Archive for the 'Hospital as getaway' Category

Compound fracture complications

September 14, 2010

About 4 years ago, my mom was in the hospital for a week. For one reason or another, I kept missing chances to visit her. People at work were giving me a hard time about it, like I didn’t love my mom because I hadn’t been keeping a nonstop somber vigil by her side on an uncomfortable piece of hospital furniture.

My mom, on the other hand, sounded like she was having the time of her life every time I called to apologize for not making it up there. “I’m good,” she would insist. “They’ve got me on the right mix of drugs, I’m being waited on hand and foot, I’m catching up on my reading, all my responsibilities have ceased to exist, and the food’s actually pretty good.”

I understand now what she meant. I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital early Sunday morning with a compound fracture. My bloody ankle bone was protruding through my skin, and my left foot just kind of hung there limply. It was a very ugly sight. I was in shocked disbelief.

One second, my wife Tiffany, good buddy James and I were hanging around on the back porch of my in-laws’ house. Then little Sarah woke up, and we let her come outside with us. She decided to climb up some stairs, I went up after her, scooped her up, turned to descend the stairs and suffered a nasty fall. I’d held Sarah up out of harm’s way but obviously did nothing to protect my poor ankle, which saw the light of day for the next few hours.

I was sprawled out on the concrete. Couldn’t move. Paramedics arrived shortly after. Got me into the ambulance. Kinda acted like dicks. Granted, the whole purpose of the evening had been to come into town and have drinks with old friends, but I felt like I was still coherent. These guys were treating me like I was incapable of deciphering their plainspoken English.

We arrived at the hospital and were sequestered in a side room – me, Tiffany, James and Tiffany’s dad. I was told I’d have to be operated on. I couldn’t quite grasp that this was actually happening. A compound fracture? An ambulance ride? Anesthesia? Surgery? Couldn’t I just go home, go to bed and sleep all this off? The answer – absolutely not.

Woke up the following afternoon in a hospital bed with a cast on. My wife’s smiling face came into view. I really love that woman. We went over the hypotheticals of, “It’s my fault, because if I hadn’t done THAT one little thing, THIS would never have happened,” and, “No, it’s MY fault, because if I wouldn’t have done THIS little thing, THAT would never have happened.” The only conclusion to arrive at, though – it happened, and the consequences can’t be ignored.

The most pressing question – who’s going to take care of babies Sarah and Silas? The physical therapy people at the hosital have me hobbling around on a walker right now. My ankle can technically bear weight, but my nerve endings scream like bloody murder when it does. I’m not mobile enough to keep up with a 2 year old. My mom and Tiffany’s dad are going to come up to Springfield and help out alternatingly in the meantime, and it looks like the babies and I will be spending next week’s work days in St. Louis with the grandparents.

Second – how long will I be out of work? Hourly restaurant employment is not known for its stellar disability coverage, and my health insurance is predicated on me averaging at least 25 hours per week. Serving and bartending are very mobile jobs, and we were already broke before this little plot twist.

The “blessing in disguise” part might be that, with me home from work and undistracted with unnecessary things like, say, walking, I’ll be able to really focus on properly launching and maintaining this blog and better organizing material for my standup act. Funny Bone Springfield wants me to open 3 shows this weekend. I’m trying to decide if I’d get more laughs performing from a wheelchair or a walker.

Meantime, I’ve decided worry can’t help the situation or change reality. I’m grateful that I’ll be able to recover from this injury, and that coming out the other end of the ordeal, I’ll still have everything I had going in. And my mom was right – hospital drugs are really quite nice.