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June 12, 2002

Now, where was I?

Oh yeah, I'd just left the hospital, or was getting ready to. 

Of course they wheeled me out in a wheel chair. They'd told me before hand to get some crutches. Being nit picky I got crutches and a cane, not to use at the same time, mind you. Well, I only needed one foot to pivot from the wheel chair to the passenger side of our minivan, so both the crutches and the cane remained on the floor board. 

Finally, I was out of there. 

The car ride home was uneventful mainly because I spent it focusing on not letting the nausea make me hurl, not that there was anything there to hurl. The doctors know how you'll be after these things and leave specific orders to not eat or drink anything after midnight. I guess I can be somewhat grateful for that. Anyway it was straight home, or as straight as you can get going from south Tulsa to Catoosa. Once home I got to use the crutches. 

I'd never used crutches before. Sure I'd played around with them plenty of times when I had two good feet, lifting one leg to see how they work, but that was many years and many, many, many pounds ago. And I also wasn't dizzy, lightheaded and nauseous. Let me assure you, they don't work quite as well under these conditions. But I made it from the minivan to the bottom of the porch steps. My oldest son had been pestering me for days to read the instructions that came with the crutches. I'd ignored them. I mean, who can't figure out how to use crutches? Well, these instructions had a cartoon of a lion complete with hind leg in cast, so they obviously were serious business, at least to my 9 year-old they were, and he kept reminding me to read them, leaving the colorful, cardboard instruction sheet where ever I happened to be at the time, waving it so I'd see it. Yeah, yeah, ok, fine, just leave it there. So I finally looked it over. It was an interesting set of drawings, the lion going through the different ways of using crutches, complete with his little cartoon cast on his little cartoon leg. As I leaned on those crutches at the bottom of the porch steps the images from the instructions came back, which is a good thing because in my state of mind I doubt I would have been able to make it up without just sitting down an scooting up backwards or crawling up on hands and knees, not really something you want your neighbors to see. I mean, you can just imagine what they'd assume.

I made it inside, through the obstacle course I'd carelessly left myself on the path from the front door to our bed, and collapsed in that wonderful, glorious gift from God -- our bed. Ahh, the bed, my friend. As I flopped down, I think I was still about a foot and a half off the bed when I drifted off to sleep. I still don't know how long I lay there. I remember hearing my kids, which meant my dad had brought them back, but my wife had left to go get the pain medicine the doctor prescribed so the idea to get up to go see if my dad was still there drifted across my mind like a lazy cloud on a summer afternoon and drifted off just as easily. Yeah . .  kids are home . . . probably tearing up the house . . . yeah . . . wonder if they're playing in traffic . . . yeah . . . bed feels soooo nice . . . 

I finally fully woke up when my wife walked through the room. Turns out she'd arrived at the same time my dad had so she was there the whole time.

What she brought from the drug store was something labeled Hydrocodone APAP. I didn't have the energy at the time to look it up on the internet, but later I did. Turns out it's a generic of Vicodin that's basically a mix of Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen. Also turns out it's almost identical to Acetaminophen with codeine, which we already had sitting in the medicine cabinet from my wife's tooth ache she'd had the previous week. Well my foot really didn't bother me until later that evening so I left the stuff alone. I'm hesitant to use any medicine unless it's absolutely necessary, for good reason. See, I generally respond in one of two ways to almost all medications. It either has no affect on me whatsoever, or I pretty much bat 1000 on the side affects. In this case it was the later. About eight that evening my foot started throbbing, so I took a couple of the pills. My foot continued to throb for about a half an hour, then the throbbing stopped, and this wonderful feeling came over me, which lasted about 45 seconds. Then the side affects began. First here was the hot flash. WHOOOM. Suddenly the room got about 25 degree hotter. Then came the stomach upset, not that it needed much work in that department, but it certainly gave its best. I'd already had the nausea, this added stomach cramps. Then came the drowsiness. After almost 35 year of steady church attendance I've developed the ability to sleep while sitting up. (Hey, I'm not exaggerating at all) So there I was trying to watch TV, when I'd find myself, still sitting up, waking about 15 minutes later. I'd try to watch some more only to once again find myself waking up, some time later, still sitting up. The hot flashes were taking occasional breaks in which the room would plunge to freezing temperatures, only to rise back to baste setting a few minutes later. This lasted around four hour, about how long most medications lasts in my system. The throbbing in my foot was a pleasant break after the medicine wore off, and I've left the bottle alone since then.

I'd planned to describe the really fun soccer game I attended that evening, facing the setting, June, Oklahoma sun while I tried to find my nine year old, squinted through the blinding haze, but I've taken enough space already. Needless to say I survived, and am slowly feeling better. And am making good use of my cane (My four year old wants me to get her a small one so she can pretend her foot hurts) and hobbling about the house really wishing I could use the cane to hit kids like in the good ole days, but that's the price we pay for progress, I guess.


Posted by Jack Lewis at June 12, 2002 07:09 AM