Last week I mentioned that I had a lumbar fracture. Today, three weeks after the fact, I have regained enough of my senses…not to mention reduced narcotics to enable clear thinking…I will try to relate details of how the facture came about.
Before I begin my tale of woe, I’ll back up to provide some back-ground that may or may not be relevant. Early in January, I was standing during a conversation with Sue and another person. I wasn’t dizzy or disoriented, but I did teeter a bit forward before taking a step into the triad of people to catch my balance. Awkward, but not even close to falling.
Then, just the day before my annual, non-specific, physical check-up, I had another minor tilt which Sue witnessed. And, NO, this is not the “Ouch” mentioned in the title of this Frivolity.
Sue usually accompanies me for Doctor appointments. She claims I don’t always hear what the doctor says. She is usually quite silent—only observing and listening. However, with my recent non-alcoholic tipsy tendencies, guess what became a high priority for Sue to discuss with my doctor?
Don’t bother to guess! The result of her anxiety, was NOT a Xanax prescription for HER. Nor did the doctor suggest No-Doze for me. Bottom line—to keep me off my bottom… the doctor agreed with Sue that I might benefit from some Physical Therapy.
Therefore, I spent the 2nd & 3rd weeks of January being retrained on “Balance” techniques at a place called “Recovery Project.” The morning after my 5th session, January 24th, I needed to check on Amara’s car tire.
Amara had mentioned that her tire might be damaged, so I was headed out to check on it. There had been, and still was a misty rain. I did grab an umbrella to shelter me. It was not cold enough to even put on a coat. Clad in T-shirt and sweat pants, I was walking to Amara’s car parked in our driveway when I heard a very loud thud.
It was not Amara’s tire exploding. That reverberating thud was my skull contacting the asphalt shortly after passing my fanny going the other way. What I had perceived as a “wet” …it was clearly raining onto my umbrella. At least until the umbrella was tossed skyward along with my feet. “Wet” was water on ice now soaking into my sweats. I managed to crawl across the frozen pond, previously mentioned as driveway. I was headed to ER.
I’m going to bring suit against “Recovery Project” for failure to meet my expectations. A lot of good it did for me to practice standing on one foot on large sponge. They should have known that my driveway is not foam padded.
The ER staff at Sparrow Hospital categorically rejected being co-litigant. So a few wonderful nurses and one doctor with no sense of humor, accomplished blood tests every hour, plugged in an IV, heart monitors, took CT and x-rays of everything but my big toes. Then they advised me of an L1 compression fracture, as well as C4 & 5 degradation (that’s Cervical, not the crania degradation often questioned by friends). Though not visible in any pictures, it was also noted that there was aching spasms of back & neck muscles. Ah, but only abrasions on my noggin and elbow…no breaks. They did agree some bruising of my ego could surface later.
Because I am on blood thinner, bleeding internally was a concern I shared with everyone in ER. After my CT, I asked the doctor if my grey matter was blood stained. Did I mention he lost his sense of humor around puberty? He didn’t even smirk, but allayed my fear of inter-cranial bleeding. For that news I was extremely relieved. I still had a massive headache, but there would be no drilling my skull for a blood-letting.
So, for the past three weeks, I have been in my recliner, lounging UNcomfortably in a cinch that would fit a Clydesdale. Okay, so maybe my back brace would only fit snuggly on a pony, but it is nevertheless miserably cumbersome. A friend of mine characterized that contraption as scaffolding. Then, purportedly as encouragement, she advised me to “hang in there.”
The very good news is my plight will likely only last 4-6 weeks. Sue said I didn’t hear that prognosis correctly. She claims I am under her unilateral control for 4 MORE weeks—until I get a new CT. THEN hopefully I’ll get a reprieve from my orthopedic surgeon…, that makes it the 8 weeks she heard. Ouch! I hate it when she’s right.
Due to a compression fracture in my lumbar region, I am spending a lot of time watching nature outside my front window. Particularly entertaining is the squirrel feeder. It is a platform my daughter and her husband crafted to simulate a cafe table and “rustic” chairs. The table has a spike to skewer a cob of corn on.
The greatest entertainment value comes when two squirrels come to feed at the same time. That event is enhanced by my imaginative animation. Such was the case earlier this week when two squirrels were at the feeder. Okay, so one was at the feeder and one was shouting every possible password for admittance.
The feeder itself is for a single corn cob, mounted upright on a nail. A cob a day is usually sufficient. Some of the cobs I bought are very short. They do not have enough kernels for a whole “day” of feed, so Sue shucks those cobs onto the ground.
Anyway, the grey squirrel obviously could not come up with the password the red squirrel required. Red shouted discouraging words, “Stop yelling at me. You’ll never get it. Down there is your lunch.”
“I’m not eating off the ground,” Grey countered. “Those are the kernels Sue spreads out for the poor rodents. I’m not a vagrant.”
“Vagrants? You idiot. They are down there because Sue is vertically challenged. She can’t reach this high.”
“Yeah, sure. Then explain how she got the preferred cob you are seated on, up here.”
“She jumps…which is more than I can say for you. Why don’t you just slinky your way down there for lunch!”
“Oh, so your hop like a lame rabbit is smoother than my lope?”
“Lope, hop, bound…whatever. Either eat off the ground or be patient until I get my fill.”
“What? You can’t eat all of that corn yourself.”
“True, but yelling back and forth is delaying my lunch. You come back later.”
The gray squirrel tried the old run around the tree—sneak in the back door tactic. Red did a marvelous 180 pirouette on the cob to easily counter that maneuver. Sneering at Grey, “That’s an old trick. You ain’t foolin’ me.”
“You old fool…I just want my share,” Grey complained from the edge of the platform.
For several moments they bobbed and weaved like sparing partners without gloves. Red would lean precariously from the top of the cob screaming “Be gone you miserable rat.”
Grey would attempt a snatch and grab, whilst yelling a retort for the slur on his heritage. “You’re nothing but an overweight chipmunk.”
“Well, I’m not so fat that I can’t chase you off this tree,” and proceeded to do just that.
What befuddled me, is that during this 10 minute standoff…which included “explitive deletives” that I did not repeat to you…neither squirrel got even one kernel. I must conclude that rats, regardless of how glorified their fur coat might be, are far more selfish than birds. But bird chatter at my feeder is a story for another day.
Every year at Christmas we light up our front yard with festive décor. When we do, my heart pangs for my long gone Christmas Candles. You know…the 1960’s, 4 foot, lighted, red plastic ones with the vibrant orangish-yellow flame.
I had a pair of them once and I dearly miss them. Actually I had them for 25 years—right up until the first Christmas after I married Sue. Then they had to go. Sold as rummage. I guess Sue’s allergic to plastic candles. At least every time we drive by a pair glowing in someone’s yard, she starts to gag and convulse; “Oh, no…gulp…they’ve got…cough, cough… those hideous…choke… PLASTIC CANDLES.”
It’s not the candles, though. I mean, we’ve got candles everywhere in the house. And not just at Christmas. All year long she’s got them on tables, counters, bookshelves, ledges, …anywhere flat. Even in the fireplace. We don’t burn logs, she lights candles.
And during Advent, candles go on every window sill. But NONE outside. That would require really large candles. Plastic candles. Nooooope! Not gonna happen. No plastic ornamentation in our yard. A Wire Snowman is just fine. Foil wrapped packages, velveteen bows, rubber boots stuffed with tinfoil stars and ever-greenery are all acceptable. Oh, and don’t forget the bubble-wrap stuffed, Styrofoam headed kids on a sled. But no plastic candles.
So, now as I stand in our drive…forlorn… Our yard gleams with lighted splendor, but I sure miss my plastic candles. But wait. What’s that in our living room window. The glow of 4 candles. Not four foot red ones, but faded white, clear bulb lit, PLASTIC candles. I can’t wait to hear Sue’s justification of this double standard.
She said they were something-something-styrene…not plastic.