|Garderobe, Peveril Castle, Derbyshire|
This is a term now in my daily lexicon -- it used to be set apart. (In that there field, yonder, a little farther, a little farther, more to your left -- LEFT, I said -- yep! Right there! Good job, Dear Reader!) It used to be confined to exam rooms. "So, would you say you're close to 'your normal'?" might be an insightful question for Dr. Shoulderman to ask after giving me a prosthesis, taking away a prosthesis, putting in a spacer, taking out a spacer, or removing the shoulder joint altogether.
The only intelligent answer is a one-sided shrug and a heart-felt muttered: "I guess so." Or just omit the shrug. We never wanted to hurt Dr. Shoulderman's feelings.
It's that time that comes every three years or so. My private long term insurance company that pays me 60% of my pay, post retraction of any bit of money due any agency (even my union dues!) at the level of pay I was receiving in the year 2000. The following year, of course, was when Fred had to stop working because "someone" had to be here to call 911 in case I didn't feel like it. [Ha?]
I'm pretty sure they surveilled us and I bet that was a grand old time for some poor soul.
Anyway, now it's pretty much as my go-to-guy MDVIP doctor promised me it would be: "No one, ever, is going to question your need for disability coverage. This is permanent, this is not going to get better."
He actually does have a sense of humor, this devout man. I've heard him laugh, even inappropriately (the true test of mental health). I've seen him hold his head in his hands more, though. And since he and his partner left their huge group practice to go off and practice excellence, he's felt free to say he'd pray for me.
One of his best jokes yet? I said, "I hope you had a good Passover." He responded, "Did you go to an Easter sunrise service?"
I about died laughing.
So first thing I do wrong this time -- and I'm back to talking about getting re-certified as a bona fide gimpette -- was not notifying the disability insurance company that my phone number had changed. Oopsies. (I'm channeling Rick Perry.) So when my "case coordinator" attempted to call, and got the old "disconnected" message, her natural assumption was that I'd grown new arms, legs, bones, and a better brain and had run off to Mexico, living high on Mexican hogs via that aforementioned 60% bounty. Plus the extra pesos brought in by selling my mail-order drugs.
That's right. I -- me -- moi -- am a cartel.
I knew I was up to something!
Anyway, this is always a time of stress, in spite of my humor-possessing but humor-skewed beloved doctor's assurances that I am "totally and permanently disabled." This is always the juncture when the neighbors might have mailed the company that tell-all video of Fred and me waltzing on the veranda, or me jogging off to teach my early morning yoga class at the community center eight miles down the road.
Hey! Did I tell you that I have new whatchamacallits? Elbow crutches, you know, with the cuff the fits on your arm? Two of 'em! One for each side, and yes, that part is tricky. The goal is to be able to stand for three minutes (still don't get how anyone chose "three" as a goal) which I absolutely CANNOT do -- BUT I can walk around for almost that long! Maybe half that long! So long as I am within crash reach of the bed or wheelchair! It's actually pretty cool, even if annoying know-it-all people around me keep changing the various length settings on the suckers. Fred has never been man enough to accept that I am way-y-y taller than he is. Way-y-y.
So the forms are here for me to fill out. I keep moving them around. I doubt I'll be able to write legibly. Maybe I can type out the answers, print them, and attach that to the original document? Or do they want to see me scribble?
On the phone -- we did "connect" -- Gladys, or whatever her name was, seemed thrilled that I still had the same doctor as three years ago, as six years ago, as nine years ago. "That makes it easier!" she crowed.
I had to pause as a vivid image of the man, his head gently knocking against the doorframe, overwhelmed me.
Like Fred, he had told me he was "overwhelmed."
Neither of them know it, but both of those moments were... sea change. Pearls, eyes. But it doesn't read that way, seem that way, exist that way, for Gladys.
I'm still having gastrointestinal bleeds on an ongoing basis, particularly when I don't follow the strict instructions not to take the drugs which help my bone pain the most. I am doing so less and less, until the next time I cannot use my legs due to pain, cannot straighten them, and definitely cannot stand on them.
Here's something funny. You know how people lose socks? That great eternal mystery? I lost the ankle brace that was making my right ankle fracture bearable. No, I am NOT kidding. And I always thought the punchline was that socks had PAIRS. I only have the one sweet, little brace -- it has no sibling. My theory? It's here. Somewhere. Yes, that qualifies as a theory. What do you want? There was a thief in the night (swam the icky algae-afflicted-as-never-before moat, jumped into Marlinspike Hall via a well-used garderobe -- eww! -- bypassed the small golden museum quality pieces scattered about and took, instead, my damn ankle brace? Here's the blatant flaw in your version, bud -- I am not sleeping, not since the return of the suicide-inducing spaz attacks. Even the cats are staying away. And since I've started guessing at how much insulin I might be needing, I've been in a jolly blood sugar roller coaster kind of mood. A bit of advice for you: don't take insulin, then half eat half a salad. You might be unlucky enough to fall asleep. I -- being forced awake -- simply transformed into Hulkette, snarling and green. Fred did the bright thing and ran to get the jalapeño, red pepper-flaked with Thai chili sauce brown rice to shove down my throat... running right past the left over holiday peppermint candy.
What I dislike most about episodes of the sort? I get paranoid afterward. Fred must hate me. The Domestic Staff seems distant. Bianca has a sudden extra shift at the bar (the opera was among the first and hardest hit by Tête de Hergé's plunge into forced sequestration -- damn this proclivity for copying the politics of governing exhibited by failed and dying systems!). Buddy came, but decided I'd be best comforted if he deposited his Maine Coon ass right where my shoulder used to be. Buddy left shortly thereafter, as in: Buddy fled.
I dunno. Am I back to "my normal" or not?
What? You afraid I'll bite your freaking head off if you try and answer?