Thursday, February 23, 2012

Everything Hurts

We’re getting pretty banged up here, in our little berg in Colorado.

As I've described in several recent posts, my daughter fell from a horse a few weeks ago and broke her arm in two places. Most serious was the radial head – the elbow, basically – which was so bad she required surgery.

Now my wife is on the disabled list, too.

She likes to ride her bike to work, even this time of year. We had a huge snow a few weeks ago but it's mostly melted. The temperatures are in the reasonable, global-warming forties, so biking this time of year is no big deal.

Except for yesterday. Yesterday she crashed on her way to work. Spent 3-4 hours in the emergency room. Came home in agony.

"Everything hurts," she told me earlier today.

Here's the inventory of her injuries: mild concussion and four staples in the back of her head; fractured rib; a series of bruises and scrapes, mostly on the right side of her body.

We think she hit a patch of ice and then went down, but we don't know. She can't remember any details – a telltale symptom of a concussion.

But everything hurts. She can't really walk. She is able to hobble about somewhat, but with great pain, and only by leaning against me with one hand while supporting herself on a cane with the other.

So far, she's spent most of her time in bed.

In the hospital yesterday, she was issued a set of blue hospital jammies made of paper, and she kept them on for the rest of the day. When bedtime rolled around, though, she wanted out of them. Because the slightest movement causes excruciating pain, we determined the best thing to do was for me to cut them off with scissors. "A fantasy come true!" I said. She was not amused.

I imagine it will be a few more days before she can move about more easily; maybe longer. And her full recuperation will take a lot longer than that.

Since the accident, I've been thinking of a line from Philip Roth's 1983 novel, The Anatomy Lesson. His protagonist Nathan Zuckerman, in a misguided attempt to self-medicate after months of a debilitating chronic pain, passes out from all the drugs he's taken. He smashes his jaw on stone and wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of what happened to him. His jaw is wired shut and he's given pain relievers.

"When the Xylocaine wore off sometime during the night, Zuckerman was alone and at long last he found out just what pain could really do. He’d had no idea."

Pain can do a lot. "Everything hurts."

1 comment:

  1. "Everything hurts," she told me earlier today.