chapter 10: careful

when i came home from the hospital, my brain felt swollen.  and basically, that’s not a good feeling.  when i walked, i tried to move like the Brides of Dracula, gliding across the floor.  if i’d had hardwood, maybe i would’ve worn rollerskates.  because the last thing i wanted to do was bob or rattle my head.  i wanted it to float in its own stable orbit, moving on its own exact horizontal plane.  i was living a video game, where my brain was the pressurized air tank in Jaws’s mouth, and moving my head felt like it was alerting Brody to my position.  also, despite what the doctor said, i realized that it was still possible that i had an aneurysm.  and if it in fact was an aneurysm, that meant i could just drop dead.  at any given moment.  a friend suggested i have someone with me at all times, just in case something happened.  that seemed unrealistic.  but i did consider, at another friend’s suggestion, getting something that would quickly alert medical emergency staff.  they suggested a Medical Alert bracelet.  this sounded like a good idea.  and then someone else, as a point of reference, reminded me that this was the product advertised by the “i’ve fallen and i can’t get up” commercial.  “help!  i’ve fallen and i can’t get up!”  …  “i’ve fallen and i can’t get up!”  i was considering being the lady who said “i’ve fallen and i can’t get up!!!!”  what was HAPPENING HERE????  an OLD LADY.  an iconic, lampooned commercial.  a punch line.  and now, for me, a serious consideration.  would my bracelet come with a free Little Rascal scooter?  how about the Clapper?  WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME????

reality was reality, and this system might be a good idea.  but a healthcare professional told me it was expensive to set up.  geez.  i don’t know what was worse:  having to consider the “i’ve fallen and i can’t get up” bracelet, or having to eliminate it as a possibility because i couldn’t afford it.

my head felt so unstable.  so on the edge.  i made sure i kept my phone on me at all times.  if i went into another room, i made sure it was in my pocket.  because what if i fell down, and …”couldn’t get up!”  i also tried to keep tabs on whether my ally the G-man was in the building.  he’s the apartment manager, with a key to my place, so if something happened…  to the same end, i told myself i needed to give my neighbor across from me a key…i had to make sure someone was there, something was in place, in the event that my head exploded.  maybe they could pick up the pieces.  maybe i could change the ending to Humpty Dumpty.

a week after i came home, my boss let me come back to work.  for 2 hours.  during a slow time of day.  on a slow day of the week.  basically, it was charity.  i didn’t really “work.”  it was just something to get me out of the bed and off the couch.  for a little bit.  he and my co-worker had been my only visitors in the hospital.  but they came during my hour and a half in the MRI machine, so i never saw them.  he was trying to help.  so there i was, being paid to take it reeeeaaaal easy.  he was explaining things to me, and i was nodding my head.  but then i had to stop.  i literally couldn’t even nod.  it hurt too much.  so i sat on a stool.  and glided across the floor like a figure skater when i walked.  got a ride home, and it was time for bed.  again.  two hours was a big adventure.  now i needed another ten hours of sleep.  just me and my trusty phone.  i got it in the hospital.  my old low-tech phone was dying.  so my friends made arrangements, and presto, i was in the hospital bed with a brand new Blackberry.  my revolutionary tool to communicate while i was stuck there.  to update people.  it was a new world.  and such was my life:  my pillow and my blackberry.  my closed eyes and intermittent typing.  but most of all, sleep.  with the hope that i wouldn’t have to use the Blackberry to get help.  but if i did, i was ready.  i was prepared.  i was careful.  and i was lucky.  because here i am, writing this.  so far, so good.

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