Mar 232016
 

It’s me again. I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. I fell in a parking lot minefield in Florida.

Since January 11 when I tripped, fell, and broke my hip, writing has been difficult. I’ve been held hostage to pain with no tolerable pain killer able to ransom me. When I say tolerable pain killer, that means any pain killer that could reduce my pain without turning me into a zoned out zombie barely able to keep my eyes open, remain conscious, or form a coherent thought–much less write a coherent sentence.

Following hip pinning surgery that ultimately proved unsuccessful, I was shipped off to physical rehab for about two weeks of various means of pain-causing torture. It’s worth mentioning that I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. My baseline for pain is labor and childbirth. Anything less is a minor inconvenience.

As a consequence, I didn’t have a clue of how to interpret the scale of pain represented by the happy to unhappy faces on the cutesy pain chart the nurse in physical rehab showed me. She said the painkiller the doctor would prescribe would be based on my level of pain. Okay. Sure, That’ll be easy enough.

The very unhappy face (#9) before the weeping face (#10), matched my mood because I was very unhappy and in pain but I wasn’t weeping. Naturally, I chose the very unhappy face. It was a perfect fit.

Little did I know that weeping face (#10) equaled a trip to the emergency room, and the very unhappy face (#9) was excruciating pain one step below that. Given my choice, the doctor prescribed oxycontin for me.

No matter how much something hurts any part of your body, never, never, ever take oxycontin. You’d be better off suffering. Oxycontin will turn you into the aforementioned zoned out zombie barely able to keep your eyes open, remain conscious, or form a coherent thought. Your most intelligible vocabulary will consist of the following words: huh, yes, no, huh, what, why, huh, who me, huh?

The physical and occupational therapists realized early on that I was completely out of it. One of them nicknamed me “the stoner baby.”  Hey, I got all the way through the sixties and beyond without once getting stoned. This was so not me and a total embarrassment.

The therapists reported my condition to my nurses, and the doctor immediately changed my medication. No more industrial strength drugs for me.

When I regained my senses, the therapists informed me that during the session when I was…you know…stoned, I performed the therapy exercises as if they were a piece of cake. One of them kept asking me, “Who are you?”

Damned if I know. After all, I was…um…stoned at the time.

Optical Illusion

  • Diane Burton

    Only you could turn excruciating pain into humor. Wishing a quick recovery.

  • Paul Dellinger

    I hate that you had to go through that. I hope the worst of it is far behind now. The only possible good I can see coming from it would be if you’d find a way to use it in one of your stories. As Lois Bujold once observed, once you are a writer, then everything, even the bad stuff, becomes research.

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