Monday, November 15, 2010

Heal, Heel

I got up at 5:30 a.m. last Thursday, already behind on work. In the dark, I couldn’t find my heavy shoes, so I threw on a cheap pair of slippers. On this one choice, a woman’s future rested. Within minutes, I was in the downstairs bathroom, seeing something that needed a bit of a quick wipe up. Up two stairs to get a rag. Down the two stairs to—land on my ass, feet splayed out in front of me.
I had, it turns out, broken a bone spur in the bottom of my heel, a fact that would be revealed to me several hours later, as I sat, white-faced and exhausted from crying, in front of an x-ray of my foot.

Since I was a child who never left the basement for playtime and am an adult who prefers yoga and Zumba to anything involving point-keeping, I have never broken anything. And now, I’ve got an air boot and a set of crutches and a prescription for Vicodin, just like a Big 10 athelete who got tackled and who is in danger of losing his scholarship.

I can remember a time, long ago, when I was very sick. The day I came home from the hospital, a friend said, “I’ll bet you’re learning some important lessons.” If I hadn’t been so weak, I would have hit her.

So I’m trying to avoid turning this into a Very Special Episode of the Julie! Show, but some lessons have emerged. Of course this is the perfect opportunity to learn how much I am loved, and how much everyone wants to give back to me for all the family sacrifices I’ve made. My particular family seems to be passing on that opportunity at the moment, but hey, the door is open. They remind me of someone at a funeral who says “be sure to tell me if you need anything” and then walks backward out the door and leaves on a six-week vacation. To Bali.

Of course my daughter immediately posted the news of my accident on Facebook; bowel movements (so far) are the only thing that escape its pervasive, teen-ruling radar. But, on Thursday night, when I lay in bed, pleading for ice, the tv was on just a little too loudly, attention just a little bit elsewhere, so I crawled down the stairs on my butt and got my own ice. I'm learning that the true meaning of the offer is "be sure to tell me if there's anything I can do while staring at my computer screen."  Since it's not possible to "click to bring mom ice" in the way one can click to send rice abroad, I'm out of luck.

“Anything I can do” is easy enough to say, but not so easy to pull off. I’ve noticed, for example, that getting any object, even as small as a spool of thread, moved from one floor to another is not part of the Teamster Sympathy contract under which the house is currently operating. It’s a different union, is what I’m guessing, but when I ask, “could the basket of laundry get to the basement?” I see furrowed brows and quizzical expressions, perhaps indicating a hope that the laundry will fly there of its own accord.

There are some benefits to the situation, mostly, so far, the drugs. The Vicodin has mellowed me to the point of almost-scary agreeability, and the children love it. I think of Vitamin V as the ultimate man drug. It makes me just sit still, happy to watch the passing parade and see the busy little bees getting work done. Whatever, I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to get it all done, honey. Time for my nap. I started barking orders about putting things back in their proper place on Sunday and Mary Katherine said, “Isn’t it time for another pill, Mom?”

I guess this is the beginning of the end. Thanks to cataract surgery four years ago, I can’t drive at night, and now I’ve had a fall in the home. Next, the walker, and the portable commode. And I haven’t even joined AARP yet. I swear that I’ll check out on my own before I cling to strands of a useless life, but how will I know?

I have a trick question I ask the girls: “What brand of adult diaper will you buy for me?” The correct answer is “Shoot you.”

That's right, honey.  I just hope that the job of pulling the trigger isn’t handled by a different union.

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