And the seizure), but I recently broke my very first bone.

It hurts me to say this as a queer lady, but the Birkenstocks took me down.

I was walking Lumi on this little boardwalk on our usual route and I tripped over a loose board, and my lithe ballerina body tumbled forward and landed entirely on my pinky finger.

Or, as my dad tells it, “The operative word is ‘splat.'”

Apparently I don’t pick my feet up enough when I walk? When I told Stella I fell, she said, “Oh, I bet you didn’t pick your feet up,” and I was like, “What?”

After two days of pain and swelling, I got it checked out, via my first EVER X-ray, and was told unceremoniously that my finger was broken and I would have to wear a cast for three weeks.

Anyway, when I went to the orthopedist to get my cast, I was paraded in behind a line of young children with broken wrists and arms, and one little boy with a neck brace who was hitting his mom up for candy. He’s going to go far in life.

The orthopedist gave me a list of instructions for care of my cast. Number one rule is don’t get it wet, number two is “Do not use your cast as weapon. No hitting your younger siblings.”

“Does that happen a lot?” I asked.

“We get a lot of little kids,” he explained.

Do adults not break bones? Why am I the oldest person here? I wanted to ask, but instead I asked, “Can I kayak with my cast?” and the answer was a firm “no.”

I kayaked anyway with that sucker. Just wore the same plastic glove that I used for showers. I should get some kind of special queer lady medal for that.

My sister was incredibly jealous that I got a cast because “People with casts are so cool. Everyone asks you what happened and you look tough.”

Well, nothing freaks me out more than being asked personal questions. I found myself hiding the cast behind my back so people didn’t feel pressured to ask me about it.

Of course, this backfired at my volunteer gig at the therapeutic riding barn. The instructors started teaching the students how to hand-feed the horses with, “Keep your hand flat so the horse doesn’t get your fingers! That’s why Elizabeth’s in a cast!”

And when a horse tried to squeeze me into the wall (it’s the horse equivalent of putting a younger sibling in a headlock to show them who’s boss), my rider shouted, “Be careful Elizabeth! You can’t break any more bones!”

Not being able to bake was a real bummer. I found myself at my favorite food emporium to purchase my dad’s ham-based Father’s Day gift, and while I was wandering around, wishing I could pick up something for a baking project, the guy at the counter shouted, “Girl in the cast! Do you need help?”

It took me a minute to realize he was talking to me, but I’ve taken a lot of radiation in the last few weeks.

On Father’s Day, my mom made me raise my casted right hand and swear not to wear Birkenstocks while walking the dog from now on. I had to repeat after her, “I will wear proper shoes when I go outside” and a bunch of other things that I’m sure won’t come back to haunt me.

She also wrote “Listen to your mother” on my cast.

I am an ADULT.

Then my sister pointed out that if this had happened years ago, I would have gotten out of multiple piano recitals and probably been able to beg off practicing for a good six months, “because that finger is going to be super messed up for a while.”

“God DAMMIT,” I said, and my dad laughed. “Your timing was off by about 25 years.”

Other things I have learned: just because you wave at someone else who is wearing a cast and say “Cast buddies!” does not mean they will wave back.

Giving someone finger guns with a cast gives the whole exchange a little extra panache.

My mom, who usually has no patience for fantasy or science fiction and has the attention span of a squirrel, somehow watched every episode of Sweet Tooth, in which a quivering pinky finger is a sign of imminent death. Being a nurse, when she commands me to show her my pinky, I am powerless to disobey, but instead of checking to make sure it’s healing well, she wiggles it around and yells “Sweet Tooth!” then laughs hysterically.

A little girl wearing face paint came up to me to pet Lumi and asked “What’s on your hand?” I explained that I broke my pinky and the cast is keeping it in place while it heals, and she nodded, “I have a butterfly on my face.”

And somehow that made me feel better.

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