A Lopsided Life
I don’t know what this spider’s excuse is for being so off-center, but I sure know mine. I’m now the proud possessor of four small holes in my right shoulder which really don’t look like anything at all. Along with assorted stitchery there are also two metal anchors in the bone of my shoulder that are invisible to the naked eye, and I sure hope that I don’t get into any arguments with the TSA over them, because they’d have to kill me before I’d let them touch my shoulder the way it feels right now. The lightest touch yesterday brought me to tears, but the doctor told me to take more drugs, and so I am, and that does help. I’m still not up to a pat-down, but I can let Shel put my new blue flannel pyjamas on me without biting his ear off in a pain-crazed fit, so that’s saying something.
I do keep thinking about France, though. How in France I’d be spending several days in the hospital, whereas here we arrived home just a couple of hours after my surgery. Of course, maybe in France I wouldn’t have had that pain pump catheter implanted in my shoulder at all, since the French don’t seem to be as pain-averse as Americans are. But I can’t imagine a French hospital sending me home with a pump shooting numbing medicine directly into my inner shoulder every ten seconds, with instructions about how to remove said catheter myself after a couple of days when the medicine was all gone. In the event, pulling the catheter out wasn’t nearly as bad as imagining the whole business in advance had been, and the minute it was out I wished it were back in again, with a great big refill, because I hadn’t really known what pain was until that little tube was out of there. Basically it felt like a cement truck ran right over my shoulder. A fully loaded cement truck.
So now I have one arm that doesn’t work at all, tightly strapped to my chest except when I have to set it free to do my physical therapy exercises. It’s probably laughable, to call moving your arm one puny little inch “exercise,” but my piteous mewlings, elicited by the least bit of movement, would wipe the smile off the face of anyone but an orthopedic surgeon, who’s heard it all before. And then I have one arm and hand that have heretofore lived the life of Riley, never being called upon for much. It’s a hand that can’t outsmart a child-proof pill bottle, nor open a bottle of wine, thereby reducing me to feeling like a teenager all over again with my “hey baby, would you please feed me more drugs?” Or more like a toddler, with “would you please pull up my pants and put on my fuzzy striped socks?” I did manage to take a shower all by myself like a big grownup, if you don’t count the fact that I couldn’t dry my back, but hey, lots of people like to have someone dry their backs, so that part wasn’t too discouraging.
The surgeon says it all went perfectly, and all the doctors and physical therapists say that I just have to make it through the first couple of weeks and then I’ll start feeling better. They all tell me to take more drugs, lots of drugs, and so long as those pills don’t keep me from my pathetically slow and error-ridden left-handed typing, I’ll be swallowing them like clockwork.
I actually think I’m in better shape than that spider, because my home’s intact and warm, my freezer’s reasonably stocked with food I cooked in advance, my closet’s full of clothes that button up the front and a husband to button them for me, the wine rack is well-supplied, friends are calling and writing all the time with offers of help, and I have Shel to pull my pants up and down as many times a day as I want. How lucky is that?French Letters Visits America
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