Friday, March 04, 2011

Cushing and Chutney Enjoying a Walk

I've Fallen Down 
And I Don't Want To Get Up

"I fell off stage and bruised some ribs. The worst part was that the audience didn't realize I was gone."-Richard Marx

On Saturday, February 18 at 5:30 AM while taking my canine friends Chutney and Cushing out for their morning constitutional I noticed that my driveway had become a sheet of ice. Friday had been one of the rare days of the winter with a bit of a thaw. The packed layer of snow in our long downhill driveway was now a bobsled track. Even though I was half asleep, I noticed this. I was aware of it. I am a recently retired mailman in Maine. I know how to walk on ice. I am aware of the danger of falling. I had fallen a few times as a letter carrier and had never been hurt falling. The one bad back injury I had suffered on the job came from not falling, catching my fall after slipping on ice by quickly bending and then straightening my left leg and experiencing the dynamic jolt of my entire body weight going up the leg and into my spine, damaging my S-1 disc in the process. This injury would finally lead to surgery after seventeen years of working in pain.
I told myself at that time that it was just better to fall and break something than try to stay on one's feet and hurt one's back.

It May Sometimes Be Better To Fall Down
But Sometimes You Have No Choice

The dogs seemed a little reluctant to urinate in their regular spot so, in an adventurous mood, I decided to ambulate down the driveway to the street. Walking down the side of the driveway where there was some snow that I could grip seemed like a good strategy. But, of course, as I approached the end of the driveway there was no more snow and I fell. I didn't have a chance. Almost before I knew what was happening I landed on my right side and on my back. Instantly I knew I was hurt. It wasn't the fault of the dogs. They didn't pull me down. I just went down all by myself. They approached me and licked my face in sympathy.
I let them lick; I got up, and then they finally pissed.

Oh, The Pain, The Pain!

I struggled back to the house and spent the next two days trying to get comfortable around the spreading pain in my right side. I hoped for bruised not broken ribs. I went to my physician who ordered x-rays. The radiologist at the hospital read them as negative. After two days I started to feel better. On the fourth day I was feeling much better.  At bedtime on the evening of the fourth day I went to brush my teeth feeling very pleased about the improvement in my ribs. I was enjoying a new toothpaste (A natural brand,Organique Neem and Pomegranite by Himalaya, made in Bangalore, India. I'm not being paid to say that.) and in the process I sneezed and instantly felt like I got kicked in the side by a horse. I returned to the doctor the next day and he pulled up my x-rays from the internets. He uttered words to the effect 'By golly they missed something here. You have at least two broken ribs'.
Broken Ribs From the Outside After Eight Days

Happy Days! Have Some Drugs

He prescribed oxycodone, which I despise, having taken it when my back was at its worst just before surgery in 2002. But you have to keep down the pain of broken ribs so you can breathe deeply to avoid getting pneumonia. That drug messes up your digestion, your sleep patterns, and it makes your brain sluggish. How people can take this stuff for fun I'll never know.
Broken ribs are one debilitating thing. I have had no energy because pain limits my ability to move around. And lack of activity breeds lack of activity. But I'm feeling better now and that's it for the oxy. Back in the day we took drugs to have visions. Psychedelics [ψυχή (psyche, "soul") and δηλοῦν (deloun, "to manifest")] were used to enhance experience.  It seems like a lot of people today are looking for something to shut down their brains and avoid experience.
But enough of my old man rant, no one wants to hear it.

The Driveway Today
Almost all of the snow we have enjoyed this winter remains here in Hiram.

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