I always flirt with death
I’ve been wanting to come back out of nowhere and try to put into words the last 3 or so months. I almost get there, I almost get there. Truthfully, I don’t know where to start now, how to organize any of it. I spent exactly 9 weeks in the hospital and rehab (back and forth a bit) and have nothing to show for myself. I wrote one blog entry. I didn’t read any books (just a couple of chapters of “Little Bee” and that was an idea for a post that i didn’t write) or write any letters. I didn’t knit or do anything crafty. Really, I’ve never been so fucking useless in my entire life. It’s no surprise that the last couple of weeks of rehab, where I was living in a nursing home really, were pretty damned dark. When you’re laid up for that long, people don’t come to visit as much. And I got that, I did. I wasn’t mad at anyone. We all have our lives to get back to. Truthfully, I didn’t want to see anyone any more. I had nothing to say. I didn’t want to admit to the miserable bastard that I had become. I felt ashamed of it. Like, how dare you? You’re still alive. You’re going to walk again. Shit, I had dates in rehab. I went shopping (on line). Things could be worse. Unlike my roommate, I had control of my bowels. Things weren’t so fucking bad.
And here’s what I hate to admit now. Since being home, in some ways I feel worse. I am finally processing some of these things. I don’t know if I will ever grasp the fact that the people who love me didn’t know if I was going to live. I can say these words, that I was brought to the hospital by helicopter and that I was admitted in critical condition. But I don’t know if I’ll ever get it. When I woke up and saw the people that had rallied around me it was overwhelming. I didn’t get it. I had already had cancer. I had to live with that every day and hope that things were going to be okay. The car accident happened, I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t remember it, I just had to recover from it. What was the big deal? Of course, initially, I had zero understanding of what kind of recovery I had coming up. I didn’t know that I wasn’t going to be able to go to the bathroom without supervision for at least a month and a half. I didn’t understand that for the first 2 weeks, I would have to call a nurse every time I needed to scratch my own foot. There are a million things you don’t even think of. Everything and I mean EVERY THING becomes an enormous chore. I honestly don’t know how I didn’t break a lot sooner.
I don’t know that I ever broke. I got really really close. And being me, I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. Not really. It was admitting weakness, and I’m not big on it.
Now, I often feel on the edge of the break that didn’t come. Yes, I’m admitting it, but I’m still not going to tell you if you ask me. These things keep happening to me. I feel like I’m constantly being tested. Take today. I had a PT appointment and was unable to get any of my wonderful helpers to chauffer me to the hospital, so I called a cab. Now, first, I was aggravated. I called them an hour before hand and they were still 15 minutes late. The driver was an older gentleman from another country who was very apologetic and I felt sorry for him, decided immediately that I would not be angry. We’re pulling out of my driveway, we have not left My Driveway, and another car plows into us.
It took me a minute to figure out what had happened. The accident was minor, but the other car was coming fast- a blur in the periphery. I sat there quietly thinking, “when will this stop?” When is going outside going to be normal again? Your own street becomes a bad memory and then you get locked up in hospital and rehab for 9 weeks. In a way, despite the doctors’ and nurses’ and aides’ and PT’s and OT’s best intentions, it was the opposite of helpful.
The strange thing is, I don’t really think that. I don’t get scared to go outside, not at all. I get stir crazy from being inside as much as I am. In a way it is rehab all over again- I’m lonely without the visitors but I’m too miserable to want to see anyone any way… but this isn’t accurate either. I want to go out, but every time I do, I’m almost getting creamed by some car. Or, as was the case in my recent trip to NY, almost getting left in a rest stop in Connecticut by the bus. I still don’t feel like “why me?” so much as I feel like “what the fuck?”
Last week, after the Farmer’s Market, was the worst. I was walking in the crosswalk, maybe 50 feet from where the actual accident took place, and a truck had to slam on its brakes to stop from hitting me. This time was not the same as the first accident. This time I saw it all. It was slow and horrific and I was on crutches and couldn’t move. This was the big moment where your life is supposed to flash before you. Here’s what flashed before me: “are you fucking KIDDING me?”