Broken

wrists

“I’m not allowed to say anything, or else I’d tell you,” remarked the X-ray technician.

“Fair enough,” I shrugged.

I was sitting in the small, dark room having both of my wrists X-rayed after I took a nasty fall, while stepping off a moving boat to dock it, about an hour prior. I was in a lot of pain, but it wasn’t excruciating, I reminded myself, trying to keep positive.

“Oh my god, I feel so bad for you,” the X-ray technician declared. “How are you staying so calm? I’d be bawling my eyes out if I were you.”

Well, that’s not a good sign, I thought to myself.

The X-ray technician’s ominous remark was followed up by the no-nonsense doctor who saw me almost immediately after I had my X-rays taken.

“You broke both of your wrists,” she matter-of-factly told me.  “I could tell they were both broken the second I saw you.”

Soon, all of the doctors and nurses at the urgent care center were either laughing in disbelief or looking at me with sympathetic eyes.

“Oh, honey,” said one nurse as she walked in with bandages and splints. “Both wrists?!”

So it would seem…

Several months prior I was out celebrating with friends as I had recently landed the job of my dreams; a tour director for an international tour company.

We are sitting around a table, in a hazy post-drink bout of laughter. We all start talking about what our personal version of the “dream job” is.

“I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who direct the airplanes in,” I say. “You know, the ones with those two orange flashlights.”

I’m met with a mixture of puzzled looks and laughter. But it’s true! I’ve always been really fascinated with airplanes. Physics was never my strongest subject, so an airplane’s capability to soar through the skies and get people halfway across the world in mere hours is somewhat magical to me. Despite flying several times a year, I am still the person who parks myself by the observation deck at the airport to watch planes take off and land, and I’m constantly snapping pictures out the plane window when I’m airborne. How cool would it be to up close with planes all day and having the power to direct those magnificent beasts with my orange flashlights? Dream job, I tell you.

Since starting my actual job, I’ve been allotted more time to travel, not just for work, but the job also gives me the flexibility to take periods of time off so I can travel on my own time as well.

The night before I broke my wrists, I was researching flights to places I was planning to explore in the fall; Miami, Mexico City, and Oaxaca. JetBlue was running a promo and my flights would have only cost me around $300 total. However, for the first time since having the freedom to book such trips, I was hesitant to make the commitment. A stream of anxiety pulsed through my body and I couldn’t place why.

Was my subconscious telling me to slow down? Since starting this job, I haven’t been in one place for longer than a month or so. Maybe it wasn’t right of me to be constantly moving, instead of learning to stay put for a long period of time.

That’s all nonsense, I told myself. If it truly makes me happy, I am going to keep living that way, until it doesn’t. But still, I held off on booking my flights and sealing the deal on my trip, despite the irresistible flight price.

Less than twelve hours later, I was sitting in an urgent care center, my wrists buried beneath a bag of ice to combat the swelling and to numb the pain. Good thing I didn’t book those flights, I thought. If this was my body trying to tell me to slow down and to stay put, I was reading the message loud and clear.

The nurses finished bandaging me up. My arms were now fixed at a 90° angle; my forearms perpendicular to my biceps. I was certainly a spectacle to everyone as I was checking out of the urgent care center, where I was about to be whisked away to meet with an orthopedic surgeon to discuss my prognosis.

“What are you gonna do now?!” a nurse inquisitively asked.

My mind flashed to me partying with fellow twentysomethings in South Beach, practicing my Spanish in Mexico City, and sampling mezcal in Oaxaca. All pipe dreams now.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

“You won’t be able to work!” another nurse said.

I laughed at the thought of trying to work as a tour director or a writer with two broken wrists.

“I won’t be able to do…anything,” I answered, as I started to wonder how the hell am I supposed to accomplish daily chores and necessities with my injuries.

“Hey, you know what you could do?!” said one nurse, as he was eyeing my two arms in their fixed, perpendicular state.

“You could be one of those people with the flashlights who direct the airplanes at the airport!” he proclaimed.

“I’ve always wanted to do that,” I responded, with a grin on my face.