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Week of February 24, 2015 - Trauma Care, part 4

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 1:30 PM | Anonymous

Trauma Care in the Wild, part four

I am telling you the story of my traumatized wrist, so let’s return to Story Medicine for a while.
 
The Second Step of Healing is Story Medicine. Story Medicine is diagnosis. It is the answer to “why?” It is the answer to “what?” It is the stories we tell ourselves when we are injured or ill.

For most people with access to hi-tech medicine, the desire to know “why” and “what” sweeps the patient immediately into the last river of healing, the most dangerous river. My injured wrist looked ugly and distorted and part of me wanted to know just what had happened. Was it broken? Dislocated? Sprained? I knew that what we did immediately to counter the trauma was more important that answering those questions, so we applied immediate first aid measures as outlined in part one of this series.

After teaching my class, and while continuing to rest, ice, elevate, and compress my wrist, I called Alex, our Tico friend, over and told him that, if he would take me, I would go for an x-ray if one was available. At that point, I figured, waiting in an emergency room for hours wouldn’t slow my healing. In fact, from now on, I realized, it was just a matter of being patient while my wrist healed. As it turned out the nearest x-ray facility was about ten hours away. My curiosity was not that strong, so we didn’t go.
 
But I was hesitant that I was doing all I could to help myself. Perhaps I was being foolish and needed hi-tech help.

Instead of an x-ray to tell me what to do, I asked for stories. Other people’s stories of sprained or broken wrists. These two stories were right there in our circle, immediately available to me, not ten hours away. Let me tell you what they told me.


Broken Wrist (Healthy white woman in her thirties)
“I fell while hiking and was carried out to the emergency room. X-rays revealed a broken wrist. I received the best modern orthopedic surgery: My wrist was set, screwed, pinned, wired, and immobilized.” She described in detail the horror and pain upon the removal of the pins and the months of physical therapy. She showed us her wrist. It could not bend back at all!

“If that is the very best modern medicine can do in a worst-case scenario, I know I can do better,” I said, with emphasis, after listening to her story and looking at her hand and wrist. “Even if my wrist is broken, there is no need for an x-ray, because I heal rapidly and well – and the healing is already under way.”

Broken Ankle (Healthy white teenage boy)
“My son fell while rollerblading, waited in the emergency room for several hours, then was told that the swelling was too severe to do what they needed to do to put his ankle back together again. ‘The bones are not only broken, but out of place,’ they told him. ‘Come back in two weeks when the swelling has subsided and we will operate.’ He went home and allied with comfrey: He drank the infusion and used the spent plant material as a poultice. He also soaked his ankle in comfrey infusion. Two weeks later, he had surgery. When he was in the recovery room, the surgeon came in and smiled at him. ‘Never seen anything like it,’ he admitted. ‘When we opened you up, all the bones in your ankle were back in place and the fractures were healing exceptionally well. We put a screw in, just so we wouldn’t have cut you for no reason.’”

“Thank you for sharing your son’s story,” I said with real appreciation. Now I knew for certain that I could heal my trauma better than modern medicine could, without x-rays and without surgery.

We live by stories. Stories tell us what we can do and how we can do it. When we change our stories, we change our lives. The next time you are hurt or ill, ask for stories and see what the universe has in store for you. I have never been disappointed.

to be continued . . .


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