Probably more trauma than pain actually. Because the whole experience was traumatic. From walking the block home from my friend’s house clutching my wrist, to watching my little brother screaming as he was restrained from getting in the car with us, to every second at the hospital.
My god the hospital. Nothing but a blur of scary looking strangers moving too fast, talking too loud, and making my arm hurt more. My clearest memory is of being in the X-ray room and desperately begging and negotiating with the doctor for my mom to come in with me. Which was a huge effort for me since my major life goal at six years old was to talk to strange adults as little as possible.
So I think it was more the trauma than the pain that led to me cocooning myself on the coach for the first week or so. I don’t remember much about that period other than making a decision to never, ever, move my arm, or any other part of my body ever again. Ever.
My memory of my time on the couch is through my 6-year-old, prone eyes. I see the high back of the couch, my cast encased arm in its blue sling, the blankets and pillows that surrounded me, and a bunch of small glass animals lined up along the back of the couch, along with random other trinkets and toys, because my dad kept coming home from work with presents for me.
Specifically he hit this line of little glass animals. They were probably marble more than actual glass, and they were all the same brown and white swirl, but they were every kind of animal you could think of, and each day he brought me a few new ones. I remember laying on the couch and seeing these little presents lined up all along the back of the couch, and wondering why I was getting so many treats when it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas. Eventually I figured out that they were meant to somehow compensate me for my pain and suffering. I think my most vivid memory from that time is of everything lined up on the back of the couch, my parents hovering in the background, because it was a few days before I was willing to move enough to touch them or play with them.
Chris broke his collar-bone last week while playing street hockey. The thing about a broken collar-bone is that there’s just not much that can be done about it. We saw a specialist and he told us that Chris didn’t require surgery. He said that it was 50/50 whether surgery would make him heal better, and that either choice Chris made, surgery or no surgery was a valid choice. Chris opted for no surgery.
For him that means a sling, a prescription for oxycodone, and just waiting for the bones to start to knit back together, (which in people over the age of 30 can take as long as 6 weeks.) It means pretty constant pain and discomfort for him, because while the pain killers seem to take the edge off, he’s never completely comfortable.
For me that means just watching him suffer. It means trying not to notice when his lips turn white as he braces against a wave of pain, of trying not to flinch when he does this one kind of exhalation that he only does when he’s hurting and can’t get comfortable. It means not being able to really hold him or offer any help in making him comfortable. Above all else, it means feeling endlessly helpless.
I find myself constantly wanting to buy him presents. Because I apparently have the same coping skills as my dad.
And now I totally get where my dad was coming from. It’s really frustrating to see someone you love be broken and not be able to fix it.
But my dad had it easy. I was a six year old girl. He could buy me glass animals, doll house furniture, Barbies, anything pink. Plus I was prone on the couch, and so he could literally shower me in presents and at least look down and feel like he’s done something.
But I’m dealing with an almost 39 year old man, so my options are lot more limited. He’s sticking to our diet, so I can’t shower him with cupcakes and apple turnovers, and even if I could, he won’t sit still, so anything I’d pile on him would just get all over the floor and I’m not wasting frosting like that.
So far, all I’ve come up with is spicey kettle corn that I got at a farmers market last weekend. I wanted to dump it on him like confetti, to try to achieve that feeling of showering him with gifts, but he insisted on just eating it straight from the bag like a normal person.
My only option at this point is to put all my pent-up gift giving urges into shopping for his birthday next week, and then Christmas. We decided to do stockings for each other, and so my most pressing issue at the moment is finding a stocking that is approximately 4 feet long and 2 feet wide.
Also, if anyone knows where I can get a moon bounce and a fire juggler who will do adult birthday parties cheap, let me know. Thanks.