I was sitting in the waiting room outside of the burn clinic waiting for my turn to have my bandages changed and soak my hand in the whirlpool, thinking about all of the things that have happened over the past week and trying to come up with three wonderful things like Clare seems to be able to pull from everything, and all I could come up with were the two worst things.
I thought about the pain in my hand, and it doesn’t compare with other things, or what the other people in the hospital were living through. I thought about being stuck on my back for two days with both arms suspended so I couldn’t even scratch my nose. I thought about the two big antibiotic pills I have to take twice a day and how they tear my stomach up and kill all the bacteria in my intestinal tract causing, um, well, something that brings number two below to happen more often than desired at a more rapid pace. I thought about the big bill that I am facing whenever the hospital figures out all the little events to charge me for, and am willing to match Suzy the damages caused by her fall (call your stitches and raise you two whirlpools). But there were two things that really stand out in a not very positive way.
The first came up when I was laying in the emergency room and one surgeon was cutting my hand open while the other was asking me questions. One of the first questions asked was my age, which I was able to answer quickly but then stuck in my mind as the others flew by: smoke? Drink? Drugs? Etc, etc, etc. All I could keep thinking about was “how did I get so old?” I just got out of the Navy; I just got out of college; yes, I know I post pictures of a granddaughter that just turned five but that’s not really because my daughter is old enough to have a daughter of her own. Where did it go? How did I get so far without it really seeming that I did? Why do all the doctors look like Doogie Houser?
Am I really old enough to think of Neal Patrick Harris as Doogie instead of as Barney? Is it too late for me to go back to school and become a doctor too? How could I make my house payments while going to medical school, and could I really keep up with the college drinking games anymore? NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
The second thing came up the second day in the hospital. I was removed from my restraints and permitted to walk over to the bathroom. That’s when I realized that the big bandage was on my right hand, and I would thus have to start using my left hand for things.
Think about the things you do with your dominant hand: the tooth brush holding I couldn’t do because the bandage would get wet; washing my dirty left hand with only my left hand (what is the sound of one hand clapping?); holding a fork or spoon the way I was used to; being able to hold things but not get it wet or dirty. As I sat there I realized that using my left hand for something I had never used it for before was rather awkward. And not being able to wash it fully afterwards was also something I did not appreciate. Oh well, it won’t last forever.