Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Are You on Quack?!
I do have a point here. Since my surgery, I have been on a couple different types of pain pills. The first ones were much too strong, and I was assigned a new medication when the cast was put on. After the experiences with the first pain pills, I was hesitant to take anything at all that was stronger than Motrin or Tylenol. I disliked the memory loss, inability to think, nausea, constant shaking, lack of motor skills, and the tendency to pass out without a moment's notice from the first part of recovery. All of that falling off the crutches really left an impression.
But the pain persists. Even almost a month after surgery, there are times when pain shoots up my leg and stops my breath. It comes out of the blue, and it won't go away. Then the throbbing in my heel begins if I use the knee walker too much, and then my knee feels like the bone is exposed from kneeling, and the "good" ankle complains about overuse of the tendon, and then the incisions on the "bad" ankle feel raw and not unlike hamburger meat. This causes tension to radiate out from my neck and shoulders and gives me a nice, big headache to complete the experience. At these times, I break down and take a pain pill.
After about fifteen minutes, it feels like the effects of drinking two glasses of wine. I am a lightweight, so maybe for the more experienced drinkers out there, it would feel like just a pleasant buzz that moves you away from the scene of the pain about a hundred feet. You can kind of watch the pain, and you know it's there, but you are just kind of curious about it. You can ask your body if the pain is still bad, and your body will respond, "Pain? Oh, that. Well. Um. Tomato?" And you sigh and lean back against the pillow and close your eyes.
And then it's three hours later. I hate that part. All the writing I could have been doing!
So my kid is on "crack," meaning sugar. And I am on "crack," meaning pain pills. But we don't like to use that term because someone might take us literally, and no one is REALLY on "crack." So we call it "quack."
"Are you on quack?!!" We will ask each other this when anything nonsequitur pops out of someone's mouth. And the answer, for me, at least, lately, is "Yes." I wish I wasn't, but the pain is in control. Not forever. But for now.
Apparently, I have been acting more and more normal the past couple weeks. I now have the ability to complete sentences. I no longer ask if someone has walked the goldfish, or other quack-induced questions. I can smile and laugh when appropriate. I find more to smile and laugh about. I cook dinner. I can handle an hour, sometimes longer, in the park. I fall less often. I remember conversations most of the time.
However, I am not entirely myself. Not just yet. I need a little more time to recover. There are still times when I may be smiling on the outside and grimacing in pain on the inside. I feel I have been enough of a burden on my friends and my son and do not wish to complain over a certain amount. Although I know I do still complain, I could complain more. But I don't. And if I look at you funny after you ask me a question, I may not comprehend exactly what you just said. If I look puzzled after I have uttered a sentence, I may not be aware of exactly what I, myself, just said. Sometimes I'm afraid that I still do not make sense. That I may have said that the salad is baked and the cereal is frozen and that I need fingernails for my iced tea. I mean, really, the words don't come out right sometimes. So I am a little nervous about speaking at all.
But since a lot of time has passed since the surgery, and I appear to be doing well, others, even those who see me each day, seem to expect me to be myself already. But I'm not.
Even if I look like a duck, and quack like a duck, I may not actually be a duck. I may just be a goose. On quack.
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Anna C. Morrison is an author of children’s books, including Silly Moments and Green Gooey Goop, with many more to follow. She is also an adjunct professor for multiple colleges and universities, both face-to-face and online. While she instructs various levels of English composition, she also teaches classes on literature, film, feature writing, and technical writing, among others. In addition, she has worked with Adapt Courseware as a writing consultant on three video course projects, including college skills and composition. Anna received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and her BA in English, Creative Writing, from California State University, San Bernardino. Anna is an active member of SCBWI and is available for book signings. She lives in Southern California with her family and pets. Please visit her web site at www.annacmorrison.com.