It happened unexpectedly. Childbirth usually does. But this wasn’t childbirth, it was my husband.
Man down! Man down!
My husband took a spill after coming off an escalator and was hunched over in unbearable pain.
Waving him over to the nurse room with a close friend who could help translate, I tried to keep my kids calm and think about what we should do.
We were hosting an “Amazing Race” style event for about 20 students at a local upscale mall, and the race was set to begin in less than five minutes.
I announced that the race would be slightly delayed and then went to see how things were going at the nurse station.
One look told me that things were not going well.
Sweat was pouring down his head, he was pale, shaking and the furrowed brow told me he was in huge pain.
When the nurse told me there were no broken bones, experience told me that kind of pain could only come from dislocation.
Here my Russian vocabulary failed me, and so I looked questioningly at the nurse and made a popping noise and imitated popping a chicken bone out of a socket with my hands.
Time to get Jake help. And fast.
The pain would only lessen after his shoulder was put back in, and I was worried about him going into shock.
I put the race into the charge of three judges and tried to get all of us down to the car as fast as possible.
I knew from Jake helping during childbirth that nice, soft words weren’t going to cut it.
I began talking him through every step.
“Walk to the elevator!”
“Now get to the car!”
“I’m going to get you to IMC (a local medical clinic).”
“They will be able to help you.”
Every speed bump or push on the brake pedal increased his agony.
After giving birth to three boys, I could totally relate.
So I started instructing him to hold is breath when I could see a pothole or speed bump.
With the moans getting louder, and the pain increasing (as the muscles began to contract), I could empathize with what I had put my husband through as he drove me to the hospital to give birth.
I felt helpless.
Finally we were at the clinic, where they confirmed the shoulder was dislocated
Problem was we had to get an X ray to make sure it was safe to get the joint back in.
Off the X ray clinic, I kept up the commands.
“Don’t pass out.”
“Hold your breath. A big bump is coming.”
“We’re almost there.”
Finally, with an X ray in hand, we made it back to the first clinic.
The many milligrams of pain medicine began to take effect. I found myself talking about anything that came into my head, trying to distract him so his muscles would relax making it easier for the shoulder to go back in.
This also reminded me of childbirth, only this was more like the epidural kind.
We talked about hamburgers, french fries, what flavor of milkshake he wanted, where he wants to hold the next race, what sort of activities he wants to include, etc.
Finally the doctor was satisfied with his relaxed state and it was time for the main event.
It took three of us. Two to pull on a strap wrapped around his chest and one to pull in the opposite direction on the arm.
Thankfully all that relaxing made it easier. Three hard pulls (and three distinct pops) and the joint was back in.
No baby, but we still felt like celebrating.
Transformed from a man in unbearable pain to someone very hungry, he even suggested going out for that hamburger and french fries we had been talking about.
I had to admit I was hungry, too.