Brotherhood of the Broken Bone

April 5th, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

We raised the lamb shank during the UU Seder without irony last night. However, three of us at a table of nine found a light bond around bones.

During two longish periods more or less alone, we spoke of injuries to and treatments for scaphoid and tibia. A ninth grader and two middle-aged men each had tales.

UUs stretch out events, perhaps because they are so lacking in the creed-based rituals and trappings of some many religions. Transmogrification of food stuffs and cough-inducing clouds of incense aren’t regular features in UU services.

However, in towns such as Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts, UU churches often have Jewish members or those who identify as Jewnitarians in their dual religious beings. There the annual Passover Seders are far more elaborate and much, much longer than those I attended in homes of Jewish friends in high school and college. We also manage to create a variety show angle, with sing-along folk and gospel songs, printed and illustrated Haggadah and song books, and three hours of programming.

Early on before we sat, I spoke with Scot and Joey. The former had also chaired the board at the same UU church I had many years before. They eyed my cane and Stormtrooper-style leg cast, asking for the particulars. Then I heard that Joey had broken his wrist’s big bone, the scaphoid one, requiring a graft from a hip to repair this key structural unit. My middle son had broken the same bone last year and I had learned that this bone can die and its repair is a big deal for functioning.

Somewhere after some so-so Iraeli wine and cloying tzimmes, Joey and I were at one side of the table with Ed and everyone else breaking for dessert or kitchen duty. Ed wanted to know my leg details, in no small part because he had his own version.

A couple of decades before, he had also broken a tibia. Unlike my twisting, splintered version, his was a pretty clean break. That inspired his doctors to say that rather than drill, cut, and rod the leg, they’d give him a long cast and a chance to knit without surgery. That meant seven months in an ankle-to-crotch cast, with all the implied discomfort and inconvenience, but with the mitigation of hope for healing without the heavy procedures.

He said it didn’t work. They kept x-raying and kept seeing the two tibia pieces becoming slightly more oblique instead of healing straight. Eventually, they gave up, rebroke the bone and put the metal rod in the tibia. He actually healed after the surgery…without the uncertainty of maybe.

It was not in the spirit of the evening, but I did give a thought to polling the table for other broken-bone sagas. My wife has her own from about 16 years ago. Joey was the only youth there. I wonder how many of the others, ranging from their mid-20s into their 60s could have swapped similar yarns.

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