Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Shy of Day 42

Chico has had a rough couple of days and has been on bed rest.  Luckily he has been sleeping a lot but when he isn't asleep he has a lot of pain.  And it must be lonely.  He doesn't complain. 

The great news is that we are planning for a release date of  October 9.  I'm headed down tomorrow to learn how we handle this transition.  These bits of news were obviously the fuel Chico needed today...In addition to outstanding care at Albany Med.  I'll miss that place, those people and those city streets.  Chico will miss the people, I don't know what else.  It may become our vacation destination.  We'll be visiting doctors frequently, and hey, we may not be ready for a longer trip for quite some time. 

It has been, on the whole, a grounding experience to spend this week at work.  The Monkton School Community has been incredibly generous with and supportive of me.  I love that the staff always welcomes me and expects me to be competent in my work as they are in theirs.  The work with staff and community is both exciting and challenging.  The work with kids feels like home.

We have a lot to be thankful for.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Night

Chico has a lot of mobility in his leg compared to one week ago. I used to be afraid to touch it. While it remains fragile and tender, putting the brace on has become easier. With it on he will swing the leg off the bed using his hands to lift the leg. Once today he lifted it off the pillows on his bed and high into the air! Quite an accomplishment. There is a photo but I am unable to post it at the moment.

Chico hopped 50 feet in therapy today. A record. He remains an inspiration.
Note from E8
Piss bag
unaccustomed to opiates
and the prostate, enlarged

Dull parts slumbering
beyond the hypersensitive
nerve endings

Where poems break off
the tree of life
like bone fragments off the spine
                                      - Chico

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I forgot to mention that Chico had this idea, once he heard that he would be using a wheelchair, that he'd roll out of his room on the Orthopedic floor (C 5) and sneak up on the staff, surprising them with his mobility.  He didn't ever get the chance to do that there because he was whisked away in his very own bed.  The wheelchair was introduced the following day. 

This morning, after he'd been assisted in his pivot to the chair for a PT session he said to me, for the benefit of the attendant,
"This is so great.  Now we can make our big break!  Before they know it, we'll be in Tennessee!"  The young woman, Ariel, was steadfast, smiling cheerfully.  After a few beats she said,
"Good luck living without your pain meds."  Chico cracked up and admitted he hadn't thought of that.   He has fun with people here.  He makes an effort to. 

We went outside today.  Day 36 and we're sitting outside.  It was pretty great and quite a distance to get there. 

Chico was eager as he rolled before the modern Albany Medical College, the original building beside it dates 1837.

I couldn't believe his independence and fervor.  That 50's style building is also part of the college.

It was fun, our outing in the heat of Albany Beach.

Here's a clarification:  Chico doesn't walk.  Relative to what I've seen in the last five weeks, standing up on one leg and moving across the floor with a walker and a spotter is walking.  I'm told this is actually called hopping. 

No weight bearing for 3-4 months.  No driving.  I think that leaves a lot of options.

We're going to need a ramp.  I wonder what else.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 34

Chiico is in Albany.  I am in Bristol.  This is challenging.  This is how it is best right now. 

School is going well.   I have an incredible group of colleagues with whom I work.  Incredible.  The work is plentiful and rewarding.  I see students and adults doing great work each day in many arenas.  

Rehab is also going well.  It must be such hard work.  Let's remember that two days ago Chico had transfered himself to a chair and back (gotten out of bed) exactly two times.  Now he spends three hours per day out of his room and in therapy.  It must be excruciating and exhausting.  He now dresses and bathes himself.  His pic line was removed today.  He is pushing himself.  He is concerned that he can't walk the length of a room.  The fact that he can walk at all astonishes me.  He has goals about when he wants to come home, and about what he will be able to do when he gets here.

I will rejoin him tomorrow night.  I can't wait.  He hopes to go outside this weekend.  I can hardly imagine it.

I shall embed a photo he asked me to "keep in my pocket" until I was home and needed to post something interesting.  It is gorey, so if you don't want to see it, exit now.  

Also, upcoming blog schedule:  since we are now apart (barring emergencies of any kind) during the week, and together only on weekends, I commit to an abbreviated blog schedule.  I plan to post on weekends and then once or twice during the week.  I can't stress enough how helpful it is to us to have you keep up with us via this medium.  Also, let me know if you want to visit Chico now.  The visiting hours have become strict but he could probably use some visitors these days during the week.

If you'd like to send him a card:
Garland Martin
E816 (Rehab Unit)
Albany Medical Center
43 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208

He hopes to be home mid October.  I can't wait! 

Here is Chico's foot on Day 32.  Note the pins coming right on out of toes 4 and 5.  Painful.  He needs an orange flag on them.
On the phone Chico told me that he walked thirty feet today.  Startling.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Get This!

Chico has been in a great mood all day. At 11:00 he transferred himself into the chair with the help of only one physical therapist!

At about 12:30 the surprise attack began.

"Hello, I'm Dr. Geisler from the rehab unit. I'm here to evaluate you before you move up today."

"I'm moving upstairs today?"

So we're packed and ready, resting up for the next exciting ordeal/event.  Nurses, PCAs and other staff members stop by smiling, having heard the news. 

People continue to remark on the amazing attitude Chico wears daily. It isn't possible to overestimate its healing benefits and the tremendous support he receives from the entire staff!  We just reviewed a list of over 30 staff members who have worked with him on this floor (not including doctors and administrators). Chico can remember moments when each of these many people said or did just the right thing to help and encourage him when he most needed their support. 

We are grateful.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Today Chico got out of bed for the first time in thirty-one days.   He has been exercising from his prone position more in the last two days than I have ever seen.  He says that before the removal of the ex fix and the hardware installation he was "hopping around."  That is his phrase for the way he was in bed.  Today, he seemed to be hopping around a fair amount before the crew came to put on the brace and help him up.    He must have been  tired when the moment finally arrived.  Chico was determined.  I thought there was adrenaline flowing but Chico says he was more faint headed than anything else.

Finally, around 3:27, after what must have been a chaotic day elsewhere, Al, Al, Brenna and Julie showed up to help Chico stand and move himself to the chair.  He was clear with them about the significance of this event, and clear with me about the need for documentation.  He was excited and scared, rightly so.

The move was difficult and excruciating.

Although he had imagined this moment many times, even dreamt of it, he hadn't imagined there would be four people needed to help him move a very short distance and assume a pretty similar posture to the one he has in bed.  He finds this amusing.  The move seemed to take everything he had.  Blood drained from his head and while his leg was held out in front of him by others, the blood found its way to his pinned toes and everywhere in between.  There was pain and emotion to spare.

Once in the convalescent Barko, our friend Adam, a nurse, appeared with a box from Amazon. 

Leonard Cohen's new DVD and CD arrived, as promised.  Everyone encouraged Chico to open that box and enjoy his prize.  Once they had left, Chico faintily asked me to open it and we played the DVD.  How lucky we are to have laptops here.  Playing a DVD of an old favorite at that very moment sent by a dear friend was moving. 
I wanted to post, call, email everyone right then but there really wasn't a moment to do so.  Even though it was quiet.  The air was full.  It was as if I were a catcher at that moment.  A catcher of the metaphysical. 

Chico was still. He needed...Rest...Space...

The move back took many as people and much effort.  Chico has remained positive, modestly proud and realistic. 

A few more things: this night nurse is very special.  Last time he was on he was able to draw blood without waking Chico up! 

Chico's fourth and fifth toes have pins sticking out of them-straight up out of their tops. I'm not sure how I missed that for the past four days.  Aversion I guess. 

Thanks for checking in.  Your engagement is integral to our hope and well being.

The Brace has Arrived

It feels a little bit like a childhood Christmas morning here in the room.  The brace arrived.  Chico was very excited and eager, "I know it's going to hurt, but I'm ready."  Now an hour has passed.  It still isn't time.  The waiting becomes difficult.  Every next step is contingent upon this very next step. 

Before the brace can be put on, PT has to come so they can evaluate him, there has to be medication given and so on.  The Barko Lounger has to be draped and moved. 

Chico was just visited by our friend Jacob, a bright, shining star.  He greets us with, "How are my good, good friends today?"  Yesterday he sang hymns to Chico.  I've only heard his speaking voice.  It is lovely, rich, deep and well accented.  Earlier Theresa visited us.  She always does us special favors and tells us stories of her family.

I think about how we will miss our favorite people here when we move upstairs.  There will be more favorites to meet, I expect. And Jacob will visit. 

Day 31

This day has dawned with more pain than is welcome or expected.  It's morning; we should not be surprised. 

I drove to Albany in the sunshine yesterday.  It was lovely.  Chico had called a few times thinking of details that needed to be taken care of.  From Fort Ann I called Chester.  He first said enthusiastically, "It has been a great weekend!"  He went on to remember some of the struggles of Saturday.  Chico and Chester did have a great time together: Scrabble, football and long talks. 

There are small signs of great progress everywhere.  Chico is brimming with good humor. He pulls his upper torso up while at the same time raising his right leg for point and flexes.  He is using pain medication much less.  He drinks from a cup without a straw. He's made a few phone calls.  Now he sleeps, exhausted from the early morning rush.  After only a moment he begins to read the paper. 

Chico has been able to move his left leg a little for the first time today.  He uses his inner thigh; it is a muscle unpierced by bone or surgery. 

Worries wait at the door.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


'Twas a bumpy road kind of morning.  I left Chester sleeping and headed over to Chico.  He looked great in his sleep!  It felt sunny and breezy in the room. He was relieved to see me in the barko when he awoke.  Coming from such a restorative dream, he was unsettled by the sheets of pain that greeted him in his conscious life.  He is not allowed to move, still, until his 30 inch knee stablizer arrrives.  We wish it would hurry up.

The morning went on like that: off kilter.  My sister and niece dropped in, strong and kind.  Chester was in and out: steady, loving, brave.  Eventually, after noon, I left.  Conscious of our growing co dependence and our more typical independence, we agreed that I'd stick with the plan which was to take advantage of Chester's presence to come home, check in with the cat, the house, the neighbors so dear and good to us, do some chores and head back down to help get Chico settled in rehab.  Hopefully this will happen Monday.  More, likely it will happen Tuesday.  When I can be back at work full time we will both know we have made some serious progress.  We are eager for that.

Pamela celebrates her 60th birthday tonight.  Rooms full of beautiful, loving people.  Meanwhile, I hope life is peaceful and intimate in room 505. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Early Evening

A busy day: consultations with many, a bath and shave long overdue, dressing changes, rehab discussions, long term plans and prognoses, bicep curls, tricep dips, sitting up in bed, blood transfusions.  Soon we will go to x-ray again.

Evening sun comes straight across from the west, undercutting cloud cover, horizontal at Floor 5. In Alaska, it could stay awhile.  And we could wave to the Russians,  who would be back-lit.

Four Weeks in Bed

A new light is dawning in the room.  Chico can't tell yet but I can.  He is still in a lot of pain, nothing compared to yesterday though. 

Chico is pale but he is steely.  He's trying not to take pain meds (crazy), he is getting exercise advice, looking forward to seeing the doctors for a dressing change sometime, and looking forward to sitting in a chair.  For him, the exhausting morning exercise was lifting his right knee (the uninjured one), straightening it and putting it down.  He did some circles and 'point and flexes' with his right foot too.  This tuckered him out.  He feels a little overwhelmed by the notion that a small amount of movement takes all of his energy.  It's true, that is upsetting but the improvement from yesterday to is sharp. If this continues, he'll be back to chin ups in no time.  He is receiving a blood transfusion at the moment.

Fun things:  we have a playful nurse today.  She is very efficient.  She was our nurse yesterday too, and she was playful.  We may have been inpervious to it that time.  Chico has friends on staff that come by occasionally.  There is a lot of yelling in the halls becaues the floor is short staffed. 

You may know that when one is in the hospital with a lot of pain, staff continually ask what one's pain level is.  There is a 0-10 scale.  Chico's is high right how.  When asked he says it is,  "because my foot feels like it is bent into a rock crevice." 

I wonder if a pain poem will emerge. 

Things are good.  It is important to bear witness to this.  Thank you for doing that with us.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 27

Today has not been a Writing Day. It has been a tense and pain filled day. And you know, people kind of have to 'go it alone' with pain, once measures to alieviate it are being fully exercised. This first day is reputedly the most painful.

Chico dozes on and off. Right now he naps as he receives his second unit of blood. Next he will go to x-ray. The dread of pain seems always to be accompanied by the loathe of the thought of being a complainer. What a burden!

It was great for both of us to have Gordon here. Such gentle kindness.

This evening the doctors came in again-the third time today. They were encouraging and appreciative of the difficult work of healing. The main surgeon also mentioned that he too is still recovering from the procedures: his hands are sore. Chico expressed his gratitude well.

We remain deeply grateful and humbled. Thanks for keeping up with us; I apologize for the late post.

Chico is Resting Peacefully

He's had a busy morning with people in and out.  He is relieved and happy. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chico is in Recovery

The surgery lasted 5 hours and about 10 minutes.  The resident that Chico has been seeing every day at 5 AM (our hero) came out beaming but was reserved in his appraisal. As was the surgeon in charge who said, "The surgery went as well as could be expected."  The were able to stick to small incisions, they rodded the femur, plated the tibia, pinned two toes and put a screw in a third.  This amounts to four pretty major surgeries at once, I was told.  I feel confident that they did their best.  I feel confident that their best is a model of expertise.

Infection will be a worry for a long time.  Months.

Hopefully in a few days Chico can recommence chin-ups.
My brother, Gordon, arrives tonight for a support sleepover, and Chester will arrive on Friday. 

We are moving forward.

In Surgery

Briefly, I just left Chico being wheeled to the operating room after very compassionate and thorough preparations in pre op.  We were there for about an hour and a half.  Chico was at ease and smiling as he left for the grand adventure of the long awaited surgery. 

The primary surgeon admitted that he is not exactly sure how he will address the fractured femer.  He wants to fix it without greatly risking infection.  What can we be but grateful?

I'll keep you posted.  The surgery will be 3-5 hours, recovery before I can see him will also be long.  I'll post again tonight. 

Living in the Moment

Chico sleeps. It's a good way to pass time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Snag City

Ok, so we can't find Chico on the OR schedule for tomorrow.  He's been still all day, minutes ticking by like hours, the pic doesn't seem to be working.  And this morning's blood clotted before it got to the lab.  Drat.

Nurse Michael,  "I'm going to raise you up so that I can get better access."
Chico, "Like raise me from the dead?"
Nurse Michael, "Yeah, towards the light."

Albany Med

I drove down after a great day at school yesterday.  So much good work is going on there.  I like being a part of it.

It was obviously the beginning of a new era in Chico's room.  Or maybe I'd missed the beginning.  Chico seemed mobile.  In spite of being confined to his bed and having a very sore left arm, he was eager to show off the chin ups  he can do on his red triangle.  He was optimistic about the surgery, looking beyond it.  His mood was solidly positive.  We talked about the future, the current challenges...Focus was the most dominant challenge last night.  He delighted in his mail (of all sorts).

Morning is more of a worry time.  This morning one of the two pins at the top of the ex fix was unscrewed and removed.  There are many more pins (5) still in his leg. Now Chico has to lie as still as possible and be careful.  This concerns him.  It is the dominant challenge of the day. What was once easy-lying still-is now a dastardly trial.    The pick line is still in and a lot of blood was just removed. 

Chico looked at his x-rays sometime last night after I left and before I returned from the hotel.  I sure don't have any interest in seeing them yet. Too frightenng.  Maybe after the surgeries.  Maybe after a decade or so.  We'll see.

We eagerly await tomorrow's attention.  Thanks for your help.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 23

As it turns out, shock and resilience can wear thin and then come back, resilience anyway, hope, belief, strength and other desireable disopositions...those can come back full throttle.  Another thing to be grateful for and to be aware of.

We just spent three days apart and one together.  The days apart were brutal.  I don't want to overlook the fact that I loved being at work, being able to exercise; it was good to take care of some things at home.  I was well attended by an abundance of friends and neighbors wrapping me in their care and concern, wanting to know, sharing their stories.  It was very helpful.  Chico did some healing alone, was attended for two of those days by our dear friend, Michael O' better.  Underlying the existence, though, was profound anxiety and dissatisfaction.  I guess we might want to get used to this state for now.  We also know that Chico's recovery will not last forever.  It is odd how the shock (I wonder if it was physiological for two or more weeks) provided a lot of stamina and pragmatism. 

Today I rejoined Chico.  I drove down to Albany and sat in a chair, a vinyl chair, all day.  It was sublime, if you can imagine.  Deeply reassuring for both of us.  I am home now but I'll return tomorrow night and stay through Thursday at least.  The surgery Wednesday will, by all accounts, be a doozy.

After three day's absence, healing is evident.  Though Chico is "Unrecognizeable to  myself [himself]" he looks like himself to me.  A supremely expressive face.  The silver stubble is a little too reminiscent of my father but I'm just letting that wash over me.  My father and I had a great relationship; he spent the last year and a half living alone, well, except for his Alzheimers and his dog...Stubble city.  Teeth falling out like corn kernals too.  So the similarity really begins and ends with the stubble. 

Chico is strong.  He pulls himself up on a new ring (red triangle, actually) hanging above his bed to be washed and have sheets changed.  It is obviously very painful but I don't think excruciating.  His leg is less swollen.  The stapled wound looks all healed.  His belly is tender...Well most places are.  He is thinking, thinking, thinking.  Memories are coming back.  "I remember seeing my bone come out of my leg.  Did my bone come out of my leg? It came right through my pants.  Where are my pants?"  I'm short on short term memory, can you tell?  It is sorry task and a wonderful task to be able to comfort a person for whom the world has done a back flip and taken him, unspotted, with it.  Injuries.  Scars. 

You know, when I was asked to identify Chico over the phone the first night-he in Albany, me in Vermont-the person with him kept asking me what distinguishing features he has..."Scars? He must have scars. What scars does he have?"  He didn't have scars.  She was giggling.  LADY, HE DOESN'T HAVE SCARS OKAY?!  I didn't say it.

Chico is strong.  People inside the hospital come to visit him because he has maintained so much of himself.  His fantastic roommate, Kevin, and his wife Shouwen, moved to rehab tonight.  They had all become good friends in my absence.  They admire Chico.  They told him so.  They presented him with two books: Sol Le Witt and a book of Japanese poems.  They understood Chico. I felt pride and wonder.  Why do we so often wait to see people in their most vulnerable states before we can tell them what good we see in them?  Chico is still very vulnerable.

Today I read cards, emails and posts to Chico.  It really brought him relief, and a bit of release from his locked down
Which brings me to all of you:  your words of hope and admiration, the rawness of some of these messages you send continue to touch us to the core.  This event and its aftermath are penetrating change agents. Thanks for being part of this with us.  We'd be lost otherwise.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I've posted a poem Chico wrote recently.

The leg is not what you thought it was.

No longer are you walking

to and fro the reconstructed

memories your mind wanders.

Well-lit corridors are a way

outside time, and their stations

hum with voices from around the world.

On your back, unmoving, day after day,

you begin to take apart

what remains of your person.

Someone else can have the sunglasses

and the wallet. The watch

needs a timer and a reset key.

On one side of the leg, doctors have pulled

skin together with stitches;

the other side’s fish-like design

is a graft taking hold.

An external fixator extends

from foot to hip and keeps in place

countless fractures.

The tree is a painful fact.

The body has been broken

by its puzzle: pieces of bone

that float in the sky.

You recall the brilliance of this sky

and that it did not let you fall asleep.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 20

I have a lot to say but no Internet access. Let it suffice when I tell you that I had a blast back at my job, in part because Chico insisted I go and put on a brave but not ingenuous phone face. I hope I'm accurate in my assessment. More tomorrow. I'm awaiting tech support's call.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What a crazy morning! 

By lunch time we'd found out that surgery is now scheduled for next Monday or Wednesday, Chico had seen both an OT and a PT, and we'd talked about adapting our home for him  in preparation for whenever he is well enough to be there.  A new light shines in this room.

Now we are organizing for my departure.  I'll be able to work for a few days and get something done at home before coming back down for the surgery and the day after. 

Though the extended bedrest is unwelcome, we are very happy that the two teams of surgeons are working together for the most positive outcome possible.  We are comfortable with the plan even with its characteristic uncertainty. 

The insurance appraiser just called from the car.  He pronounced it a total loss. 
He wondered first if Chico was ok and second if he needed a rental car.

I just overheard Chico saying to the OT, "Yes, in fact my pain is being so well managed that I'm having to supplement it now [with the foot drop boot]."  I like the sunny side up on Chico.

Lots of stories to tell, people to convey, feelings to explore.  For now, it's more preparation and then a drive to Vermont.

Thanks for being here with us even as you sit, stand or lounge wherever you are.

Not so fast...

Could be there will be no surgery today. We are waiting to see the docs. If surgery is postponed, we'll likely go through this routine each night until the real day.

Chico is sleeping; we are ok.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Lucky thing we love them so much (see previous post) because it turns out we're scheduled for surgery tomorrow.  Did we miss something?

Actual time:
8:15.  Time stamp is wrong.

Day 18

Chico woke up this morning thinking he was in a beach cottage.  He wasn't of course.  He soon reoriented to his whereabouts. 

One of the fascinating aspects about being hospitalized day after day is the role surpirse plays.  It brings delight to otherwise predicatble tedium.  Today there were several surprises.  A trip to the x- ray room in the basement, the arrival of a back ordered foot brace, a change in the medication for pain management...Chico likes to think that he will come out of this experience with a higher tolerance for surprise.  In fact he intends to delight more in every day surprise.     

The Foot Drop Brace is attached to the External Fixator,
said Pooh to Christopher Robin (as they tried to get comfortable with the unfamiliar).

His next surgery is yet to be scheduled and the uncertainty remains challenging. 

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.

Labor Day 2

Wow! I the most delicious dinner of spinach and artichoke hummus. I have no idea where it came from but it was in our refrigerator in Bristol when I packed it up on Friday morning.  Thank you, anonymous donor.  Chico eats the hospital's food uncomplainingly.  Some of it is quite good.

Chico had a good day yesterday.  It began with rounds, of course.  The surgery was pushed back again-more time to heal.  The days bring unremitting pain, and Chico bears up.  It looks exhausting. 

Last night Chico was moved to a new room.  Who knew the room across the hall from the nurses' station is prime real estate?  It was needed by others so we moved two doors down.  It was a little unsettling at 7:30 PM but it did result in some writing-the first since the accident. I'll post the poem as soon as Chico is ready for that.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day 1

What a treat it was to sleep for eight hours, come in and find Chico sleeping soundly.  Cheerful employees bopping around at shift change.  Familiar faces.  Doc's here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


It's been a nice Sunday. Chico has slept a lot. To me this indicates a couple of things:
1. His pain is under control.
2. He is relaxed enough to sleep. This is a function of familiar nursing and care staffs. I think it is difficult when one is so vulnerable to rely on everyone else to be suitably careful even with evidence to indicate that they will be!
Phone calls are becoming possible and are sometimes even welcome!
Continued appreciation of support from here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Night

After another not very restful night, and what seemed like a long day to me, Chico describes his day as relaxing. It was pretty quiet here on the floor. Chico got great care as all of his bandages were changed. I took some close looks at the graft sights (and some photos too raw to share). What struck me most was how accurately this work was described to us a week ago by the plastic surgeons.  The wounds look just like they said they would.  Excellent.

As Chico was bathed I could see he has made a lot of progress.  He is able to move his upper body around much more than before and to participate more fully in the turning which is less painful than it used to be.  He moves his right leg around some too.  This evening he shifted himself a lot in bed. Interesting progress.

I had dinner with my two lovely sisters.  They met me near the hospital.  Nice evening.  Chico enjoyed Tiramisu upon my return.

Thanks for the comments.  Touching.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Back at Albany Med that is.  We just read all of your comments. It is humbling to be so cared for. Thank you.

Chico has had a complicated day. The great news is that the skin grafts are taking.  Apparently they look good and the wound vacs are gone.  That is huge step in the right direction. The donor site is enormous, brown and drying out.

I checked in with The Tree on my way down.  I'm not too sure what's going on with me and this tree.  But it is sort of interesting. Must have been about the same time of day exactly two weeks post crash. The leaves are browning, the scrapes seemed a little bigger. I walked around it in the tall, tamped down grass still strewn with fragments of the car: disks, ceramic parts, hoses, and rescue worker stuff.  Not a lot; it is cleaned up pretty much.  The grass was pillowy.  Being there is odd. It is silent and beautiful or very loud as steady, intent traffic of all sorts speeds by.  Not that fast-its a two lane highway- speed limit 50 or so.

I thought I'd take a video of that busy road for the blog. Thought it would be a zesty addition and a good learning experience.  Sadly, I misunderstood the camera and didn't get the stream I wanted. Meanwhile a man stopped, backed up and started asking me if I was ok. I was but The Tree! The Semi's!  Please!  Just a moment...I had a little trouble explaining what I was doing. I must have mumbled something about a head on.  He asked if it was my father that had hit that treee.  Immediately I mistake him for a third rescue worker as he tells me the guy lost his leg, didn't he?  Actually, husband, leg still connected, thanks.  (That silly reporter!- sixties, sheesh!)  Hastily this kind man added that he had indeed been on the scene after 'he was gone' sifting through the debris because he works for the DMV.  Huh.  I'm just sifting through looking for the wallet and a reason each time.  I mean I guess that's what I'm doing.  I think he told me, (his name was Gary, by the look of him),  Gary said that it's a crazy road and there are 55,000 cars driving through there PER WEEK!  Not too surprising to those of us living in Vermont and having a yen for the greater NYC area...Or Lake George, or the races.

At last (eight minutes) it was time to move on.  To avoid Queensbury I went back through Kingsbury (car wreckage) and stopped for gas at Stewarts.  There was a TV on with live footage of a huge wreck on 87 near Queensbury.  UGH.  Selfishly I looked away and got in my car eager to get to Chico.  I really didn't want to know.  The car was in that big grassy, treeless median.  Treeless.  I hope those people are fine.   It can happen.

Chico's leg is less swollen and still very injured looking.  Our fine friend stayed with him until I got there providing great support.  It will be interesting to hear what the doctors say about the x rays that were taken today.  Having a roomate is challenging. Chico was able to hear all the blog comments, listen to some great music on his computer, try to scan email and get sleepy.  Things that were once so simple are so taxing.

It's good to be back.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thursday Night


This day is a vast improvement over yesterday.  I think we were both exhausted by trying to keep each other's heads above water that last day before I left for Vermont.  Cripes, you'd think I'd have come out ahead, huh?  In spite of the thrill of the first day of school for me, I crashed as did Chico.  A reasonable night's sleep and the promise of great visitors and care for Chico helped us both greet this day from a stronger place. 

It was a day full of light, challenge and life at school.  I had so many interesting interactions with students.  It was 'a good one,' as my mother in law would have said.

Chico was able to talk briefly on the phone with me tonight and hopefully will rest well.  Each thing is such a huge effort for him.   Still he puts his best, brave self forward.  That is helpful to me.

I had the delight of two great visitors today.  One I was actually available for, and for the other I was MIA-deep in the witnessing of a math lesson...but for the grace of a favorable interview process, that could have been me reviewing how to construct and label rays.  Instead, I was able to observe a masterful teacher in that lesson.  Anyway, I loved having been visited, checked in on, comforted.  So heartwarming.  It was helpful to be advised that yes, Chico does need a companion and advocate with him right now.  Phew.  I guess that's my job.

Oh, another visitor at home!  As I was arriving on my porch, our mailman stopped by to check in with me/us.  Genuine compassion.  Heartfelt. 

My heart


his concern. 

Dinner with Pam, Reinhold, Edgar, Cedric.  Lucky me.

Less than 24 hours and I'll be back in Albany.  I wonder how Chico's presence will feel compared to ... I don't know, have I been away 72 hours? Too much to calculate at this moment. No!  Much less.  It seems like an eternity.

Thank you friends, family and concerned acquaintences, for your ongoing support.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Distance Posting

Chico has had a rough day.  I think the situation is more difficult to endure without the distractions of a quiet person in the room (me or Chester) sharing the experience. Not good to be alone. We were forewarned, and it is no joke that the pain from the grafts is quite excruciating, as is the pain from the 'donor site' on his other leg.  This is all in addition to the pain of broken bones.  I find it unfathomable.

I am comforted by a number of thoughts:
1.  We have a fine friend who is a nurse and she will stay with him from noon tomorrow until Friday afternoon.  My gratitude knows no bounds.  
2.  I think my two sisters are visiting him tomorrow morning.  Visits are really too much for him at the moment generally speakign but my sister, Molly, who lives nearby and is herself a nurse, knows how to do the short, quiet visit perfectly.  She has been a huge comfort. 
3.  We are not only thankful for Chico's survival and the health of his spine and brain, we are also thankful that he did not hit anyone when he lost control of his car. 

When I drove home last night I passed the tree again.  My nemesis.  Even in the dark I can't miss it.  I'm angry at the tree.  Such a puny tree, really.  Sounds like I'm of sound mind, huh? 

It has been a full first day of school.  I had the great opportunity of spending time with many students in many settings, and observing  teachers doing their great work.  I met parents, talked with PTO and School Board representatives-just to give you a glimpse.  My colleagues support me.  The community extends their compassion.  I am thankful to have this job. Very.