In the ambulance the medic was very kind. “There are some bumps on the way to the hospital. But I will let you know when they are coming.” It’s only a 10 minute ride to the hospital with the siren blaring at the street corners so I couldn’t see the problem. “Here comes a bump.” He was right – when alerted of danger, the jostled body doesn’t howl as loud. After a few bumps, I suggested they get the shocks treated. He said the car is on the road all day, it doesn’t hold up.
In the emergency room, as I remember, the first question is, “Are you allergic to any drugs?” “No,” I answer. Second question, “Date of birth.” It becomes your ID. You are asked it throughout your hospital stay. Another verification of your identity is this small electronic gun (like the one on the checkout line when you buy something too large for the counter scanner) aimed at your plastic wristlet.
I had been dressed ready for work, and now being undressed for the gown. Sliding off easily was my brand new vest (animal print with soft leather lapels, brown, a color I don’t like at all, but it was so reduced in price how can one walk away?) The tight long sleeve rose color silky tee was a problem removing from the arm clutched to my side with the forearm folded at the elbow in a tight embrace across my belly. “Cut it, cut it!” I roared, but they lovingly slid it out.
Very shortly after, they asked, “How do you feel?” And surprisingly, I felt Very OK. “You’re getting morphine.” “Ah,” I said, “Now I understand Michael Jackson.”
I don't remember the Xrays. The diagnosis was a jagged break near the top of the humerus bone. Not a good one to break, I soon learn.
Up in the room, I was asked whether I would like to continue with morphine, or to take pain killers by mouth. Primly I decided to forgo the morphine in favor of pills. “Don’t be heroic,” they told me, “don’t wait for the pain. You can have a pill every four hours.” Later whenever the nurse asked, “On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the most pain, how do you grade yourself,” I cautiously guarded my pain-free existence, and hedged, “Oh, 2 or 3.” When was it that I connected my breaking out in a sweat and severe weakness with the Vicodin? Yep, no good. We changed to Darvocet. (At home, I was fading away instead of getting stronger, so I stopped taking even that pill. It took about 24 hours until I woke up with everything looking vivid again. Maybe I am allergic to some medication after all, but, ah, not the morphine.) Over-the-counter drugs don’t do it.
Hey, the food was great! Here comes a server in a black suit like a bridegroom or a Maitre’d, complete with the white pleated shirt and a cute black bow tie, handing you a leather bound four page menu with listings to rival any fine restaurant. During my four day stay I had tilapia, salmon, shrimp, strip steak, assorted veggies. I allowed myself the double brownie cake drizzled with chocolate sauce only once a day.
Now I’m home and I peer hopefully in the refrigerator but it’s still only filled with packaged frozen foods.
The pain is subsiding, finally. I’m healing.