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Gruesome Accident Tales Part VIII: "Most of the forward bending happens at the hips, anyway."

Gruesome Accident Tales Part VIII (final chapter):
"Most of the forward bending happens at the hips, anyway."

I was on a morphine drip. That means that as often as every eight minutes I could press a button and receive a 1.5 milligram dose of the stuff that makes junkies all over the world drool in anticipation. 1.5 milligrams may not seem like a lot, but I used to play this little game with myself: I would look at the clock, and see how many eight minute intervals in a row I could remember to push the button. I recall that I never made it past 4 or 5 before I was pretty much a drooling moron.

This is when the phone would inevitably ring. Just like it did on day one of my hospitalization when my Mom called…it went something like this:

"Hi Dan…this is Mom."

"Oh hi, Mom!"

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah….I’m fine…everything’s fine."

"Oh…ok. I’ll call and check back later."

24 hours later she walked through the door of my hospital room. Evidently she had caused a scene at the airport when her plane had left the gate, and they turned it around and brought it back for her. I’m sure glad she showed up, as she dealt with paperwork and doctors like a pro.

Of course she wanted to just take me back to Rockford, IL before her, but in my extreme, morphine-induced delusion, I didn’t want this setback to interfere with my plans to escape-my-hometown-forever ™! So my mom, in an amazing show of faith and restraint, helped me sign up for welfare, food stamps, state medical aid, and whatever kind of home medical care I could get (which turned out to be none).

Meanwhile, the reality of the whole situation had not hit me yet. That I was going to be jobless and broke and living with my slightly disgruntled housemate for months while I convalesced in the big plastic shell known as a TLSO body brace. That I would have no care, and would have to come up with innovative ways to take off my body brace and wash myself without moving my torso.

I still remember the day they fitted me for that TLSO. The guy was some contractor for the hospital who had his own home TLSO making business. He came and fitted me one day and then brought it in. I tried putting it on. "I can’t breathe," I said.

"Good, " he said, "then it’s working like its supposed to."

I would ask the doctors if I was going to be a crippled freak when I got out of the brace. The big question was, how much mobility would I have.

"Well," they would say, "most of the forward bending happens at the hip, anyway." Then they would invariably bend like little drinky birds to demonstrate how I would still be able to touch my toes.

A few days before I was to get out of the hospital, they took me off the morphine and put me on a strong non-narcotic painkiller. Now let me just say that morphine is not really a pain killer. When you’re on morphine you can still feel the pain…you just care much less! This other stuff really worked for pain…when they gave it to me I barely hurt at all, but it didn’t do what the morphine did.

I experienced withdrawal. All at once the bleakness of my pathetic future and my loneliness in this city where I had no old, trusted friends or relatives to count on to help me came crashing down on me. My life was fucked…I was not going to be able to be a massage therapist…both my hands were casted (I broke my left ring finger and my right thumb), I had basically crippled myself for life and who knew how much physical pain I was going to be in from age 19 on?

Once, about two years later, some friends of mine asked me if I wanted to try heroin. I was awfully curious what all the fuss was about and said yes. Shortly after I thought, "This is like morphine! I’ve had the best of this stuff and it’s just SHITE!" I never tried it again.

I did become a massage therapist, though. I still have problems with my back but I don’t consider myself a total cripple. I can run and climb trees and shag and dance. When I get stressed out, sometimes this tension appears there and spreads out until all my guts are clutched up with tension. And no, it doesn’t appear to be weather related.

There’s much more story of course, but I think that will do it for this series. Thank you to everyone who read. Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.