Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May Day 3

So I spent a week in the multiple trauma unit at Swedish Medical Center. Once he was back from DC, Darling Husband visited me every day; maybe even twice a day, but I can't really remember. I couldn't read--too spaced out, plus my face was too sore and swollen for glasses anyway--and I didn't want to watch any TV. So I just lay propped up on my back, zoned out on painkillers (which didn't kill nearly enough pain) and brain damage, alternately sleeping and gazing blankly out the window at a dreary tableau of AC units and weed trees.

My great accomplishment, after a day or two, was getting out of the bed unaided and wheeling my oxygen & IV drip to the john. I looked at myself in the mirror--once--and was so horrified that I didn't do it again. It's remarkable that I look anything close to normal now, considering how battered my face was.

I was very glad when it was time to go home, but that's when life got really hard. My balance was poor due to my injuries, and the meds made it even worse, so I had to walk with a four-pronged cane. I couldn't use my dominant right hand at all and had to do everything (writing, typing, eating, personal hygiene, etc.) exclusively left-handed.

I could do absolutely nothing on my own, other than go to the bathroom--and that with great difficulty. To facilitate matters, I wore only a long pull-on skirt and loose Hawaiian shirt, or a long button-front dress, ankle socks and slip-0n shoes. (Someone else had to do the buttons and pull on my socks.) That's it. Lucky for me there were no sudden updrafts, รก la Marilyn Monroe in "The Seven-Year Itch."

I had a big painful lump in my upper lip and banged-up front teeth, one of which had been knocked 1/8" longer, and my molars were all askew, practically undoing all the orthodontia I'd had in my 20s. So I couldn't chew and had to speak with a lisp so as not to hit the longer top tooth against the bottom ones. I never realized how much I use my front teeth till I couldn't: No biting off hangnails, and I defy anyone to open a shrink-wrapped tampon solely with their off hand (my very greatest accomplishment).

To my bitter disappointment, I had to cancel my trip to Washington for BookExpo that was scheduled for nine days after I got home. I also had to cancel a workshop I'd scheduled for mid-June in L.A. (I'm trying again this year; it's going to be on June 16.)

At my urging, DH went to BookExpo as originally planned and John, the college student we'd contracted to stay with the Boy Wonder while we were away, ferried me around. We hired a female home health aide to help me get dressed and bathed every morning. I just looked at my calendar, and on one of those days I saw the osteopath and Katie the counselor (she kindly made house calls for the next few months), went for a chest Xray, and in the evening attended an author reading at the Tattered Cover. I don't know how I managed that; must have been the drugs.

In early June I had root canals on the three damaged front teeth, one of which--#8, the most noticeable--subsequently died and has turned a charming shade of shirt-cardboard gray. (After this BEA I'm getting it capped. Meanwhile, I'm trying to smile without showing my teeth, which I did for years before I had braces.) The next day, DH had to fly to Connecticut for the weekend to attend the funeral of a beloved aunt. I don't remember how I managed while he was away; must have been the drugs again.

To be continued.

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