The Scroll: The Rainbow Experience

This month I have had three Rainbow Experiences – the first at the grocery, the second at St. Joe’s hospital and the third here on campus.

On April 1 (yes, April Fool’s Day), I had my groceries on the conveyor belt when I remembered the milk. My favorite checker said, “Run back for it.” So, I did just that. I should have sauntered. I fell hard on my shoulder. Against the advice of my personal injury attorney, Father John Malone, I am freely admitting that it was not the fault of Rainbow Foods. I am a first-class klutz.

Dr. Susan Alexander

Dr. Susan Alexander

The end of my humerus was sticking out of my arm about eight inches below the ball and socket joint where it belongs. Even with a morphine drip sufficient to make me slur my words, it hurt like – well, just as much as you’d guess from my description.

The first attempt to reset my dislocated shoulder gave me my second Rainbow Experience. Warning me that I might have an out-of-body experience, the emergency room attendant gave me ketamine. Those of you who watch too much "Law and Order" will recognize ketamine as a street drug, Special K. Street drugs!? Really? Me? I am a semirespectable economist; street drugs and I are not well acquainted. I did stay in my body, but the drab florescent lights lowered from the ceiling until my face was in a chandelier of prism lights reflecting every color imaginable.

Now for my UST end of the Rainbow. If you ever doubt the strength of the St. Thomas community, just show up at a meeting with your arm immobilized. From setting up for a board meeting to cutting my meat, offers of help have been thoughtful and plentiful. It is so irritating not to be able to manage buttons and zippers properly, but those problems pale in comparison to one-handed keyboarding – numbers, signs and symbols show up in the oddest $@*&!& places when I hunt and peck. See what I mean? But even in the face of reduced productivity and inconvenience, I recognize that the warmth of our community is truly my own pot of gold.

Of course, all my helpers were hoping for a good story in exchange, and all I had to offer was falling in the grocery. Liz Wilkerson suggested a bar fight, Rick Kunkel a bench-pressing accident (just shouldn’t try to press 300 pounds) and Rich Rexeisen suspected me of punching out my hapless bridge partner over a bad bid. But it’s the grocery story, and I am sticking to it.