Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 6 - I Think

Seriously? I can only take one kvetch post from myself per week, and I barely wanna burden all of you still reading with ankle and elbow complaints. Here's to say that yes, Das Boot is still on my right foot, but if all is going well, it is slated to be replaced by a lace-up ankle brace next week, and the day that that happens, I may take Das Boot into my backyard with a load of lighter fluid and some matches and burn the damned thing into submission. I'm convinced that most of my current ankle achiness results from its rubbing against the side of Das Boot, making simple things like browsing through the new Marshall's by my mom's house the day before Black Friday into events akin to a high-altitude stroll through Bhutan. My first full physical therapy session is today, and, judging from the experiences of a friend of mine who spiral-fractured his leg a few years back, I might wanna torch that facility after my own experiences getting flexibility back into my injured limbs. Yes, fire is a big theme here. I am born under a fire sign after all and have some pyro tendencies - plus, if you haven't noticed, it's gotten cold out.

All of this convalescing has had me thinking a great deal about some stuff that concerns those who can't heal or who take a longer time to do so. Our healing powers are all different, more than each of us will probably ever understand. This world ain't too kind to those of us who have chronic problems, though, and we do have a tendency to hold up those who behave like they have all their limbs and perfect health as being heroically normative - so let's check out the perspective from the other side for a change.
When a cripple climbs a mountain or runs in a marathon it isn’t a victimless crime. It makes life harder for the rest of us cripples. Because when they go around being so brazenly indomitable, everybody expects the rest of us cripples to be indomitable too. And that’s fucking exhausting. If you think being indomitable all day is so easy, you try it. You’ll be worn out by noon. These racing/climbing cripples are a threat to my precious, inalienable right to be domitable. There’s nothing I enjoy more than kicking back with a six pack and being domitable. 
And these indomitable cripples also threaten my right to be a fuck up. They go out there and bust their asses training because they think they have to prove their excellence because if they don’t excel beyond excelling they’ll ruin it for the rest of the cripples. But they’d serve us better in the long run if they fucked up and did it with pride. It’s just like Jackie Robinson. There was no way he could fuck up playing baseball because if he did there was no way anybody who wasn’t white would be allowed to play major league baseball ever again. But if they banned white people from playing just because the first one to come along wasn’t a superstar, there would never have been any major league baseball in the first place. White ballplayers are allowed to fuck up all the time. Just watch the Cubs and you’ll see. Had Jackie fucked up, history may well have eventually regarded him as even more of a pioneer, a proud symbol of the right of all people of all races and creeds to attempt to do something they might fuck up. Now that’s equal rights.
John Hockenberry has written many times about the inaccessibility of the New York City subways, including one particular time that resonated with me as a new mother trying to make my own way through the stations with an infant and all his paraphernalia - he looked around at a subway stop once and found that it wasn't just his wheelchair-bound self that was having trouble, it was mothers and nannies whose charges were more mobile in strollers except when it came to access to trains. If the stroller-pushing masses who rely on public transportation in this town ever unite with the handicapped, watch out, RTA...but then New Orleans hasn't had much in the way of a major transit system in decades. It also doesn't have much in the way of smooth sidewalks and roads, which can be tough to navigate for even the healthy. For someone encumbered by a certain apparatus on her foot, it can be downright infuriating to try to traverse someone's unwieldy brick walk made into a petrified earthen wave by New Orleans' pudding-like ground and whatever trees' roots may be pushing the bricks around. Much as I love this town, I probably would think twice about staying if I had a serious physical problem and couldn't get around too easily. It would take a lot of help to keep me going, at any rate.

I won't lie - thinking about all of this, being forced to confront it, is a scary business. Having to deal with this thing on my foot for so long - I've almost forgotten what it's like to be able to not even think about walking. This is a certain kind of failure that cannot be denied. My body gave up the ghost in two places that have turned out to be pretty vital to my movement. And I know now that even though the doc will give me an all-clear on the bones eventually, it will take more time for me to get out of my current mindset. In my worst moments, I feel like a useless appendage to the human race. Thank goodness for loving family and friends. Their contributions at this crazy time cannot be underestimated.

So I will pick myself up as best I can and maneuver my way through my encumbered physicality as best I can. Yeah, my brain hurts a little, too. More Aleve. More good humor atop it. More struggle. Shit ultimately happens. Life goes on with or without me. Guess the only thing really propping me up is that I don't want it to get too far without me hanging on to it.

1 comment:

Chuck Rummel said...

Here's a thought - replace references to 'cripple', 'domitable', etc., including 'healing' with references to non-physical topics such as education, economic status / general welfare. Might shed some new light.