Let’s go to the fair!

Giant slide, Minnesota State Fair, Falcon Heig...

Giant slide, Minnesota State Fair, Falcon Heights, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I received a text this evening from one of my favorite people. It said, “Blog about the state fair. I’m feeling melancholy.” I responded, saying I was sad too, but I thought it was a little early to write about the fair since I was still in denial that it was over. We texted some of our thoughts about the yearly spectacle, and I began to truly consider why the State Fair, the Great Minnesota Get Together, holds me in its thrall. It might be understandable if I were an out-going, party loving extrovert, but I am not – I am an introvert. Go figure.
If you don’t know anything about the fair, here is a link you might find helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_State_Fair.

Wikipedia is a good place to start your MN State Fair education, but descriptions, definitions and statistics cannot capture the essence of the fair, it can only give you the framework. To explain the phenomenon of the fair I am going to steal an acronym from author and futurist, Leonard Sweet: The Minnesota State Fair is EPIC, truly EPIC. That means, according to Dr. Sweet, that it is Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich and Connected. Yep. And extraordinarily fun. Does that make it FEPIC? No matter. If you are in Minnesota during the last week of August, you simply must get yourself to St Paul, jog up Como Ave, push through the main gates with hundreds of other fine folks, and live it up at the fair for an entire day. Or two.

The fair is sensory overload at its most friendly and inviting. Colors are everywhere, food is everywhere, music is everywhere, smells are everywhere, new experiences and old favorites are everywhere, and people, lots of people, are everywhere.  Quick aside: Favorite new experience : the Giant Sing Along venue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvfBtA8Ks54&feature=colike. Favorite tried-and-true experience: the Creative Arts Building. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ficIIAbuGOw&feature=colike

My absolute favorite aspect of the fair is the music. You can buy tickets to the Grandstand acts, of course, but anyone at the fair has access to all the free music venues throughout the grounds all day long. These are professional musicians, often they are performers who are nationally known, eg: Riders In The Sky and Tonic Sol Fa. (Fair story about RITS: Our son was in high school, and had his wisdom teeth removed the day before he went to the fair with his buddies. I told him that he might not enjoy his day because eating would be a hassle. He went anyway. When he came home he immediately asked for pain medication. I started the “I told you so” routine when he interrupted, saying, “No, Mom! It wasn’t the food! It was “Riders In The Sky.” Their songs were so funny that I couldn’t stop laughing. That’s why my mouth is sore!”) I usually purchase a CD from my favorite musical group at the fair. This, of course, enlarges my eclectic collection of CD’s, which I enjoy all year long.

The fair is such a huge experience, both in the size of the grounds and in the range of activities, that a single visit may not permit an individual to come away with an accurate impression. With this in mind, I am going to try to write my thoughts on the fair in a few blog entries. This will be helpful in a couple of ways: 1. perhaps I will be able to figure out why the fair has such a special place in my heart, and 2., as long as I  write about the fair, it isn’t really over, is it?

Speaking from the supine position

Bimalleolar fracture and right ankle dislocati...

Image via Wikipedia

Six days ago I broke my ankle and foot by stepping off a curb. Not by sliding into home base, not by making a heroic jump from a burning building,  but by stepping off a curb. There weren’t even any adult beverages involved, more’s the pity. I heard a snap as I fell and yelped, and watched as my left ankle swelled, a purple tinge coloring the outside edge of my leg and foot. We were right next to our car, which made it relatively easy (thanks to a strong son and husband) to transfer into the back seat, get my leg elevated and drive to our local emergency department.

I am an x-ray tech by profession, and have x-rayed hundreds of ankles in my lifetime, so it was no surprise when the ER doctor came back with the diagnoses(“You broke it”), the splint material and some ace bandages. We  had even stopped at home on our way to the hospital to pick up some crutches, anticipating the challenges of ambulation I would face when we left the Emergency Room. While we were waiting for the discharge papers to arrive, I tried to think through what would need to happen at home to allow me to adjust to life with one leg immobilized and painful; I tried to remember what I had told patients over the years as they hobbled away from the cast room at the ortho clinic looking dazed. Some of that ‘good advice’ filtered through the pain and shock, but there are things that only a real life experience can teach you. Example: I had no idea how much time is spent in the “supine” (pronounced ‘sue-pine’, accent on ‘pine’) position, otherwise known as “flat on your back”. In order to keep my ankle/foot elevated and somewhat pain-free, I spend all my sleeping hours and many of my waking hours supine. It is hard to get used to this! It has given me a new perspective on life, literally and figuratively, so I hope to gain from it. Thus, some of my blog entries will be titled, “Speaking from the supine position.”

As a someone who has been around a lot of  sick and injured people, I thought I understood more than most what the difficulties are which patients face after a minor trauma. But although I understood that objective knowledge of fractures, including  dozens of  years working with orthopaedic doctors, attending severe trauma cases and assisting with orthopaedic surgeries, does not completely prepare one  for the subjective experience of sustaining a fracture, it is still somewhat shocking to experience first hand what I have seen people go through as patients. There’s a lot more to it than I thought. And I will share that with you, eventually, but right now I need a nap – which will be done in the supine position, of course.