At Regular Intervals Part II

July 18, 2006 at 11:28 AM (Able Bodied Antics, Alchoholism, Doctors, Hospitalization) (, )

1975

I am thirteen. I’ve had a reasonable discussion with my physician. He makes me believe that my right foot needs to be steadied by fusing the ankle, breaking it (on purpose?) and resetting the bone so it cannot move side to side. I agree with him.

Mom, with all the facts in front of her is incredibly afraid that losing flexibility in the right foot will be worse for me in the long run. She cancels the sugery.

I actually fly into a rage and take her by the shoulders and *shake her.* How dare she decide what’s best for *my* foot!

She is stunned and actually afraid of me. I back down on the physical stuff but still take the (in hindsight ridiculous) position that at the ripe old age of thirteen, I am the one who gets to decide. I am left in my room to listen to another war of words between my father and my mother.

“Well, I agree with you, it’s probably a lousy idea, but you’ve got the kid *set* on it now, and once she’s set up for something…you see how nuts it is! But it’s a fact now. Now, we have to do it.”

With my father’s comfortingly lukewarm endorsement, I had that surgery.

Sometime during that stay, he also felt the need to show up completely wasted, loud, f*cked up during evening visiting hours, demanding to see me, terrorizing the candy stripers. “Where’s my daughter!!!!!!” The candy striper he yelled at came in later, after he was gone and gave me cookies and juice. I was profoundly ashamed . After all, if I was not a patient there, the werewolf would not have brought his chaos to them.

I had a horrible reaction to the general anesthetic that was used back then. So for 8 hours I was so puke o matic that I wasn’t aware that my right leg was killing me. Once the pain in that leg increased enough to register, I avoided the pain meds for as long as I could…did the white knuckle thing with my hands on the rails until 4:00 am. I remembered that last time the nurses had laughed at my rapid fire manic talking after I took stuff. So I was going to hold out. I was sweating and shaking by the time I buzzed the nurse for a painkiller.

Then Wednesday morning arrived. My orthopedic surgeon breezed in after a cheery round of golf, no doubt with some of his and my father’s mutual acquaintances, part of the Charming Drunks Who Thought They Ran Things Network.

“Well, and how are *we* today?”

I looked at him, cocked a brow and said, “I don’t know how *you* are, but I feel like SH!T!”

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