And So it Goes…
Denial is only so potent a drug. By 2am I am hobbling up the wooden steps to the truck and driving myself down the mountain to the ER. The hardest part is trying to figure out what to do with my dangling ankle while driving over the bumps and heaves in the gravel drive. After the thirty-minute drive, there is the battle of actually getting myself into the hospital, which is under construction. I hobble and curse my way across the parking lot (consider crawling) to a row of wheelchairs, then wheel my way down a long, covered, outdoor corridor and follow the signs to the ER.
One hallway leads to another and four corridors and four doorways later, I am at the front desk. A row of cowboys looks up, sullen-eyed and dusty. I guess that one of their buddies must be behind the triage doors from the night’s rodeo over in Arbuckle. Next to them, a rosy-cheeked, sleeping Hispanic child in the arms of her mother. She is feverish and whimpering. Behind me in line is a tall, slender woman in a halter top and fitted black jeans. She’s got a shiner the size of a baseball above her eye and a few bruises along her cheekbone. When the she goes in for her check-in and interview, the nurse closes the door so no one can hear.
Dad arrives as I’m being wheeled back to a room to await X-Rays. The pain, they said, was from muscle spasm and probably not from a break. The X-Rays show a possible hairline fracture along the tibia but I have to wait until Monday when the radiologist can look at it. The put me up in a temporary cast and I refuse the pain pills and crutches, since my parents have a stash of both back home. I am sent on my way and by 4:30 am arrive back in the South Toe Valley, drugged and dopey from the hydrocodone, and ready for some sleep. I’m given orders to stay off my foot, keep the cast on (and no showers), and use the crutches until I can see an orthopedic surgeon on Monday or Tuesday.
I sleep. Wake and contemplate the meaning of the pain. Sleep some more. Breath deep. By mid afternoon I’ve cancelled the cook out that was supposed to happen on my back deck, called the neighbors to tell them I can’t take care of their pets while they’re in Maine, called my boss and called a sub for work. The only thing left to do is sit. Read. Write. Sit some more. Stretch. It could be a week it could be six. I have no clue. One day at a time, right? Right. Meantime, the dream house on Fork Mountain sits empty, and waiting. Somehow I just can’t seem to get home. It is a lesson in wanting, in the ways we desire what we cannot have, and in the ways we lean on life for its dependability when really it is as fleeting a paper bag blowing in the wind. I accept this message, and must write my way through it—I will not let this be an excuse for not having enough money (because of no income) and not being able to write (because of immobility and a lack of privacy). Oh, the places I can go even though I cannot walk!