I dislocated my elbow today. We walked to the ICC Center almost every time we go. About 5 days a week, 45 weeks a year, about a 2-mile, 40-minute walk by the road. There is a shortcut through the fields that is about a 1.5-mile, 30-minute walk. Winnie was going to take some visitors by the bus. I decided to walk alone. It was drizzling, so I knew it was going to be muddy and slippery. So I was careful to pick my steps and to take small steps. But apparently not enough. I slipped on a slight down slope.
I landed on my right side. Staring up at the cloudy sky, I stayed still and did a mental assessment. No pain. Nothing broken. No bleeding. No head injury. Thinking clearly. No immediate danger. I decided to slowly get up. That was when I felt the pain in my left arm. I looked and could clearly see that it was dislocated at the elbow. The forearm was making the skin jut out past the elbow – but no broken skin. Thanks, God. I wondered what to do next. I was alone. There may be no one passing by for more than half an hour, maybe more.
Then God put a thought in my head – a thought that I haven’t thought about for over 20 years: a mountain climbing partner who had dislocated her shoulder, “popped” it back in and then continued climbing. I wondered if I couldn’t do a similar thing. In pain, I straightened out my left arm. I couldn’t pull, so I squeezed the elbow joint instead. It worked! The forearm bones went back in the socket. The pain subsided. And I walked the remaining way back to the center.
I had gotten to the center before Winnie. I told her what happened. She looked me over, circulation okay, feeling okay – just minor swelling. But 30 minutes later, the pain returned. I couldn’t straighten out my arm. We iced it and compressed it and went to the hospital. They took x-rays and confirmed that everything was okay (no breaks or fractures) except for normal swelling/pain and incipient arthritis.
Based on my history, I figured it would probably be months before I would be pain-free, maybe never if the arthritis kicked in. But more importantly, was God trying send me a message? When something happens that should not have, I’ve learn to look deeply for what God is trying to teach/tell me.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
Comment: Our season of full time volunteering with ICC is about over and God had other plans for us. What next, we do not know. There is some much that we can do here at ICC Hengyang and we enjoy the kids, the people and the lifestyle. I think God was giving us a nudge, a hint to following Him obediently. Is this the message? I got to think about this some more.
Comment 2: God doesn’t waste our past – at least not mine. Having been through one dislocation accident gave me the confidence to handle this one. Also, I learned about RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) years ago, and this was the first time I had to put it into practice – on myself.