When is a person NOT like a snake?

A pain in the

A pain in the

Geneticists say we share a whole bunch of DNA with all other animals. You know, snakes have spines, and so do we. Snakes have eyes, and so do we. If you want to study how human lungs take bad things out of your blood and replace them with oxygen? you better have yourself a big snake.  I have a friend who did that kind of research at the Harvard School of Public Health, and he introduced me to his snake. A big snake with lungs remarkably like ours.

A snake could not fall in the bathtub and break her hip. Obviously. She doesn’t have one. We wouldn’t either if we didn’t need strength and balance for doing things like standing up.

On about February 1, I was putting up the shower curtain in my bathroom—which I had accidentally pulled down cleaning—and was standing in a precarious position with one foot on the tub and my other foot on the toilet. I fell right after I told myself what you’re telling me right now, “This is dumb. You’re going to fall.” This was not one of those old man “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up” moments. It was just dumb.

I landed on my hip on the bathtub—not in the tub, but on it. Even when I dislocated my shoulder the first time, I did not feel pain like that. The pain made me nauseous. I slowly got up and decided that, since I could stand, I probably had not broken my hip.

Last week (seven weeks later) both my doctor and my (newly found) physical therapist told me that most likely I bruised my Sacrospinous ligament, or one of my Sacrococcygeal ligaments, or—most likely—my Iliolumbar ligament. Or all of them. And yes, the PT did point them out on a plastic skeleton.

If you bruise a muscle, it heals pretty fast because all that blood the snake’s lungs and our lungs clean up and send out to do its job goes to muscles, not ligaments. You bruise a ligament, and it hurts like hell for a long, long time. If it’s in your hip, every time you get in and out of your car you stretch the bruise and never give it a chance to heal.

So now I’m doing PT twice a week for a while, and I have to wear this belt around my butt 24/7. It holds my butt together so I (supposedly) can’t move wrong and stretch those ligaments again, and they will have a chance to heal. The picture is inaccurate. I wear it under my jeans. It’s a pain in the ass.

In a (campaign) speech he delivered on March 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln said,18630124_Emancipation_Proclamation-Harpers-Nast

If I saw a venomous snake crawling in the road, any man would say I might seize the nearest stick and kill it; but if I found that snake in bed with my children, that would be another question. [Laughter.] I might hurt the children more than the snake, and it might bite them. [Applause.] *

Funny that Abraham Lincoln and I should both use snakes as a metaphor. He used it as a metaphor for slavery, of course. I’m not sure what my use is a metaphor for.

Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation was an act of war, not of morality or compassion. He had no power to free the slaves, especially in the secessionist states. He had the power to conscript slaves to leave their masters and join the Union forces in war against them. The 13th Amendment was the vehicle of ending slavery in the United States.** Nevertheless, we all know the work—the long, painful process—of bringing equality to all Americans is not yet finished. Emancipation is a long way off.

Yesterday on Facebook, notice of a posting by one of my friends (an actual friend, someone I love dearly) on his Wall surprised (“shocked” is a better word) me. It was a picture of President Obama’s daughters on vacation for Spring Break. The caption was vile. It purported to be a criticism of the Obama family spending our money to go to the Bahamas. Of course the ridiculous inaccuracy of that criticism is obvious.

blc02Because I am not a snake, I am wearing a ridiculous belt around my ass.

Abraham Lincoln’s metaphor of the snake drew great laughter and applause that day in New Haven, Connecticut.

Anyone who sees my friend’s Facebook post knows it’s not about the President’s family spending tax money. It’s about those uppity people daring to have a family vacation together. The nerve!

My writing skill, I am afraid, is not great enough to tie all of this together.

Snake. Racism. Equality. Pain in the ass. You figure it out.
* Lincoln, Abraham. “Speech at New Haven.” The History Place. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.
**  The most accessible and accurate account of the situation surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation I know of is:  Wills, Gary. Lincoln at Gettysburg: the Words that Remade America. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.