Rooted, I used to think.

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Tuesday, Jul. 18, 2023 @ 2:54 pm
The Pearl Earring

The nurse hands me a yellow gown, soft and well-worn.

“Everything off down to your underwear,” he instructs, “And open the curtain when you’re done.”

I’m in the windowless acute care ward of the emergency room. The fluorescent lights are dim, and there’s a background hum of monitors and the whoosh of sliding doors.

I pull off my dusty riding shorts, my soiled and torn t-shirt. I’m moving in slow motion. Breathing hurts, lifting my arms hurts, and my right thumb isn’t working well. I struggle out of my sports bra, and bolts of pain shoot from my ribs as I pull the tight, damp lycra over my head. The fabric catches on one of my earrings, and the imitation pearl bounces across the industrial linoleum and rolls underneath a piece of equipment. I pull the other earring off and tuck it into a zipped compartment of my bag, a pointless task because I’ve already decided that I do not have capacity to retrieve its lost mate.

I feel thin and cold in the gown. I slide open the curtain, cross my arms over my chest and sit gingerly on the side of the hospital bed.

The nurse returns. Tells me to lay back on the bed. Starts to pull out supplies to insert an IV.

“Why are you doing that?” I ask more bluntly than I’d intended.

“Because you’ve had a serious injury, and we need to be prepared in case you decline.”

Roots | Shoots