Now that my infected wound is healing I can look back on last week and like rolling your tongue in the gap created by a recently missing tooth, I can think back over my feelings about learning I was infectious. I can think about it over and over, rolling my tongue and feeling the jagged gums and the edges of the hole formerly filled with ivory. It doesn’t do much good but it makes me understand, by force, how anxious I suddenly became. It was thanks to Johann my anxiety fell away.
Johann is a physician assistant and wound care specialist and he speaks perfect English with a slight German accent. He grew up in Mexico. Intrigued? Me too. He combines elements of human warmth and decency with elements of science and learning to produce the perfect bedside manner. I am on call twenty four hours for you he says but once he has inspected your wound or looked over your chart you don’t need to be bothering him. He arranged my wound care treatment and I am on the path to healing. He monitors the nurses, goes over treatment, smiles shakes my hand and magically I am well. I rest easy.
I was scared rigid when they said I had MRSA. The medical professionals shrugged it off but I knew the bacterium could do terrible things. And then Ketty, my superb nurse’s aide asked me if I was scared as I lay dying in the road? She knew I wasn’t. So why you scared now she asked with perfect Creole logic flashing her brown eyes at me like a Valkyrie...Because I said. Because I have time to think? Because I don’t want to be eaten alive by flesh eating bacteria? Because I don’t know why. You silly she said as she fluffed up my fresh sheets and I wanted to bury my face in her bosom for reassurance. I said nothing as she counseled fortitude. Behave she said smiling and ending the counseling session.
Time proved Ketty -and Johann- correct. My expectation of a trouble free linear recovery got back on track. And Johann and I have a background in common it turns out weirdly enough. It turns out his Dad was a German engineer who got offered a job with a German company in Mexico. He married a Mexican in the decade he lived in Mexico, but as Johann put it with a wry smile the Mexican way of doing things got to him and he went back to Germany eventually, to the land of on time orderliness. Johann split his time in two cultures in the same way I grew up with an apparently well ordered British father and an expressive Italian mother. And I suppose in the same way I couldn’t find comfort in one or the other neither could he so we ended up in the land of immigrants, each contributing in our way to mixing up our cultural histories.
Physical therapy continues apace. I struggle to deal with ten percent weight bearing on my left leg which is attached to the most broken side of my pelvis. My broken right leg remains paradoxically the leg I have to put all my weight on. It’s hard heaving myself upright into the walker, holding my left leg light and flopping on hands and right leg. The more tired I get the less successful I am! But you have to persevere and I’m getting better.
So much so I sat on a toilet in a test run yesterday, for the first time in six weeks I was on the throne. Felt awesome. And I kept practicing pivoting. Standing on my right leg, taking weight on my hands and swiveling to face a new direction. Give me time and I will have it down. Just give me time and practice. And give me Johann’s calm reassurance.