So, shit, y’all.
I’m in Charlotte this week but for a crappy fucked up reason. My dad had a routine nerve block procedure on his back last Friday. It’s a spinal injection of steroids that is supposed to make his back feel instantly better (and he’s had them before) but something went terribly wrong and now he’s recovering from acute paraparesis. This is a slightly less severe way of saying he was paralyzed from the waist down for a few hours. Then he started to regain feeling in his left leg, and then following way behind, the right leg. But he’s really messed up. He’s been in the hospital since last Saturday and he was transferred to the rehab facility yesterday. I was with him for physical therapy today and it went great if you consider walking from one end of a room to the other and back, with a walker, really really slowly and with the help of a brace, when he was supposed to be spending the whole week playing with his 3 year old granddaughters, great. The progress since last Friday has gone steadily upward, but in tiny incremental steps. Saturday night, he could move his foot from side-t0-side if he concentrated so hard he almost blew his glasses off his face. Sunday he took 3 steps with the walker and was able to cross his legs at the ankle. Tuesday he walked down the hall and lifted his leg way off the bed. Etc etc. All signs are good that he’ll be back to normal (or at least in the 90-something % range of normal) in a few weeks, and I have no reason to doubt that or believe otherwise.
But the fact of the matter is, I’m fucking furious, and I don’t know where to put that anger. Where do you put the anger? Somebody messed something up and now my father can’t walk? Who the fuck do I need to talk to to undo this thing?
My father is known for his strength. That is the understatement of the year. He is a big man with strength that far surpasses appearances. When I was a kid, he could hold me down flat with one single finger placed on my sternum causing me to flail around like a crab on a stick and laugh til I wet my pants but not move one inch. He could pick up my brother, my cousin and me and stomp a few hysterical laps around the room before dumping us in a boneless heap on the couch. He is Atlas. He is Hercules. He is invincible. I am twelve and I am hugging his ankles looking up to see his face with rays of sunlight spiking out from behind his backlit head.
And the other day a rehab person asked him, as an afterthought as she was about to leave the room, “Now, were you walking with a cane before?”
FUCK YOU! I wanted to say.
(Eloquent, I know. Lucky for us all, I held my tongue.)
Anyway, that’s all I have the energy for right now. Sorry to blast you and then run away, but I just needed to get that down. And let you know where I was. As if you’d been looking for me.
Tomorrow will be a better day and I’ll try to write some then.
Thank goodness for those changing elevator rugs — I don’t know what I would have done without them.