Awake to my sister practicing the last movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor: Moonlight Sonata at sunrise. I smile and nod as Mom asks me if I’ve slept well, scent fresh-ground Sulawesi in the little one-cup coffeemaker Carol and Emelia gave me an age ago, and wonder:
If I grab these moments really REALLY tight, plaster them against my heart like a wall, will they make a fortress of hope and courage? Please?
Yep, right on time: I’m having my usual pre-doctor jittergloom.
Tomorrow I head down for x-rays and The Doc’s, a little more intensely than usual. It’s my six-month anniversary, the date medical insurers use to signal healing. If The Leg shows bone growth, we’ll start the long journey to wheelchair independence and finally going home. If it doesn’t, there’s a bone marrow transplant in my near future, and we reset the six-month clock.
That, and there’s this crazy troop of baboons in Washington bent on trashing the Constitution–a document of which I’m inordinately fond–in a Putinesque power play that makes Game of Thrones look like Sesame Street.
It’s enough to make me long to be a reporter again. The stories are so juicy, the spokesbaboons so bad, that it’s hard to resist: A well-defined adversary is a reporter’s dream. Forget “can I find a story here?” These days, it’s “which of the thousand or so stories should I choose?”
And I just might get my wish: My company’s just been acquired by a megaconglomeratemultinational, so in a few weeks I’ll find out whether I’ve been invited to sail along or walk the plank.
On Friday night, Sept. 16, 2016, I fractured my left femur just above Elmo, my replacement knee. I lived in a wheelchair, facing hip-high amputation of my left leg, for about two years while I fought health care bureaucracy, cost-conscious HMOs, and myself to figure out a way to walk again. (Spoiler alert: Elmo won!)
I documented my adventures in remobilization in this blog. They’re awfully self-indulgent, occasionally icky, and probably only of interest to me, but on the off-chance that they help someone else with a catastrophic injury, I’m keeping them together here. If you don’t want to read them, that’s OK; I still love you. If you do, you might want to start from the beginning, on the archive page that lists all posts.
It’s harder to swim in the job pool while wearing a wheelchair. And if the aforesaid baboons reinstate pre-existing conditions as an excuse for refusing health insurance, The Leg and I might be permanently welded to wheels.
Makes it even more important to get The Leg working.
It’s not that I couldn’t keep busy, either way. There’s a growing movement to connect the arts community with the Islamic, bringing families together to erase that whole “he is a stranger and therefore a barbarian terrorist” nonsense. It’s cool as hell and I need to be in it.
(more on that in future posts)
There’s explorations: I’ve discovered a whole new avenue for experiment, in metal clay and enameling, and I have a looooooong way to go before I can speak that language fluently enough to marry it with pate de verre.
Mom’s got this heart thing we’re not so sure about–which is why my sister’s over here this morning, playing Beethoven. She and Mom are visiting the doctor to figure out if surgery is indicated.
Not that the docs aren’t good, caring folk, they are. But they get even better when the family turns up to advocate.
Suzi’s is the sweet hand in the velvet glove, getting nurses and receptionists on her side and speeding things up. If that doesn’t work, she threatens them with…me. The webbitch, who finds obscure online diagnoses, calls it like it is, explains carefully that it’s awfully embarrassing to be called out on Twitter for bureaucratic incompetence, so let’s not go there, OK?
And if that doesn’t work, I threaten them with…my sister Becky, the ultimate motherstar. The lady who’s fought a million battles with healthcare providers, worked miracles with insurance companies, puzzled through tricky legal points, and never, ever lets go.
We’re a formidable trio, pulling out all the stops. Focusing on the battle keeps you from centering on worry. So far Mom’s tests are very, very good, so we’re taking a deep breath and focusing.
I’ve been using Beorn Bonegrower on The Leg faithfully, every night, and it feels…different. Painful, but in a good way.
Like bone is growing. Maybe.
Still, I’m grabbing these mundane moments, the slightly mildewed smell of coming spring in the Northwest, the sounds of Mom fixing dinner and the laughter of friends, the wheeeee sensation of freewheeling on a hardwood floor, the taste of a perfect loaf of peasant levain as it surrenders to my tongue, the tight melding of a hug. The satisfaction of shaping words and sculpting stories.
These things, and a thousand more, build my fortress. Wish me luck. Wish us all luck.