My friend Louis wanted the rest of this story, so here it is. When last we left the tale Lenore and I had just arrived in Florida.
Our bodies arrived a few hours past noon local time, but our minds were slower, plugging away in the skies behind us and lumbering to catch up, and even after they arrived there was a period of reconstitution and reassembly as everything got put back together.
Friday night we are watching TV late at night because our bodies have no idea of what constitutes bed time anymore. Even exhaustion isn’t enough of a clue. Lenore gets up from the couch around midnight, steps around an ottoman, and slams her foot into the foot of a heavy upholstered chair. The chair legs are black, the carpet dark brown, and the chair foot is invisible in the low TV light. The chair doesn’t move a micron, but Lenore’s left 4th toe is suddenly 60 degrees to the left of normal, folded over her small toe, and screaming. She isn’t – the toe is doing a fine job of that on its own. She is stunned – as am I. I’m frozen. Some deep-brain registry is telling me something serious has happened, and I’m waiting for more information, hyper-vigilant, completely focused on her. Then she moans, “I think I broke my toe…” I know she has, and I know it’s serious.
Usually when a person breaks a toe it hurts like hell, but after awhile it turns out it’s the sort of thing that you can buddy-tape to the next toe and limp around on the next day while casually bragging that you’re walking on a broken bone. Not this time.
It’s obviously serious. The rest of the night is miserable for her. We have some Tylenol with us, and she takes two. I buddy-tape the toe back in place for her when she’s able to bear it. I have to jury-rig it, we don’t have tape or band-aids with us but I peel a self-adhesive label off of something – no recollection of what – and then cut it into strips with her knitting scissors for tape. I put pieces of tissue paper between her toes and very carefully tape the toe back into place. It’s twisted a bit as well, but not a compound fracture and doesn’t look like it needs to be set. I think she reduced it herself when she was first looking at it and tried to move it back where it belonged. But it still wants to wander off in its own direction, and the taping helps with that.
There’s an office chair on wheels in the room and I wheel her into the bedroom, get her situated, and we agree we need more information about broken toes. So I head down to the hotel’s business center around 1am and Google and print all the info I can find for her. When I get back she’s obviously suffering, but hanging tough – and she is VERY tough when it comes to pain. But I can tell the pain is really bad for her.
In a half hour or so the pain eases a bit, and we agree she’s going to need something to help her walk, so I head back down to the business center, locate a nearby 24-hour pharmacy, and go get a set of crutches, a 4-point cane, and miscellaneous toe-taping supplies. When I get back she tries the crutches, but it’s a no-go. The cane is a possibility, but awkward for her, and while I was out she learned how to use the room chair as a scooter, putting her left knee on the seat and pushing herself along holding onto the chair arms. So she uses that, and around 3am or so we try to get some sleep.
We wake up about two hours later. We’re now operating on a phenomenal amount of sleep-lack and our circadian rhythms have given up, crashed, and rebooted. We’re in the mind-over-matter zone, directing our bodies with force of will and numb to physical complaints. I call the hotel desk to ask if they have a wheel chair and they do, so I go get that, they give me directions to the Good Samaritan Hospital nearby, and we go there.
The x-ray shows a full break, jagged and deep in the toe. We get a post-op boot (it sucks for the purpose), a prescription for some heavy-duty pain killer (Lenore doesn’t do that stuff) and another heavy-duty anti-nausea med to counteract the side effects of the painkiller (which is why she doesn’t do that stuff). But the x-ray does inform us of the nature of the break, and that it doesn’t require further reduction (a relief), and we are reassured to learn that the lingering edema she has in that leg as a result of a lymphectomy when she went through cancer treatment 14 years earlier will not cause any problems during her healing process.
Our circadian rhythm center now tells us that, first of all, it has decided the time of day it is is the time of day it is; and secondly, but no less important, is the fact that it doesn’t give a crap what other parts of the brain may think about that decision. So we wheel ourselves out to Lenore’s sister’s place and spend the day there with Mom and the family.
That night we go to bed at a normal hour and both have so many dreams of such duration that when we wake up we both think we have slept through the night. As it turns out we have been asleep for about a half hour. Now THAT was weird. Some sort of hyper-drive processing event sorting through the piled-up returns of recent days, sifting it all out, filing and deleting and compressing the data as needed after plugging it in to try-on scenarios to see if it is applicable and useful to us and consonant with the world-view we have acquired to date.
When I wake up after that half hour I realize my external “third eye” has been intact but completely separate from the process, watching it happen objectively from a distance. Still trying to figure out whether that’s part of fore-brain/prefrontal lobe function, or the “soul”, or a combination of the two. I suspect the latter. It was reminiscent of a deep meditative state, but the engendered consciousness had a perspective component to it that was specific rather than holistic. It was just “being,” but watching something as well.
We fall back asleep again, and have, by comparison, a fairly normal night’s sleep punctuated by applications of new ice packs and Tylenol. We keep the hotel’s wheel chair for the duration of the visit, only relinquishing it after our transport to the airport has arrived and Lenore is settled into it. The rest is denouement. The airline wheel chair service was exemplary and we got home safely, without further adventure.
Lenore uses the cane now, is able to walk about 8” per step with her cane and stand for about ten minutes at a time. She helps start preparing meals, I am sous-chef and runner and deliver all food, knives, pots and pans to her while she sits on a high stool at the counter and plys her art. I finish up and serve. She’s getting a bit better every day.
There ya go. That’s the story to date.