Saturday, October 19, 2013

Not The Smartest

Three weeks post-injury.  Nine more to go.  Ugh.

The first two weeks were ugly.  The less mentioned about those the better.  Suffice it to say that it's possible to move your shoulder or sternum, and therefore your broken collarbone, even while trying your darnedest not to, and that narcotic painkillers are a wonderful thing.

This week has been slightly better as far as my injuries.  The cat-shaped scab fell off my head and left behind a small red divot.  I was pretty disappointed that I won't have a cat-shaped scar on my head to forever mark me as a Crazy Cat Lady.  It's been slightly worse as far as how I'm dealing with inactivity.  I texted my son with a long list of things I thought I might be able to do, and his responses to them varied from "probably not" to "hell no".  

But today I thought I'd figured out something I could do:  run the ShopVac on the floors, which are pretty dusty and furry after three weeks.  The ShopVac was already in the middle of the back bedroom, so I wouldn't have to drag it out of the closet or lift it up the step between the laundry room and the kitchen; there's an easily accessible outlet in the back bedroom (no reaching for it); and it has a great long hose and wand on it, so I won't have to extend my left arm out very far.  I never thought I'd be excited about vacuuming, but I was.  Thrilled, even.  I ran it all around the back bedroom and my bedroom (which took three times longer than normal with only one arm and the restrictions on my movement) and then I went into the kitchen.  I should mention here that I have a contractor-grade ShopVac, so the thing's pretty powerful. Florian Cat's toys were scattered all over the kitchen floor and I was pushing them out of the way with my foot when I sucked up one of them partway into the wand.  The canister of the ShopVac was all the way across the room, so instead of turning the thing off, I pinched the ShopVac hose between my left arm and my body so I could yank the toy out of the wand.  Nobody came over this morning to put my hair in a ponytail for me, so I had a full-on Roseanne Roseannadanna thing going on today.  You can guess what happened next.  Yup.  Sucked my hair right into the ShopVac.  I let go of the wand, thinking gravity would help me.  Not so much.  The ShopVac traveled up my hair and stuck to the crown of my head, and I couldn't pull it off because I'm not supposed to lift either arm, right?  So I hobbled across the room with this thing stuck to my head, turned off the ShopVac, and the wand dropped off my head.  Not the smartest thing I've done lately.

I think I'll go back to sitting on the bed reading a book.  It's safer that way.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Twelve Weeks

Monday I went to see the orthopedic specialist. 

He walked into the room and said, very accusingly, "I looked at the x-rays from this morning and your fracture has shifted.  What have you been doing?  It was perfectly aligned on Thursday and now it's shifted. You must decrease your level of activity."

I fixed him with my best you're-an-asshole glare, a look that I've perfected over years of, well, being surrounded by assholes.  It must've worked.  (I think the black eye and my crazy hair helped the effect.) The doc actually took a step back, tilted his head to the side, and said, "I apologize.  Do you live alone?"  I nodded.  "It's very hard to manage a clavicle fracture if you live alone."

I sighed.  "Doc, I can feel the damn thing moving.  It clicks.  That's a little unnerving."

He checked my splint, a figure-of-eight brace that I'm pretty sure was once used as a medieval torture device.  "The splint isn't properly placed," he said as he hopped on the table behind me.  

Then he put his knee in my back and tightened the splint.  I said a bit of the Rosary in a way not typically prayed.

And then we had a little conversation about what I cannot do, which is pretty much everything, during which he scared me into compliance by threatening surgery if the break gets out of alignment again.  "Do not lift anything, do not stretch, do not extend either arm past 45 degrees, do not remove your splint," he warned. Got it.  He scribbled a note that I can't go back to work until he sees me again in three weeks.

As I left his office, he paused in the hallway, looked back, and said, "If you need anything, just call the office. You're my patient for the next twelve weeks for the same price, so don't hesitate to call if you have questions or needs."

"Twelve weeks?" I said.  "I won't really take that long to heal...right?"

"It will take every bit of twelve weeks for that fracture to heal, yes," he said.

"Twelve..." I gulped.  "Twelve weeks...."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

About Those Plans...

Somebody said, "We make plans and God laughs."  (I don't know who that "somebody" is or was.  The interwebs says John Lennon, a Yiddish proverb, the tv drama Private Practice, or Woody Allen.  Take your pick.)  I don't think God really laughs at us, especially not at our misfortunes, but I do think that every once in awhile something happens to make us remember that we're not as much in charge as we think we are.

I started out this morning full of plans:  help my son move some furniture, get the second coat of paint on the back wall of the house, get under the side porch for a better look at what's needed to fix it, run some errands...but it was storming when I woke up so I decided to take a little nap and re-adjust my plans later.

About noon Mare knocked on the door, and I went to answer it in my favorite Hello Kitty jammies.  He apologized for not showing up to hang the clapboards (whatever, Mare) and we chatted for about half an hour.  Suddenly I felt yucky, really yucky, so I walked into the kitchen to sit down.  I made it to the kitchen doorway before I, in Mare's words, "dropped like a sack of taters".  Passed out cold.  On the way down I somehow managed to hit the door jamb at an odd angle, which broke my collarbone, and then I face-planted into the corner cabinet and opened up a small cut on my forehead.  That'll teach Mare to no-show when he's promised to help me!  He drove me to the hospital and spent the next three hours in the ER waiting room while they ran me through x-rays, a CT scan, bloodwork, and an EKG.  All in all, it's good news:  everything came back normal and the break is clean so the bone guy doesn't think I'll need surgery.  My glasses are shattered and my Hello Kitty jammies look like something out of a horror movie.  Come to think of it, I look like something out of a horror movie.  

I'm lucky.  Lucky that I wasn't alone, lucky that I wasn't hurt worse, lucky that I have health insurance to help pay for all this, and especially lucky that I have friends and family who care about me.  I'll try to remember all that in the face of the ortho doctor's warning: "No construction for you for the next six to eight weeks."  Ugh.  

Poor Little Porch

Poor little side porch.  She's been sadly neglected for many years.

This porch is on the east side of the house.  She still has her original spindles and beadboard ceiling, but she's suffered a lot of indignities over her lifetime.  I thought she was original to the house, but when I found Sanborn maps for my neighborhood, this porch wasn't shown as part of my house until the 1910 map.  (Incidentally, that's about when the back of the house was added on, too, the part that's gray in this photo and what I showed you in the last post.)  There were doors at either end of the porch at one time; the thresholds are still there and I can faintly see the ghost marks of some small hinges, probably for a screen door.  When I bought the house, the porch floor was covered with icky brown carpet and there were no porch steps.  I ripped up the carpet right away, and bought the steps that are there now.  (They're actually interior stairs, salvaged from an old house, but it's better than having to jump off the porch.)

The porch floor is tongue-and-groove and it has some damage.  After extensive testing--which consisted of jumping up and down in various places--I concluded that the damage is water-related and that it's mostly at the front edge of the porch.

Those two holes you see at the edge of the floor, though, aren't damage.  I think they're from porch railing that used to be there.  Back before I painted that trim board green, I could see the outline of the rail post on it.  I think the railing went along the edge of the porch to where the original steps were.  There doesn't seem to have been a railing on the other side of the steps, though.  I really wish the porch could talk, so she could tell me what she used to look like.

If she could talk, I think she'd shout, "Get that stupid, ugly plywood off of me!!"

I don't know much about the porch's history, but thanks to my neighbor Floyd I do know why the porch has plywood all over it.  Seems the previous owner, a sweet little old lady named Esther, had a live possum in the basement once (which kinda puts my dead rat in the ceiling to shame) and was convinced that it had made entry via the side porch somehow so she had the whole thing boarded over.  I tore the plywood off and looked underneath the porch.  For a couple of seconds I considered getting under there for a better look, and then it occurred to me that I could stick my phone's camera under there and get the same end result.  This is what the camera saw:
I'm not sure if that's a basement window or what--so it seems I will have to crawl under there, eventually--but whatever it is was possum-proofed by another piece of plywood and a couple of cement blocks. Note the big gap at the top.  Why, a clever possum could squeeze through there in no time.  This whole contraption makes me laugh.

What I don't find funny at all, though, is this rotten board on the front of the porch.  Part of it looks like chocolate cake and has about the same consistency, too, so it needs to be either replaced altogether or have a new board sistered in.  
I'd like to at least get that board fixed, as part of my tucking-in-for-the-winter plan.  If I'm being really ambitious, I'd like to get the porch floor painted too so that it survives the winter.  I'm worried that if I don't do repairs to it now, I'll have to replace it in the spring.  Poor little porch.