Archive for the 'Mobility on crutches' Category

Stay out of the sewer

October 13, 2010

Andrew Hicks

The weather has been beautiful for almost a week straight. Sarah and I play outside, and I’m mobile enough on crutches that I can “walk” (though it is comical enough to watch that it deserves the quote marks and these parentheses and some italics) the perimeter and go up and down the hill with her.

 

I get worn out easily and retreat to the deck chairs, and that’s when Sarah turns to her props. She’s fond of a giant blue exercise ball that’s almost as big as she is. She also likes to wheel the four-wheel pink horse thing up the hill, then ride it down while laughing. Taking Sarah sledding will be fun when the time comes. Let’s just be sure to fully heal from the last mishap before inviting a new one.

Sarah occasionally likes to venture past her allowed boundaries. She loves to bang on other people’s sliding glass doors. And she loves to play on the concrete storm sewer platform. I’ve seen the TV movie of Stephen King’s It. I know you keep your kids away from those yawning, rectangular sewer openings where the evil clowns live.

As a rookie parent with very little history of authority in the real world, I’m still working out how to make Sarah listen and obey. I won’t be one of those “screaming and hitting,” abusive, low-rent parents you see at Dollar Tree when you’re just trying to reach for the Kraft Thousand Island With Bacon dressing. Which tastes like crap, by the way. I want my dollar back, and I’ll scream and hit to get it.

On crutches, I’ve lost my #1 Dad on Autopilot trick, which is to scoop Sarah up and remove her from the scene rather than achieving the desired behavior from her. Probably a good thing, because now we have to talk it out. I’m trying to weed out my #2 Dad on Autopilot trick, which is to bribe the crap out of the little munchkin. If, “You’re not supposed to play on the evil clown sewer, let’s go play with your ball,” doesn’t work, I’m tempted to ask if she wants to watch Elmo or see pictures on my phone or eat a mound of Doritos instead of being abducted by a sewer-dwelling Tim Curry in white greasepaint.

My toddler diva all of a sudden can’t get enough of the video clips on my phone she’s the star of. “Watch movie?” doesn’t mean “Let’s check out Citizen Kane, I hear it has some of the most inventive mise-en-scenes in cinematic history.” It means, “Let’s watch me splash in puddles at the park on a one-minute permaloop.”

“Look pictures,” means, “Let’s look at all 90 pictures in dad’s phone for the eighth time today.” That I don’t mind so much, because Sarah continues to surprise me with her one-word descriptions of each picture. She’ll usually start by saying who’s in the picture, then the next time through it’s more about what’s in the picture. “Bike, park, bathtub, akeem, car, sleeping…” I’m just softhearted enough to be touched and amazed by it.

This girl is absorbing words left and right, which I found out the hard way when I said “shit” under my breath then so did Sarah, from across the room. I told Tiffany about the transgression after the fact, and she said, “Oops,” followed immediately by, “Was it cute?” It was cute, shit, I can’t lie. But no more accidental cussing around the toddler. Easily said, I know.

Sarah and I keep having to come inside early due to swarms of mosquitoes. It’s the downside of our week-long Indian summer. They’re probably humping like bunnies down in that storm sewer (i.e. the mosquitoes, not the Indians), and if Sting’s tantric ass has taught us anything, it’s that marathon sex creates an insatiable thirst for human blood. And tepid adult-contemporary hits. I have bites all over me, and so does Sarah. She’s got a big bite on her cheek, and even that looks cute, like she has an adorable case of acne-onset.

Poor Silas, my 3 month old, has had newborn acne almost since Day One. Does they make ProActiv in his age group? Silas’s little face bumps are making him self-conscious around the girl babies.

My social life at the moment, outside of immediate family, consists of maybe one friend visit per week, the dully addictive world of Facebook, and the occasional chain-smoking retiree sitting on her outside patio. I ran into one such yellow-haired, yellow-fingered nicotine repository yesterday afternoon. She intoned through gravelly throat phlegm that my daughter was beautiful and that I should enjoy my kids while I can.

“When they’re 18 and 20,” she wheezed, “they won’t come around much anymore.” I wanted to offer some kind of consolatory protest, then I thought of myself at the late-teen age. I had awesome parents and grandparents and lots of less-than-awesome excuses not to see them on a more regular basis.

Liggett Lady was right. I have to cherish the everydayness of parenting. It seems like ages since Sarah was Silas’s size, taking naps on my chest and sucking down 4-ounce bottles. Now she’s describing photos to me, in mostly clean language. Soon Silas will be her age and she’ll be in preschool. I’ll be in my mid-thirties. And Liggett Lady will have smoked another hundred or so cartons. Time marches on.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Silas celebrates St. Patrick's Day--er, goes for a walk.

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That pee jug’s not gonna empty itself

September 19, 2010

My nuclear family is spread among three households right now. My wife Tiffany’s back at home, gearing up to start her work week. She signed up for overtime this Monday through Friday, since there’s not any bread-winning going on with this guy right now. No, I lost the bread a week ago. Lay On Your Butt And Pee In A Jug All Day hasn’t been a viable career option since Clinton dismantled the welfare system in the mid-’90s.

Little Sarah is spending the week two hours away with her maternal grandparents, who love seeing their sweet baby girl so much that they won’t mind the extra work and the natural drain caused by chasing and entertaining a toddler all day. That’s the impression they gave me, anyway, and I’ll take it. Tiffany’s parents have been helpful, eager participants in any task asked of them since I came on the scene in 2007. They are the perfect in-laws, and they know about this blog too, as of tonight, so you can bet I’ll continue to say nice things about them.

Two-month-old Silas and I have checked into my mom’s spare bedroom. She too has stepped to the plate in her role as Grandma Hicks, and besides which, she’s taken care of me one way or another my entire life. I don’t feel the least bit awkward having her bring me fluids all day and empty the old pee jug after. All I’m missing is that little silver table bell you ding to demand service at hotel front desks in old movies. I would ding it with a full-on sense of comic irony, but let’s get serious – that pee jug’s not gonna empty itself. And this woman who gave birth to me is willing to do it, because she serves with a cheerful heart. Thanks, New Testament!

Meantime, me and the ankle bone are going to heal, heal, heal. Once I got access to the crutches on Friday, I got this deceptive feeling that I could be more mobile than I could with the walker. Maybe that’s why the physical therapy folks at the hospital thought crutches were so evil. Yeah, I figured, screw the jug. I will urinate in the toilet like a man. And wash my hands after. Then crutch on into the kitchen and make myself some food.

Well, allow me to tell you, just because you can get around on the crutches does not mean you should get around on the crutches. About ten seconds after I become mobile, blood starts rushing to the site of the injury. That hurts. Inevitably, the bum foot bears some kind of weight or gets banged around because, guess what? I don’t really know how to use crutches. I’m self-taught, and my self-teaching usually only improves when I figure out what not to do. Or when my wife sees me practicing “what not to do” and calls me out on it. She’s a real caller-outer.

Tiffany was absolutely, understandably exhausted late Friday night. I wanted a salad, and I wanted it with lettuce, tomato, onion, black beans, turkey, shredded cheese, salsa, ranch and twelve crackers. Tiffany didn’t want to go fill my order. She wanted me to wait until morning to eat some cereal. I didn’t need her. I had my brand new friend the crutches. And a plan. I would pull everything I needed from the fridge and put it on the table behind me, which I could do standing stationary. Then I would sit in a chair and do all the cutting and prep work at the table. Then I would eat. Simple plan in theory. In reality, ten times harder than I’d imagined. My surgery foot was belting out crazy old obscenities I hadn’t heard since Full Metal Jacket. I think I set my recovery back an entire day with that salad. Which was, to be fair, a freakin’ delicious salad.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Silas since my injury. We both have immobility in common. He can’t walk, and he doesn’t have any demon crutches telling him he can. So we hang out in the bedroom, and I do all the basic dadly duties from my perch. Sarah likes to make full use of the upstairs in the house, but at least three times a day, I can get her to come up on the bed with me, sip some juice, and let me read her a book. She wants me to read her the same book three times in a row, which isn’t really my scene, but I indulge her. I get my kid time in, but too much burden has been placed on Tiffany in this situation. Never mind that she’s been pregnant for almost half our marriage.

The one-week dispersement of my family is a necessary evil that, on my end, I hope to translate to lots of productive writing. On that score, it’s good to be back. Right now, I have an enjoyable life rich with material and a brand new perspective. I’ve got the desire, the drive and the confidence. Most importantly, I’ve got the makings of an audience. It’s a humble audience right now, but I have old readers and new readers culled from endeavors past and present. It makes me excited for the future.