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Posts Tagged ‘Monty Python’

When last we saw our intrepid explorer, it was the middle of May. Plans had been made for the Memorial Day weekend. Bills were paid. Car was running. Life was offering us a plateau, a little downtime from the bullshit of the last few years.

I should have known better…

sigh

A few days after I posted my last May entry, I get a call from my husband in the middle of the morning. He carries a gun for a living, so I always worry about such calls. But since he was actually on the line, and not his boss or the police, I figured it couldn’t be too bad. He tells me he has been hurt in a work-related vehicle accident, and he’ll be heading home once all the paperwork is handled. Just a little banged up, nothing serious, he says. Relieved that he didn’t have to prove his marksmanship on some idiot who’s watched too many heist movies, I get myself out of bed (did I mention I’m not a morning person?), and pull myself together so I can handle whatever’s coming. Because, much like Monty Python’s Black Knight, men never accept the full extent of their injuries, and my former Marine is a big baby when it comes to pain.

I get another call a couple hours later. He’s finally made it home, but needs help getting out of our truck. Forcing myself out into the microwave that is Southern California, I meet my husband at the driver’s side door, where he is oozing out with the grace and agility of a sloth on downers crawling through molasses. His left arm is purple from wrist to nearly shoulder, and swollen to the point of bursting. He’s hugging it close to his body. Forcing one of those “I’m so fucked up” smiles, he says the adrenaline has finally worn off and he’s hurting more than he expected. He has paperwork for the worker’s comp clinic. Being my usual supportive self, I tell him he’s an idiot for not allowing the emergency personnel to transport him from the accident site. One of the best trauma hospitals in California was just a few miles away from there. He was worried that it would cause too much of a problem for me, as the hospital is over sixty miles from home one direction, and our only working vehicle was parked at his office twenty miles from home in the exact opposite direction. We’ve been together over fifteen years and he still hasn’t figured out that I’m a big girl who can problem solve better than most.

colbert-face-palm

So we go into the house and I help him get out of his gear. He can barely move in any direction and breathing is nearly out of the question. We shuffle back out to the truck and I drive as carefully as I can to the clinic. Every tiny bump or shift causes him fiery pain. The clinic is in better condition than most workers’ comp places I’ve seen, but that’s not really saying much. He has to stand because the waiting room chairs are made for midgets and there’s no way he could get out of one once he was in it.

There’s only a physician’s assistant on duty. And while the PA is careful with his enunciation, his English is still difficult to understand. To his credit, a couple questions into the evaluation and he realizes they can’t help my hubby there. They are used to handling cuts, abrasions, and sprains – the usual work related injuries. The PA suspects broken ribs. He says we need to go to the emergency room. Back to the truck we go.

By the time we reach the hospital, it has been over five hours since the accident, and my husband has had no pain medication, no food, and no help. It’s almost an hour before they take him back to be evaluated. They ask me to stay in the waiting room while they get him situated. I wait another hour. When I finally get back to him, he’s hooked up to an IV, a heart monitor, has had x-rays and a CT scan, and tells me they’re going to admit him. Yup, it’s broken ribs, plus there appears to be minor damage to the left lung they want to keep their eyes on for at least overnight. This will make his third hospital stay in four years. I put on my brave face but inside I’m ready to throw up from the stress.

calm-cat-in-heat

The accident happened when a Lexus SUV driving way too much over the posted speed limit plowed into the side of my husband’s work truck. He was a passenger in the back of the truck, where there are no windows, so he had no idea what was about to happen as his partner pulled out of a driveway and into the travel lanes. The force of the impact was so great, the truck – in the neighborhood of 20,000lbs. GVW – spun across two lanes of traffic, a center turn lane, two more traffic lanes, and bounced to a stop on the opposite side of the road. My husband was bounced pretty badly, too. He was sitting in the delivery seat, belt engaged, doing inventory stuff when he was flung sideways into the crash cage around the seat. There are only a few inches between him and the cage, plus he’s 6’3” and 300+lbs, so you’d think any sort of damage would be minimal. You’d be wrong.

The impact was so sudden and violent, body meeting crash cage resulted in multiple broken ribs, bruises shoulder to knee, and a contusion on his left elbow that immediately swelled up to the size of a grapefruit and turned all sorts of purple. His arm had been caught between him and the cage, causing essentially crush damage to both it and his ribs. X-rays showed no breaks in the arm, but the ribs were another matter. They weren’t just simple breaks. They were misaligned pieces of gravel at multiple points on multiple ribs front and back. The doctor called them comminuted fractures. And there wasn’t jack-shit that could be done to help them heal beyond sitting around and waiting.

The hospital released him the next day with a prescription for Percocet and told him to see his regular physician. After a few calls and a little finagling, we were able to get him set up with the occupational health specialist in our family doctor’s medical group. The workers’ comp adjuster was actually nice and knowledgeable and willing to work with us. Since hubby was admitted to the hospital, the payments would start immediately, instead of the usual seven-day waiting period. When you’re surviving on only one person’s paycheck, that week makes a huge difference.

macgyver-duct-tape

So we began a four-month odyssey into Fix the Broken Marine. Sadly for my husband, he doesn’t have the receptors most people have for narcotics. That means all the usual prescribed pain relievers did nothing for him. A mixed blessing, I suppose, given the spike in opioid overdoses these last few years (“By The Numbers” – Department of Health and Human Services). But that left him with just prescription-strength Motrin and time to wade through it. He spent the first six weeks sleeping sitting upright in his office chair, feet up on another chair, arm in a sling, bi-pap machine hooked up to a battery because it was just easier than crawling around under desks to try and find a power outlet.

The pain kept him from being able to do just about anything. If you’ve never had broken ribs, just try to imagine every breath, every movement, every pulse of blood through your veins sending fiery pain through out your system. Anything he wanted or needed, I had to get for him or do for him. He is not a demanding patient – in fact, he probably did much more than he should have for himself. But it still took a big chunk out of my day to make sure he was taken care of, and sent our summer plans packing into the great dumpster of Shit Happens.

It was the last week of August before the doctor released him to (severely) restricted duty for work. It was another month before he was finally released for full duty. Over four months from the initial injury, because ribs turned to pea gravel take their sweet-assed time healing in middle-aged men. Thankfully, worker’s comp handled all the expenses for doctors’ visits, prescriptions, therapy, and even the mileage related to all those things, as well as covering lost wages, so we weren’t out anything tangible. Just time. And a little sanity, because here he was home all day without the slightest chance of being out in the garage playing with his anvil, so the Internet and the wife had to keep him occupied. We ended up woefully behind in production for our side business, but we had some great conversations while he recouped, and that’s far more important to me.

So, yeah, 2016 will go down in history for major suckage. Should have known it would when David Bowie returned to the mother ship. He always was several steps ahead of the rest of us…

in-space

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There were a number of reasons for doing this blog:  trying to develop discipline as a writer;  sharing my experiences as a middle-aged, unemployed fat woman working on a new career and getting not-so-fat in the hopes of helping/inspiring others; keeping friends and relatives updated without actually having to talk to them.  The usual stuff.

What I ended up with is cathartic expressionism; rage against the political machine; shouting at the devil; and the occasional post that actually makes sense, on a haphazard schedule.  That whole discipline thing is still a work in progress.

In looking back at what I’ve done so far, too much of it radiates my emotional state of mind, namely, depression.  Given what I am, it’s not exactly a surprise, but I was hoping as part of the exercise to try and develop a more neutral tone, and to find humor in my situation.  Something in the vein of Erma Bombeck or Dave Berry.  Sadly, and probably not surprisingly, I’m not coming anywhere close to the five-year-old down the street with his fart jokes, let alone those two stalwarts of humorous commentary.

There are people in this world who just seem to have a knack at seeing the absurd in the ordinary, the funny in the sad or the pratfall in the tragedy.  I grew up listening to life’s observations from Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, George Carlin, Robin Williams and Richard Pryor.  From trips to the dentist, budget airlines, heart attacks, drug abuse and even setting oneself on fire, those guys were able to give us a laugh even in the midst of the most mundane or the most troubling settings.  Their wits are light years ahead of the rest of us, and sometimes I just look at the dust they left me (and most of the rest of us) behind in and can’t help but be awed.

My humor is limited to a handful of musician or lawyers jokes, repeating Monty Python movie lines as if they were religious mantras, and watching the Muppets.  My husband introduced me to Pinky and the Brain so I can claim understanding most of that as well, but it came to me late in life and thus didn’t have any influence on my humor function’s growth.  And, most of today’s comedy just doesn’t work for me.  As the old joke goes, I’d say it’s sophomoric but that would be insulting to sophomores everywhere.  Talking about your “ho” in a sentence filled more with graphic expletives than actual words or making a movie that’s basically just one disgusting bodily-function-gone-awry scene after another is not my idea of humor.  Being rude, insulting, prejudicial or hurtful to other people is not funny.  Making poignant observations about the human condition in such a way that we all see ourselves mirrored in the story, while also showing us the absurdities of how we live, now that’s funny.

So today’s exercise is to try and find the funny in my life.  Not exactly an easy task, given that it seems my life is presently a perfect storm of disaster headed for the brink of a cliff.  But if Richard Pryor can laugh at almost burning himself to death, and get us to laugh with him, then there’s got to be something I can tap into for my own little drink of silliness.

Having animals would make for some easy pickings, if mine ever actually did anything.  The dogs don’t even know how to play fetch, fer cryin’ out loud.  Husbands are usually good for a few laughs, too, but the one thing about mine that really makes me laugh can’t be discussed in a public forum.  The cars work fine, the neighbors are boring, and my friends would probably kill me if I ratted them out on anything.

So that leaves me, and, sorry, but I just ain’t funny.  I can write good stories, play several musical instruments, build things out of wood, weave and sew and embroider, and can  organize the hell out of your office, but making you laugh isn’t in my programming.  The best I can do is try to be less of a depressive while standing on my soapbox beating my chest, raging against the machine.

I am writer:  hear me mew.

© 2010   Cheri K. Endsley.  All Rights Reserved.

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