Wednesday, December 12, 2018

ICU Revisited

Walking into Jackson South hospital pushing my walker in front of me took me back to that mid September day I first left my room after almost two weeks in intensive care. My therapist Sean stuffed me in a wheelchair and set me free: 

Yesterday afternoon I returned for the first time and saw Sean down the corridor. I waved. He was the one who got me out of bed and scared the bejeezus out of me. 

He waved back. He knew everything. “I’ve been following you on Instagram,” he said. And he has. He asked after Rusty’s paw and made sure he was home safe with friends for the night while we are in Miami.

I was fighting back tears for the picture.  You were right I told him. I can walk. I didn’t believe it at the time as I lay in bed only able to use my right arm.

Before Sean the doctors and nurses had their way with me. One nurse pushed up my shorts to look at my thigh. The most natural thing in the world in a hospital. She wanted toook at the scar where they drilled into my leg to put a pin to put my badly broken femur in traction. 

“Do you remember when I put the weight on and the said the pain went away?”  Oh yes I remembered the agony stopping suddenly. I also remembered the drill cutting into my skin. We laughed. The atmosphere in critical care is so relaxed. Anything goes. I felt at home. I remembered Keila and sheremembered me. We tested up right there outside the elevators. ICU staff don’t often see the success stories. “This one lived!” She called out. He walks! I replied stumping along. 

And Adam fixing my leg inits cursed brace: 

It was really good to see them and they made me throw the walker away for the picture. I was hanging into Adam’s back.  

It was a long day, even for a passenger through the Keys trying not to drive my wife nuts back seat driving. She knew her way round having spent far too many days driving back and forth during my recovery. 

I was surprised to see the hospital appear above the suburbs. My wife pointed it out to me and I was fascinated to see it from the outside.  I arrived by helicopter and left at night by ambulance on a stretcher. 

It was pretty luxurious but of respect for my lack of stamina my wife insisted we do room service. Argentine sausage, Peruvian steak and a bottle of white. No Percocet for me! I struggled on through! 

And a lovely view from the Doubletree. 

And legendary cookies for dessert. The real reward will be 100% weight bearing on both legs from the surgeon’s x-rays today. Fingers crossed. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Day In The Life

Rusty likes to hang out outdoors and  at home on Cudjoe he gets to come and go as he likes with his dog door and no fences. The wild street dog still lives inside my little brown bundle of joy. Consequently after we took a Frankenstein walk (me hobbling behind my walker) around the apartment complex I sat at the bench, chained to the wall for some reason, insurance or  safety I suppose, and let him curl up in the sun. Funny little dog. 
Eventually my bladder dictated a departure and when the bladder calls I have to listen because quick is not in my vocabulary for the moment. I am happy that I can get to the toilet but quick responses to stimuli are laughably impossible so at the first twinge I start planning my moves. Rusty wasn't best pleased but he was on the end of the leash and had no choice. The good news is I have figured out how to bend down safely behind my walker and pick up his dog eggs. No more putting out markers when he takes a shit and directing Layne to pick them up later. We walk and each go to the toilet in our own way and place, and each leave no trace. 
The walk and his pain pill for his still healing tendon set Rusty to stretching out on the bed and snoring. I left the sliding doors open on the balcony as the air was lovely and cool but he decided he needed a nap first. I drove myself out of the apartment. I've attached a rubber Theraband to the door handle so I grab it as I go and slam the door shut behind me while in motion. It's very slick and means I don't have to stop and stagger to the door and close it while standing up. I am smart.
Then off up the sidewalks to Searstown  where the therapy gym is located. On the way I met a bunch of people on bicycles and as they are faster than me usually I let them go ahead. Then of course they crowded the cross walk and instead  of zipping away riding they walked their sodding bicycles like a funeral cort├Ęge leaving me trailing along behind in the roadway as the lights went to green as they continued to amble slowly and spread out. I lived to tell the tale and that's all that mattered.  
These two were Europeans I'm sure of it. Americans leap when they see a cripple and make sure I can get past. European visitors look at me like I should have the  decency to stay home out of sight instead of embarrassing their youth and fitness on the streets. Another reason to prefer living in these complicated United States. Heaven forbid you become disabled over there and have to negotiate medieval streets and attitudes. 
Besides if you live around here instead of snow you get to see this as you ride to physical therapy:
Of course every paradise has it's serpent and around here house prices have gone mad. To rent a two bedroom one bath house with pool and pool house on Duck Avenue takes $3700 plus all the frills like utilities and food and fuel. In a town where the pay scales are abysmally low for many jobs.  
And accessibility isn't always what it should be. I opened the elevator back at the apartment complex and found this sign of some aggravating ambulatory person who couldn't be bothered to ride down and put the cart away. I had to figure it out but I managed to pull it out and put it in its place and get my ride upstairs. 
Screw them, I'm alive and life is good.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Dead In Key West

I was very much alive rolling down Frances Street so I took a picture as I passed some of the prettiest Conch cottages along the street before I turned west...
...into the cemetery. I was promised a bang up funeral oration by the police department chaplain had I died last August but I'm still here so I figured I might as well come by for a quick visit to what is essentially one of my favorite open spaces in Key West.
It is so serene and filled with history I am amazed more people don't come here and meditate on life and death. The above ground tombs give rise to some creative tomb architecture too. 
You can legally drive a car in from the Margaret Street main entrance and bicycles are welcome too but no scooters. Years ago people behaved badly on them and they have been banned ever since. I don't understand why people choose to be idiots in the cemetery but they manage it of course.
The cemetery hours are strictly observed and if you aren't out in time you will get locked in and the fence is new and strong. We have a key in dispatch so we can send officers out to retrieve silly people who overstay their welcome. Don't do it as it gets dark early in winter and people get creeped out. 
Like much of downtown the cemetery is under the prevailing flight path of the airport. Silly really with so much open water around but that's how they built it decades ago.
And then as I wandered around I saw a tall mop headed palm rising far about the roof line, catching the sun... Then I rolled out and pointed my electric scooter east toward The Meadows neighborhood and my night’s four hour shift at work. 
 Last little piece of old Key West? Dunno but there they are:

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Folk Art

As astonishing as it is to relate I took these photos on August 29th two days before my accident which sent me to the hospital for three months. Yet the exhibit continues through January 6th. I have posted a few photos here and there but this collection allows you to browse this fascinating exhibit and I hope encourage to pay a few dollars to go and see this fantastic museum. Its pretty much self explanatory and hope the pictures offer you as much as I enjoyed looking at them.The tin man is an example of Stanley Papio's particular style:

A detail from above:

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A detail from above: