Sunday, June 22, 2008

Our story, part 4: Why I'm pretty darn sure he'll take good care of me when I'm old

After hearing that my accident was worse than we'd originally thought, Tim hopped on a bus from Boston to North Adams and drove his woozy girlfriend's rental car to Mass General Hospital in Boston. 

Vicodin... that's some serious stuff.

I will preface the next section by saying that I ultimately had a very good experience at MGH, but the first few hours there, with several very cocky residents, left something to be desired.

Multiple times, they asked why I had gone to a podunk hospital instead of going to MGH right away. (Um... because the accident didn't happen here? And they didn't realize how bad it was because the equipment is flawed? And, um, by the way, the accident didn't happen here?) The young guy who seemed to be in charge was obviously very excited about the power he had and was doing everything he could to impress his underlings. At one point, he couldn't be bothered to find paper, so he drew a [very rudimentary and unhelpful] picture of my ankle on the cloth sheet. With ballpoint pen.

Anyway, hours after that anatomy lesson, I finally got my scans. It turned out that in addition to multiple fractures in my tibia and fibula, I had completely shattered my talus. (In fact, each time I visited my surgeon the following year, his version of the verb got worse: shattered, crushed, pulverized, turned into smithereens... no joke.)

The next day, I woke up from with 2 stainless steel plates and 15 screws (some titanium, some stainless) that are in my leg to this day. The implants still give me some trouble - this was over 2 years ago - and it's possible that at some point I'll have to have more surgery to remove them and maybe even (PLEASE no!) fuse my ankle. Interestingly enough, I do not set off airport metal detectors, which is pretty surprising given that they're millimeters from the surface of my skin and I can feel them when I touch my leg! I have to say, it doesn't exactly increase my faith in the metal detector technology.

my x-rays

I was on crutches and had a giant Aircast boot for 3 months, and then I used a cane for another 2-3 months. As far as learning to walk again, well... I conveniently forgot that it would be an issue until it actually was one. For some reason (sometimes referred to as denial), I was sure I'd be running up and down stairs and training for my first marathon within days. Um... yeah. Damn, that was hard - especially stairs. They're still tough. 

It's been a really, really long process - physically, of course, but especially emotionally. If Tim hadn't been there for me, I don't know how I would have gotten through it. In an incredible stroke of good luck (or at least karma), we were working together at the American Repertory Theater for two months, so the logistics were much easier than if we'd both been driving our one car all over the Boston area to do our teaching and gigging. Tim gave 
me door-to-door service everywhere, carried all my stuff (there was and always is a lot of it), made sure I was comfortable in my seat wherever we were going, and was always checking up on me. Then when we got home, he carried all his own stuff and mine up 3 flights of stairs, changed my bandages, hand-washed the special socks I had to wear with the Aircast, made me food, helped me bathe, massaged my ankle and leg... you name it, he did it - some just for 3 months, some ongoing. Not the helping me bathe, most of the time. :-D  He did all the grocery shopping and laundry, too (there was no laundry in our building, and we usually share both those duties), until we discovered grocery delivery and wash & fold! Did I mention this went on for over 3 months?

Of course, he had his share of grumpiness about it, and we both had to put up with a fair bit of depression surrounding the whole thing. It was really hard to keep everything in perspective, and he was good about gently reminding me that it could have been unspeakably worse, while still commiserating over how much it sucked. A lot of people who didn't see me every day had no idea how bad the injury was. Some people were and still are really wonderful about asking me how I'm doing with it, but Tim had to live with it every day and still does.

He's been my biggest cheerleader through the whole thing and is always trying to get me to work harder at making it better, still remaining totally considerate of the ups and downs. He's so sensitive about it, always running to my defense when someone forgets or doesn't know there's something wrong with me. Even though I already knew he was the guy for me, the way he took care of me sealed the deal.

The day I got rid of my crutches, Heidi-style, we celebrated by going to a Red Sox (my team)/Yankees (his) game at Fenway. I might even grudgingly admit that maybe, just once, he karmically deserved to have his team win.

Ehhhh.... never mind.  source

When did you know your sig. oth. was the one you'd grow old with? Did you grow to feel this way, or was there a specific moment that told you?

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