Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Painefull Patient

In the far and distant future… when space colonisation is accepted as our only option for survival, the great-great grandchildren of the Spice Girls are ready to go on their second reunion tour and Twitter is the lengthy telegram by which old people write their memoirs… someone, somewhere will dust off the 2016 census.

First they’ll giggle at the belief that any of the information was ever truly secure, then they’ll notice a preponderance children with aggressively misspelt names, and at some point they’ll wonder why gay people were choosing not to get married in Australia during this era.

Distracted by the discovery that a stage production of the latest Fast & Furious sequel is playing via hologram (with prologue delivered by Global President Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson*), they won’t get any further than that.  If they did, they probably still wouldn’t care about the strange fact that on the day of the census, I was being housed in a neurology ward in Canberra.

If that seemed like a lengthy way to get to the point of this post, consider it an analogy for how long it took me to get out of hospital after breaking my leg.

To be filed under 'Things That Make You Go: May require surgery'

Due to the rampant popularity of hospital food, patient overflow forced me to bunk down in neuro while I waited for the second operation to actually set my broken bones.  I wasn’t alone – a fellow ski accident victim shared my four person room, and remarked that we had pretty much the same injury.  He got out after three days.  When I was finally released two and a half weeks later, I came to the realisation that he was a cruel, cruel liar.

You know who didn’t leave me?  The amnesiac patient, and the elderly Croatian woman who didn’t speak a word of English.  If that’s not the start of an excellent conversation every day, it’s at least the beginning of a ‘walks into a bar’ joke.

That first week, with the metal pins sticking out of my leg, it took three people to take me to the bathroom.  The second week, with the metal plates inside the limb, it was merely two – with so few of us involved in the endeavour it began to feel downright private.

Undoubtedly the high point came with my first shower at Day 12.  Only a single nurse was needed to help me do that.  I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is: Yes, it was less satisfying to harmonize with just one other person.

At least I was truly alone at night.  Just me, the beeps and buzzes of medical equipment, and my brain doing its circuit – this hurts > don’t think I’d cope with childbirth > how come Olympic long jumpers don’t get injured when they fall? > falling > stupid skis > remember Dad taught you to love skiing > glad Dad didn’t end up in hospital > Dad > this hurts…

Halfway through August I realised I hadn’t seen the sky that month.

There are awards, of course:

Best helpers ever: a sister that brought me tea, an aunt that brought me berries, a mother that spent a lot of time driving backwards and forwards to Canberra.

Worst helper ever: the nurse who thought my leg looked crooked and tried to correct it without noticing the metal pins holding it in position.

Best overheard statement without context: “The doctor wants to know how many fingers I can fit in your mouth, so open up.”

Best phone call: my boss wanting my full name to help with a cleansing ritual at the office to try and lift the curse.

Best segue: the friend who, upon discovering I was in hospital with a severely broken leg, used it as an opportunity to tell me about his terrible cold.

Let me reassure you now – that friend’s cold… has passed.  I will let him know you’re thinking of him.

Everyone keeps reminding me this leg business will pass as well.  I know it will, but with another three weeks until I can put any weight on it, it sure is taking its sweet arse time.  Odd to think, in that far and distant future, the census might be the only evidence on record that it even happened.  That and the crippling arthritis my doctor now assures me is inevitable in the limb.

Like a lot that’s occurred this year, something so big will be reduced to a memory, and an ache.

Airport security comedy will surely ensue

On the upside, I’m further down the path of becoming the Bionic Woman.  I’m going to fight crime with my knee of steel, before the inevitable robopocalypse forces me to choose sides between humanity and our artificial intelligence overlords.  I’m still undecided on that one (pending the US Presidential election).

Full Metal Legging

Painefull Out

* = The Rock is ageless.  Go with it.