It all started with a scorpion.
It was early morning and I’d walked, sleepy-headed, back and forth from the great room into the kitchen several times. Barefoot. Several times. Pouring coffee, grabbing another section of the newspaper to take back to my soft spot on the couch, peering into the refrigerator to think about what I’d fix for breakfast, heading back to my coffee and newspaper. Back and forth. I’d just walked once more — barefoot — into the kitchen to pour a second cup of coffee when I heard Dan thwacking the floor with his shoe. Thwack! Thwack! THWACK!
Shoe thawacking means only one thing in Arizona — another annoying bug on the floor.
What’d you kill? I asked, casually figuring it was probably a summer cricket who had found refuge inside the house from the previous night’s monsoon rain.
Scorpion, he said.
I spun around. WHAT? SCORPION? There, on the dark wood floor of the great room was a now thoroughly thwacked scorpion, the same walnut color as the floor. Right where I had walked across several times over. In that moment, I discovered there is nothing like a giant brown scorpion to set one’s bare feet dancing up and down while the mouth is screaming in a siren pitch only heard by dogs and other women afraid of scorpions.
I slept that night wearing socks, with a pair of easily-inspected sandals on top of the nightstand and a coaster covering my bedside water glass — just in case. Remembering that scorpions crawl up walls and ceilings, only to drop onto the beds of unsuspecting sleepers, it took a while to relax and fall asleep. I considered wearing long pajamas duct taped to my ankles and wrists, a hat and rubber gloves, but, alas, Phoenix is a bit hot for that sort of sleeping gear.
The following morning — this time sensibly wearing shoes in the house and scanning for any little skittering movement across the floor — I slowly began to regain my confidence that yesterday’s scorpion kill was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. I poured my coffee and then wiped the counter and stove top just to tidy up. I started toward the couch with my coffee when — again — I heard a now-familiar sound. Thwack! Thwack! THWACK!
Scorpion. On top of the stove.
On the STOVE?
A bit smaller than the first one, but still … on the stove top? Where I had just two seconds earlier had my hand? My precious, delicate, scorpion-fearing hand? On the stove top?
Scorpion number two in two days was too much!
I packed my gear and decided to stay at my daughter’s house until the pest control people could come with their masks and their thick rubber gloves and their fog of death guaranteed to ALMOST kill any scorpion around.
My daughter picked me up after her shift as an ER nurse. It was post midnight, which meant I was at least two hours into my own fog of seizure medication and lack of sleep. Not wanting to wake up sleeping babies, we left the lights off and whispered our way into her house. Carrying my purse and a heavy overnight bag, I headed up the pitch black stairs to the second floor.
You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Yep. You guessed it. Halfway up, I made a misstep and fell UP the stairs. Who in the world falls UP … except maybe Alice in Wonderland — and now me. Without that handsome Johnny Depp to catch me mid-fall, I landed with a cracking thud.
Long story short, the good news is I’m about a week and a half now into the healing of a minimally displaced greater tuberosity fracture — the place where the top of the humerus bone rounds into the ball that fits into the shoulder socket. Only 2% of arm fractures occur in the greater tuberosity, which makes me quite pleased that I’m in the upper 2% of SOMETHING. The even better news is that the rotator cuff was not torn in the process, meaning I don’t require surgery and a lengthy process of painful healing. No. My particular fracture only requires a slightly less-than-lengthy process of painful healing — three weeks of restricted use and then two or three months of physical therapy, starting with carefully designed range of motion exercises before moving on to any lifting, pushing, or otherwise engaging my arm in the normal business of the day.
Good news, huh?
The best news is that the scorpions seem to have moved on elsewhere and I’ll have a perfectly good arm once again — perhaps I’ll have two arms even stronger than before once I’m able to work on strength training.
In the meantime, I’m now able to type more than one sentence without tears rolling down my face and I’ve developed the sensible habit of wearing shoes all the time.
Yay! … I think.