Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Are You on Quack?!

We often kid with my kid that he's on crack, meaning sugar, because that is his drug of choice. He gives hyperactivity new meaning. Speedy speech, eyes darting, he becomes the life of the party, even if we are just sitting in the car. It doesn't take much sugar to bring him to this state of supernatural bliss. He craves sugar as strongly as I need coffee in the morning just to unsluggify my brain. So I limit his sugar intake, and monitor his diet carefully. Of course, there's nothing I can do when he is at his father's house. But then it becomes his problem, and if he wants to deal with that behavior, that's on him. Just don't feed him Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew and drop him on my doorstep. Caffeine is not an option for my kid, ever. Sugar does enough damage by itself. At least he sleeps well on the nights he indulges.

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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  1. I love how you can take a not so fun experience and extract some measure of humor from it. Each day will get a little better and a little better, and pretty soon, the good ankle will stop whining, the bad knee will quit complaining, the headache will turn down the heavy metal music, and you'll be standing strong on both feet. :)

  2. Thank you! Now, can that day be tomorrow, please? I am so ready!

  3. Hi Anna,
    Wishing you a speedy recovery and lots of clear, quack-free writing time! I'll drop by your blog, and please drop by http://onepotatoten.blogspot.com where I am one of ten children's writer and illustrator contributors.

  4. Thank you, Edie, I will certainly do so! I'm sorry I will miss you at the SCBWI conference in August.


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