Purple Cast
December 6, 2021

In February 2016, I broke my arm.  I didn’t just break it, I broke it big time, and I didn’t break it doing something heroic or even noteworthy.  I was walking.  Yep.  Walking.  I had no idea that breaking a bone could cause you to go into shock, but folks, I did.  I don’t remember much about that night, but I do remember humming old hymns on the 30 minute ride to the hospital.  I couldn’t hold a conversation, but I remembered every word to hymns I hadn’t heard since I was a child, so there I sat, holding my arm, rocking back and forth and humming.  I’m sure I looked like a crazy woman.  When we arrived at the ER they confirmed what I already knew.  It was indeed broken, and because of the location of the break, and damage to my arm, I had to wait 5 days for the swelling to go down before it could be set and casted. 

It was the most painful thing I had experienced up to that point, far surpassing childbirth, and when I finally saw the ortho, he informed me I really needed surgical intervention.  I wore a purple cast from knuckles to shoulder for 7 weeks and three days, but refused surgery.  When you’re in a cast that limits every single daily activity, you KNOW how long you were in it, and when you have experienced Arkansas winters, you’ll understand why I chose to forego metal pins.  At the time, my thinking was I didn’t want those pins telling me when every cold front was coming through. 

The bone mended itself, albeit not to it’s pre-fracture integrity, but three casts and 6 months of physical therapy got me back to about 80%.  It still bothers me, some days worse than others, and I have substantial weakness in that arm.  I know my limitations, and do not regret electing to opt out of surgery.  I’ve learned to live with it, and most days I just ignore it.  Deal with.  Press on.  No big deal.  That fracture has just become a part of me. 

Three years later, I sustained another fracture, far more painful and life altering than the first.  I was doing the same thing then as I was when I broke my arm - just walking.   With a force far surpassing the momentum with which I hit the concrete that put me in a full arm cast and caused excruciating pain, death slammed into my entire being causing a fracture no cast, surgery or physical therapy can heal.  Before the fracture was confirmed, there was an hour-long trip to receive that confirmation.   I didn’t know he was dead, but I knew.  Mile after mile, not knowing if I should go to the hospital or the police station, I found myself completely giving Jesus the wheel, and through sobs, singing along with the worship music that played on the radio.  I remember every song that I sang along to during that horrific journey because they were a combination of mine and Hagen’s favorites, and with each one I felt Hope, thinking maybe my mother’s intuition was simply overreacting.  That wasn’t the case, and the fracture was confirmed by a kind detective, and once again I experienced shock, but in a much different way. 

No medical intervention exists for this type of fracture, and the pain is quite frankly indescribable.   No words exist in the English, or any other, language to describe it.  Anguish doesn’t begin to paint an adequate picture, but it’s a start.   If surgery had been an option, I would have gladly consented to as many surgeries as it took to make. the.  pain. stop.  It affected every fiber of my being, bringing to life ones I didn’t know I had.  The simplest task became a monumental effort, requiring more physical and mental strength that I was capable of giving, so I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  Instead of trying to push through unbearable pain, I gave it all to One who was willing to carry it for me.   Only He understood what I had no way of comprehending.  Only His yoke could carry the overwhelming weight of what threatened to smother the life out of me. 

I threw it at Him. 

He was and IS faithful to continue carrying it, but there are days that, just like my arm, I feel the ache of that fracture more intensely.  The weakness is permanent, and with it are limitations.  And, just like with my arm, I may only be back to 80% of what and who I once was, but I have no regrets.  I’ve learned to live despite this fracture, and while I cannot and will not ever ignore it, I will press on.  That fracture has become a precious part of me.  Ironically, the cast I wear now is also purple. 

I know this is a difficult time for those of you who know what this break feels like.   I know the urge to go to sleep until January, or run screaming every time you hear a Christmas carol is strong.  I know the ache is more intense, and you feel like the weight of your pain will smother you.  But hold on to Him. Throw it at Him.  Let Him carry it and you.  I’m praying for us all.  I know together, with His help, and the love of those we hold dear, we can embrace how beautifully broken we are and we can somehow see the delight of the season. 

 We are in this TOGETHER. 

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