Monday, May 18, 2015

Diary #4: Traction

For reasons that aren't that clear to me, I've been thinking about the concept of being in traction. I find the notion that one's bones and muscles can be controlled and manipulated by a constant pull and lift and pinch really strange and fascinating and I'm a bit obsessed with the sheer volume of trial and error that led to its discovery. I found this definition.
The purpose of traction is to:
  • regain normal length and alignment of involved bone
  • lessen or eliminate muscle spasms
  • relieve pressure on nerves, especially spinal and
  • prevent or reduce skeletal deformities or muscle contractures

I've been reading about it and ending up in really weird internet places and now here I am with a litany of excuses at the ready. Excuses for why my blog has remained in traction, arms and legs elevated, surrounded by beverages with long straws and unable to move its neck much from one side to other in the perpetual glow of a muted television. If only my blog were a real live person; what a good listener he'd be, what a gem of a friend, the prostrate body of which could withstand the weight of my utter nonsense while he was forced to lie in the same position, hepped up on happy pain killers. I could feel okay about giving him some time off; it would be medically prescribed in order for the entries to regain normal length and alignment. Instead I just feel busy. I don't feel like I'm healing. My schedule once again threatens to swallow up my creativity.

I am being hyperbolic, as usual. It has been a scant few weeks since my last entry and yet it feels as though so much has happened. I suppose it has. I was in a car accident. I'm fine. My Fiat was hit by a Mack truck and is less fine. A middle aged man with a medieval bob haircut who was genuinely nice, said he didn't see me as he changed lanes and I believe him. Did I mention he was nice? It was the very least he could be since it was 100% his big ass truck maneuvering fault. Still, being nice on a highway shoulder during rush hour while you wait for the police is the kind of thing you remember. Also, the haircut.

Dramatic recreation of the truck driver's haircut.
As of today, 18 days later, I still don't have my car back but have been told it will be any day now. Like most car accidents, it happened within a minute or two but in that brief amount of time, I contemplated my life and what I was certain would be my death. Is it ok to say that I was ok with all of it? Not happy, not sad, just ok. 

But back to being in traction. If we've learned anything from traction (and really, we should have by now) it is that sometimes the best thing to do to heal is to just be forced to lie still and how I might like that right now. And let's not forget comedic effect. More than once since my accident I've had visions of that old standby comedy bit when someone is in a freak accident and they look like this  

their head swaddled in bandages and the protagonist of the story comes to the hospital and confesses her true feelings to the person only to realize it is not the right person. The real person is in the next bed and he heard everything. She is embarrassed for herself and for the unfamiliar body beneath the layer of bandages but she's relieved her intended audience heard it all anyway. She mumbles a quick "Get well soon!" or something pithy and collapses into the arms of her unharmed love. They leave the hospital together in the same car and they drive home on a highway where everyone signals and no one speeds or has blind spots. THE END.

I didn't realize it until just now, but I guess I've been in kind of a holding pattern since the collision, driving an unfamiliar car, through a still unfamiliar schedule, talking to unfamiliar people and feeling a bit like I could use some traction. Or maybe that's just what feeling vulnerable or fragile is really. Instead of the light, scabbed over scratch on the surface my brain like my usual vague existential dread, this seems more like a pronounced crack right down the middle of my skeleton. I'm not bragging but over my life span, I've noticed a thousand tiny cracks and empty spaces and I've learned to superglue these with a variety of different distractions like a goddamned champ. It's just some mornings I'm driving along in a car that's too big for me, on a road that's too small for me and someone decides something arbitrary like changing a lane and doesn't tell anyone, just does it and my brain turns to lead along with my foot on the brake. And the crack gets longer gradually, creeping right to the foundation. 

I don't know. I'm a little bit strange. Someone a bit more normal or a bit less strange or a lot more this or lot less that would just get a massage, have a cocktail and carry on carrying on instead of, say, reading about a medical treatment she maybe could have needed but didn't. 

A bit more normal...what's that like?

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