Sunday, March 2, 2014

How My Superman Resurrected

You know those revelation stages that you have to face from time to time in your life? Those kinds of disillusions that murder all your heroes one by one... It generally starts at the age of 6-7 when you realize that Santa Claus is just an illusion. And the Easter bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Killed them all in a two-minute pitiless interrogation to my mum.


But the harshest revelation of all is probably the moment when you realize that you're not invincible, that you're no more special than your neighbor. Even if you theoretically know that you're not, it may not be enough for you to believe it.
I lived a quarter of century with a little superman inside me. He died two years ago when I broke my knee. Not immediately. It took me a month after I tore my ligament to realize that it was broken for real, and that I was consequently breakable. That is to say, not invincible. I too could be seriously hurt.

Two years and a good fixing later, I've learnt to deal with the loss. Rather than relying on a fake idol, I trust myself, my body and my mind. (And my lucky star - that one is not dead... yet.)


But recently I had another physically traumatizing experience during the Super Brawl of Roller Derby. Last game of the day, against Team Canada, five minutes before the end. A heavyweight crashed on my ankle. Third pass, I was being recycled and got hit to the inside. I fell and was about to get up, one foot on the ground and... BAM. Bad timing. Tackled back to the ground, crushed by an imbroglio of skaters. I was already thinking "Man, I have to crawl back into the track for the refs to call off the jam." 
But I didn't have to, the nearest ref to the pile-up took the liberty of stopping it. Great, because I was too busy shouting. Not so much out of pain, but rather out of rage. The medics rushed to me, spilling the content of the first-aid kit in the hurry. They didn't know what to start with. Seeing how clumsy they were with the taking off of my skate, I finished the business myself. And I refused to leave the arena on the stretcher. I have my pride.
"Can you skate on one foot?"
I was dying to answer "Dude, did you read my jersey? It says Team F'n France on it!" Instead I raised my eyebrow and got back up on my valid foot. They escorted me to the medics room.

I took off my sock. Pretty swollen. Ice pack. They started questionning me to fill out the form. Friends were coming by waves of two or three to check how okay I was. It didn't feel like broken but I'm bad at guessing those things.
"On a scale from 0 to 10, how much does it hurt?" 3. "Don't fall for it, that means 7!" Sailor Blood said. I checked later, the guy actually wrote 7 on the form. They called an ambulance for an x-ray check-up. We killed the time pouring out borderline jokes out of nervousness, which didn't lighten up the atmosphere much, but at least made it pretty lively.

The ambulance maneuvered to get out of the sports complex, back pedaling in the dark with no visibility. We ended up... into a parked car. The owner was there.
The ambulance driver had no accident report form with him.
The ambulance driver had no business card with him.
The ambulance driver waisted five minutes trying to find a nonexistent solution before plugging in his brain and realizing that "there's somebody waiting in the back!" Thank you.


Karla Karschër had got into the ambulance but could not stay with me in the waiting room because it was too small - although it was not, I know it, I've been there. Alone. For three hours. We texted to each other until we ran out of battery, one after the other.

The first appointment was only a recap of the medics' form. They forced me to take pain killers although I told them I was okay and I had rather be aware of my pain. Moreover I had not eaten and didn't want to be high the whole evening.
"If you have to walk on your foot tonight, you'd better take those pills." As if I had the choice...

The second appointment was for the x-ray. The suspense was about to be broken. I was not very worried at first but the waiting had made me uncertain. "You didn't botch it, dear" said the old radiologist lady eyeing at my ankle while I was pulling myself up on the table. Thanks for reassuring me. A couple of shots later, I was back into the waiting room.

"Hey, I saw you playing tonight", said a voice to my left. Girl from Toulouse, also queuing, for a minor problem. A fun encounter that enabled both of us to pass time. Half past midnight. Eager to know my ankle's fate. Without further ado, the intern taking care of my file appeared out of the blue, interrupted our conversation and just said "it's nothing."
I felt like jumping on both my feet and hugging her. (But couldn't, so didn't.) She drove my wheelchair to a side room, gave me a splint and made me fill out some papers... and out we were, my sprained ankle and me! Without crutches but high on morphine. Team mates came pick us all up and we went straight to the afterparty.


At that very moment when I understood the meaning of the words pronounced by the intern, when she said "it's nothing", a light that I thought extinguished forever rekindled inside me. And my Superman rose from the dead in a Saunta Claus-like laughter. "Oh, oh, oh!" It's a miracle.

Ten days of rest, she said.
Two weeks later my ankle is still traumatized and I don't blame the poor thing. I know I inherited the lightest damage as possible and couldn't hope for less even in my foolest dreams.

Now that things have more or less sorted themselves out, that the ankle has unswollen and that I can walk without crutches and splint (although I do take the whole gear out when I venture in the street), I'm waiting for a double check because it needs a good manipulation! I would say that the twisting may have got it out of alignment a bit. I look forward as much as I dread getting a second opinion, because my superman is still weak. But the sooner the better, I guess!