The light was murky and thunder grumbling yesterday at 10 AM when I finished chores and drove out to resume brush-hogging in the back acres. Two minutes later there was an explosive crack, lightning flashed, and I had to jump in the truck and turn on the windshield wipers against the drumming downpour.
No mowing today, I thought, resigned. I would work on indoor chores.
After cleaning the kitchen, I spent an hour talking to folks at Tracfone. They had been unable to transfer my old number to the new cell phone, and I’d just realized that the new number they had given me could neither send nor receive calls. My new phone was useless. Once again I waited endlessly on hold and kept my voice calm as they told me the problem might take days to clear up. The technician thanked me over and over for my patience. I have no patience. But with children and service people I can pretend.
By the time I hung up, the skies had miraculously cleared. Thanks, God. I really need to get this mowing done. I drove back down to the farm.
But it wasn’t meant to be. I had only been brush-hogging for fifteen minutes when a fist-sized rock suddenly shot out of the back of the mower and struck me in the left leg. The blow was so quick and so extremely hard that I staggered.
For a bad moment I thought my leg was broken. It hurt so much I caught my breath. I fumbled to cut the engine.
Oh my God, I’ve broken my leg, I’m all alone, and I have no phone.
Then I realized I was still standing so it was unlikely my leg was broken. I was doubled over, breathing deeply. I injure myself fairly regularly down at the farm, generally in falls, and though involuntary tears often come to my eyes I realized long ago that when you’re alone, crying is a waste of energy. Though just as useless, swearing seems to be my usual default. Since I rarely curse, somehow profanity best expresses my pain and fear. So I swore.
Finally I straightened up and put my weight on the bad leg. It held me. Then I stamped my weight on that foot. Stamp, stamp. OK, I was fine. Very sore and hurting, but fine. I limped back to the brush hog, flipped the throttle forward, and was about to fire the machine back up when I glanced down and saw that the entire lower leg of my fawn-colored Carhartts was red with blood. Oh.
Rolling up my jeans I noticed there was a tear in the blood-soaked fabric. Now I found a matching hole in my leg along my shinbone. It was only about 3/4″ long but it appeared deep. Blood was flowing copiously down my leg into my wool sock.
Luckily I had been lazy and driven out to the back field, so I didn’t have to limp and bleed all the way to the barn. There was nothing in the truck to stanch the bleeding and only Band-aids in the tack room. I drove myself home.
To make a long story shorter, my friend Joanne, a nurse, thought I might need stitches — and definitely (looking at my filthy Carhartts) a tetanus shot. I drove with DH to the emergency room. X-rays were taken to make sure there was no fracture of the leg or fragments of rock or Carhartt in the wound. The wound was deep enough to be considered a puncture and the decision was made not to stitch it, to guard against infection that might spread to the nearby bone.
While the doctor was anesthetizing the leg with multiple pricks of lidocaine for irrigation, the nurse was giving me a tetanus shot in my shoulder. When I was younger the prospect of needles made me weep with fright and hold my mother’s hand in a death grip, but there is something about becoming a mother one’s self that requires one to buck up. DH was working on his computer in a corner and did not even notice my conspicuous bravery.
By the time the doctor had finished cleaning and wrapping the 3/4″ wound in thick layers of gauze and a giant Ace bandage I looked as if I had been in a war. I felt ridiculous: “It’s really a very small cut.” However the doctor was scandalized when I asked if I could go back to work brush-hogging that afternoon. Absolutely not — in fact, he thought I should lie down at home with my leg up and my husband should wait on me hand and foot.
DH has zero domestic skills. He looked up and smiled. “Maybe I’ll hire that part out.”
Today I’m feeling battered and sore but I’m fine. It’s dark and raining so Lucy and I will have a quiet day at home between barn chores. The mower will probably stay parked.