Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

August 13, 2010

Strapped in the Chair

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I spent several days and nights strapped in the chair.  Perhaps that sounds like some kind of punishment.  Some might even jump to a conclusion that my parents strapped me in a chair for some reason.  I probably did deserve that at times, but I assure you that my partnership with the chair had no connection to my parents or bad behavior.  It was required for my good!

With that strange introduction, I’ll share some background and explanation.  Costa Rica’s national sport is football.  Not football as we would think in America.  Football there, as in most Latin American countries, is soccer.  Soccer was an unknown sport to me.  It had not yet been widely played in the U.S.  I certainly knew little about it.  But I loved it, even though I did not understand the game.

But at 36 years of age, I took up the game.  I became part of a team from the Spanish Language Institute.  We  played various teams around the city of San Jose.  Of course, most of us were American, Chinese, and Canadians.  It was an opportunity for us to keep in physical shape as well as enjoy the fellowship with one another.  I was really the old man on the team, but I felt I could make a contribution . . . and I just wanted to play!

One Saturday morning we practiced.  We were all attempting to understand the game better and work through certain drills and plays.  I recall a break away toward the opponent’s goal.  The goalie, a large Canadian, pulled out from the goal to intercept me.  I was driving hard as he approached to defend me.  I guess I thought I was invincible and I headed straight toward him.  We both suddenly realized we would collide.  As a reaction, the defender drew his knee up high to protect himself and I drove straight into that knee.  Because of his height, the knee impacted my rib cage.  Of course I had the wind knocked out of me, and I bent to the ground to catch my breath. 

Many times I have had the wind knocked out of me, and I would be able to continue to play after a few minutes.  As expected, I soon felt ready to play again.  But as I began to run up the field, I realized it was more than being winded.  The impact into the ribs began to thaw!  I left practice and caught a bus home.  At home, as I removed my shirt, I could see the damage.  The rib cage was out of alignment —  to say the least.

We called a taxi and went to the hospital.  The doctor did not need to do anything but rub his hand across the rib cage.  He did not hesitate to say I had broken ribs.  He asked would I like for him to take x-rays.  My response was what he thought.  He did not see any reason for x-rays because he said it would only be for a count of the broken ribs.

Medical treatment was different there.  Judy had received training to care for much of our needs and for giving injections and other treatments.  With this situation, we bowed to the advice of the doctor.  He simply strapped me around the chest and gave instructions that I should not lie down.  I was told to sit upright for the next several days and nights for fear of a puncture to the lungs.

At home, there was one high-back chair.  Fortunately, it was padded.  I found this chair to be my “bed” for the next several days.  With the pain medication the doctor gave me . . . and the sleep hours of a normal night coming . . . I realized that I might fall forward out of the chair when dozing or sleeping.  Thus I was strapped to the chair!

I have forgotten had many days and nights this continued . . . but I did survive, of course!  They were long, agonizing days.  I couldn’t laugh –besides, what was funny about this?  I couldn’t cry — even if I wanted to because of the discomfort it would bring.  The experience stands out in my memory as a difficult time, but it did not last.  In so many difficult or even painful times in my life, I have discovered that I must anticipate a new day coming!  Even if the new day is not what I expected, there is reason to rejoice.

All of us should “hold on” and be patient with ourselves and the situation.  A new day and morning is coming!

” . . . weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5)



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