Urban Trauma

Well, I’ve done it again. Another day, another muscle pull. This time it really hurts. This time I had sensations of tearing, tingling, and a few sharp, excruciating spasms thrown in for good measure. Makes me long for the good old days of a simple dull ache. I arrived at the National Academy last night practically buckled over in pain. Something happened to my left internal oblique muscle, and it isn’t good 😥

So how does something like this happen, even to a physically fit person like myself? Here’s how; you blame the city of New York and its transit system. I was on the uptown B train which runs along the west side. Overconfident little miss queen of balance and yoga that I am, I didn’t hang onto anything and instead, stood unanchored and freestyle in the crowded rush hour subway car. My modeling bag on the ground between my feet was my only source of stability. Look Mom! No hands! As the train approached 86th Street, the conductor slammed on the brake, the train lurched, and those of us passengers with the “I’m so cool I don’t have to hang onto the bar” attitude, got tossed around like ragdolls. I hit a man and almost fell onto him. “I’m so sorry!”, I said to him. Finally the train came to a halt, I exited, and right away I felt the burning sensation on my left side. So I’m guessing the sudden, violent lurch of the B train, and my stupid refusal to grab hold of a pole, caused a muscle pull.

Then it was onto the crosstown bus, another ten ton swerving city vehicle, filled to capacity, on which I felt like I could cry out in agony and scream bloody hell. Then came the walk up Fifth Avenue, during which my normally brisk, robust gait transformed into that of a slow 80 year old woman with brittle bones and bad legs. “Ow, ow, ow, ouch!”, I kept saying under my breath. When I finally arrived to the National Academy, where I struggled to open their ridiculously heavy door, I hobbled into the lobby, threw my bags on the floor, and promptly laid down on the bench outside the office. I held my midsection and uttered anguished noises. Everyone who walked by stopped and asked,”Claudia, are you ok? Claudia? What’s wrong?”. Injured model alert! She’s down!!!

I couldn’t pose for Dan Gheno’s drawing class of all things. He’s my friend who I love, and I felt absolutely terrible about it. Everyone, including Dan, was concerned for me. They actually wanted me to go home! But I hate to disappoint people. HATE it. Even though everyone was totally understanding and sympathetic, I still feel just awful. In my mind, this is an unfortunate and unacceptable glitch which mars my normally pristine work record. Oh well. Guess I’m human after all.

I talked to my doctor today, and he told me what I already knew; that it’s likely a tear with some hemorrhaging and there’s nothing I can really do except rest and apply heat. I also told him the subway story and he said “Yep. That’ll do it”. So I had to cancel my job at FIT tonight (Another cancellation! Gee whiz. I can’t stand doing this!). But I’m determined to make it to my Friday job at the Studio School. My modeling may be awful, but at least I’ll be there.

I’d better post some art fast before I continue whining and moping like a baby and babbling on about my work ethic, my reliability, blah, blah. Yes, it’s tiresome, I know. This image will do nicely. Seems to represent how I feel; melancholy, helpless, indolent. I also chose it because it shows off the figure’s left side, which is my temporarily disabled and pain-addled side. Hey, at least she can stretch and bend over. I’m jealous!

This is Eve, by the 19th century Pre-Raphaelite poetry and book illustrator Emma Florence Harrison:


10 thoughts on “Urban Trauma

  1. Fred says:

    Get well quickly!

  2. Amanda says:

    I hope you recuperate quickly! And I love that Eve illustrations. Thanks!

  3. ColdSilverMoon says:

    Get well soon, Claudia! The figure drawing world isn’t the same without you.

    And a word of advice: Motrin is your friend (unless you are allergic)! 800 mg, every 8 hrs. Should help with pain and reduce the inflammation. Here’s to a speedy recovery…

  4. artmodel says:

    Amanda, thanks to you! My recuperation is coming along, slowly but surely. And I’m glad you like the illustration. I do too.


  5. artmodel says:

    ColdSilverMoon, more thanks for more good wishes! Everyone is so nice.

    I haven’t gone the Motrin route yet. I’m one of those masochistic people who avoids painkillers except when I REALLY can’t handle it. Then I succumb. So far I’ve just been mainlining Vitamin C 🙂


  6. Ow, poor Claudia, glad it’s on the mend; you must take better care of yourself. I have been trying paper clay as an alternative to terra cotta clay (can’t use modern stuff for this particular project) and my hands have become really sore and dry, cracking in the fingers etc, so also are all the pains of ageing, backs and shoulders are worst for sitting in a draughty studio. (I am in the sticks so do not blame the Red Apple!)

  7. Ron says:

    Claudia, I hope you’re feeling better, but I still think you’re better off than the girl in the picture. Either she has an unusually long neck or she has totally lost her head over the situation. Get better soon!

  8. artmodel says:


    Thank you friend. You’re right, I should take better care of myself. What would be nicer is someone to take of me 🙂 Yes, I could use that once in a while, even though I’m a pretty independent gal.

    Sounds like you have your share of minor aches and pains. You too get your rest!


  9. artmodel says:


    Thanks to you too. You made a good observation about that neck in the illustration. The more I look at it, the weirder it seems! They say long necks are graceful and elegant but that’s ridiculous!

    Good to hear from you.


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