yellow school bus

Where Were You on Christmas Eve?

Specifically, where were you on Christmas Eve 2017? For some of us, today is Christmas Eve – well, for those of us in the Southern Hemishpere anyway. For you folk north of the big divide – hang in there, it’s coming.

When something spectacular happens on a particular day, it’s usually easier to remember than most days, and that’s why I do remember where I was on Christmas Eve 2017.

The Dreaded Yellow School Bus!

Just to clarify, it was Christmas Eve here in Australia, but I was tripping through Seattle at the time, literally. That’s why I remember the day so well. In the Northern Hemisphere, it wasn’t yet Christmas Eve. It was the night before Christmas Eve. One minute I was taking a photo of yellow school buses on a cold dark night. The next minute I was tripping over a sign on the footpath (that’s Australian for sidewalk).

Yellow school bus behind a wire fence.
As if I hadn’t seen a yellow school bus before – but here was a whole paddock full of them – so I had to take a photo!

No big deal, except that my wrist hurt – a lot! I bought a wrist support at Walgreens and carried on regardless. Nothing could dampen my spirits as the snow came tumbling down for the next two days. As if by magic, it snowed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – for only the third time in a hundred years – in Seattle. The day after Christmas the snow had stopped and I figured I should go to a Medical Centre and have my wrist checked out.

Photo of me with arm in wrist brace on a Seattle street in December
Tying my hair back (or brushing it) is definitely a two-handed exercise – this is me before I ended up in a full cast. But I was still taking photos…

More than a little break!

X-Rays revealed a fairly serious break (‘smashed’ was a word used by the Doctor), so a few days later I ended up in a full-cast – shoulder to wrist. I have nothing but praise for the American Medical system – expensive – Yes!, but very caring and extremely professional.

Again, a little thing like a full cast wasn’t going to stop me – it might have slowed me down a bit, but it didn’t stop me. And if it hadn’t been for possibly needing surgery, I would have just kept right on going. I would have been happy to have had the surgery in Seattle, but my Travel Insurance was paying for it, so they decided to bring me home early. Can’t blame them.

As for the surgery?

I managed to avoid it.

Twelve months later I am reminded by an occasional twinge in my left wrist of that fateful night-before-Christmas-Eve in Seattle. But for the most part, my wrist healed with no problems (fingers crossed!). As predicted, I have lost a little bit of movement range – but nothing to stress about. And I’ve had no pain, which is a blessing.

So, where were you on Christmas Eve, 2017?

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 0 comments

Day 11 – UBC – Story of the Yellow School Bus

It was the night before Christmas Eve, the best part of the shopping was done, and all that was left was to make it home before the cold night air chilled us to the bone. But wait! Is that a yellow school bus? I have to take a photo!

And the rest, as they say, is history.

When you are a tourist in Seattle, and it is almost Christmas, the difference between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres is enormous. The air is seriously cold, and darkness descends on that part of the world when it is still late afternoon. And that is how it happened. It was a combination of yellow school bus and darkness. Oh, and a smattering of ‘the power of thought’, as well.

Take Some Vegemite With You!

My American travel-buddy decided it would be a good idea to buy me some Vegemite for Christmas. Have you ever tried buying Vegemite in Seattle? It wasn’t such a good idea then, and I doubt it ever will be again. After ‘store-hopping’ across town, from Rainier Beach to Bellevue, no Vegemite was to be found – anywhere.

Disheartened and disillusioned, we boarded the bus that would take us back to Rainier Beach – where the store-hopping venture had started. On the way to the store in Bellevue that should have had Vegemite – but didn’t, I had noticed a Best Buy (a bit like our Aussie JB Hi Fi ) store. And since it was still only afternoon on that cold day in December, it made sense, since we were going to be passing it anyway, to take a small detour. We would get off the bus, walk a few blocks back to the Best Buy store, then take the next bus home to Rainier Beach. Nothing could be easier.

Pick up the Sign!

As we walked along the path that would lead us to the Best Buy store, a wooden sign – sort of like a small billboard – had fallen across the path. Since it took up a considerable amount of the walkway, the thought crossed my mind that I should pick it up and stand it against the fence. The words ‘someone might fall over this’ actually formed in my mind, and hovered, as another more compelling thought swirled around and cancelled it out. For some obscure reason, I convinced myself that the simple act of picking up a fallen sign could have unpleasant ramifications – I wasn’t sure what they could be, but the thought of them won out over ‘pick up the sign!’.  So I didn’t. I stepped over the sign and continued walking towards the Best Buy store.

The words ‘Best Buy’ and ‘quick detour’ are not synonymous. I have a habit of gravitating to the technology section of the store and finding myself lost in a world of gadgets, and gadget cables. By the time we left the store, it was dark. No problem, we thought – just a short walk back to the bus.

Is That a Yellow School Bus?

But wait! Is that a yellow school bus? Wow! Just like the ones you see in the movies. I’ll have to take a photo. It was too dark to see whether I had captured the best angle of the bus, but at least I could adjust any short-comings with editing software. I put my iPhone (camera) safely inside my bag, turned around, and tripped over something in the dark. I landed with a thud, almost face down, on the cold, hard cement. Keeping very still for a few seconds, I mentally took stock of any possible injuries. When I was convinced that everything seemed to be intact, I slowly got up. But it didn’t take long to realise that all was not well. I was holding my left wrist in the palm of my right hand – for a good reason. It hurt! And somehow, it seemed to be more floppy than I remembered it being before the fall.

The thought of calling Uber for transport home, crossed my mind, but then I decided the bus would do, and continued walking to the bus stop. Since we had to go back into the city anyway, I decided to buy a brace for my now, very sore wrist. Optimistically, I had almost convinced myself that I was only sporting a sprain, and a brace would tide me over until it healed.

Oh, did you guess that what I tripped over was the sign I should have picked up earlier?

Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

My glass half-full mentality didn’t live up to its usually high standard on that occasion. By the time Christmas was over, I wasn’t so optimistic, and decided to have an x-ray. The verdict? Broken. Well, more like ‘smashed’. Apparently it was a Smith’s Fracture – there was a much longer and more technical explanation but I can’t remember all of it, so Smith’s Fracure will do. At the appointment with the specialist, it was decided that surgery would be the probable next step, and it would be better to be had in the land of Oz than in the American medical system.

To their credit, my travel insurance kicked in, and despite a few long-winded discussions in the process, an earlier flight home was arranged. I was in a full-cast, from below the shoulder to below the wrist, with a quirky bend at the elbow. Travelling without insurance doesn’t make any sense. Not only did the insurance company cover the flight home, but the seats, or should I say, flat beds – were in Business Class. I have nothing but praise for the Aussie company that takes care of all my travel insurance needs, and I would never leave home without them.

To Have, or Not to Have? That is the Question

And as for the surgery? I managed to heal faster and better than expected and was able to avoid surgery. Should I have had the surgery? Probably. Will I have issues in the future because of that decision? Possibly. I’m not a good patient and rarely step inside any medical facility. So the prospect of an operation wasn’t something I wanted to give much thought to. Luckily, I found a way to deal with the initial pain after having the cast removed. As long as I applied Magnesium Oil to my wrist each morning, I was pain-free.

The yellow school bus photo stayed tucked away in the memory of my iPhone. I couldn’t look at it for a very long time. But it’s okay – I’ve passed through the denial and anger stages and I’m now comfortably resting in the acceptance phase. That is why I have written the story of the yellow school bus in this blog.

I’m okay with it, now.

But, I doubt I will ever look at a yellow school bus again, without flashbacks to that cold, dark, late-afternoon in December, in Seattle.

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 6 comments