Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unexpected Presents

It has been quite a day.

Last night, we had the inaugural meal cooked in our new kitchen when my daughter invited six of her best friends up to Duluth for their annual spaghetti extravaganza. There followed much singing and dancing of said girls for several hours as I lay on the bare concrete floor of one of the upstairs rooms having given up the apartment to the feminine horde.

I slept just about as well as you might imagine until I was finally roused by the arrival of the work crew. I made my way down to the basement apartment where I surveyed the tableau of seven girls sharing three beds with enough gear and cast off clothing to cover every bit of floor leaving a small hole where Sophie the Wonder Dawg was curled in a tiny ball.

After taking her for her morning constitutional and feeding her breakfast, I attempted to read the paper while having my morning coffee whilst surrounded by a fog of estrogen. I had to periodically leave the scene to go upstairs and inhale the counterbalancing essence of testosterone exuded by the all male work crew. I even was forced out to do some shoveling of the four inches of fresh snow that had fallen overnight.

Eventually, the female posse rose en-mass to try to all fit into one very small bathroom before gathering their belongings and piling into a van for the return trip to the Twin Cities. That left me and my daughter to do some cleanup and dish washing before we ventured out ourselves for some last minute shopping (she for christmas, me for the house). Along the way, we got a phone call from the number one son who asked that we pick him up from school.

We did just that and then continued on up to "the mall" which in Duluth means a sprawling mess of various strip stores all separated by two lane access roads which were virtual parking lots this afternoon as everyone in the city decided to arrive at the same spot at the same time to attend to those last minute shopping needs.

After struggling through the traffic mess, we attended to our own needs before heading back to the comparative peace and safety of our home, when a coughing fit engulfed me. On the very first cough, I felt something snap inside of my rib cage and the ensuing pain caused me to cry out several blistering epithets interlaced with moans and futile attempts to rip out the weasel that seemed buried just beneath my lower left set of ribs. Both kids thought I was having a heart attack. I wish. At that moment I would have welcomed a little unconsciousness.

After ascertaining that I was not going to die in the immediate future, my son drove us the rest of the way home where I collapsed on the sofa and searched for a position where I did not feel like slitting my wrists. I was hoping to make it through the night so that I could see my new GP tomorrow morning for a scheduled appointment. That plan was shot the first time I coughed again. That led to a trip to urgent care.

I staggered out to the car where my son was already behind the wheel and we proceeded to back into the alley and then down the hill to the main street leading to the hospital. We made it about ten feet before the car took on a mind of its own and refused all of the drivers attempts to tame it into stopping as we slowly, but inexorably slid into the back of a pickup truck waiting at the stop sign at the bottom of the hill.

This was a nightmare for several reasons. The driver (my son) had never had an accident before. He is nearly at the end of his permit year and is looking forward to getting his license in mid-January. The car is my baby station wagon that bleeds my blood whenever hurt. And I was seeing insurance premiums ballooning beyond the already exorbitant rates that accompany any newly licensed male driver.

Fortunately, no one was hurt. The pickup sustained no obvious damage but the same could not be said of the Audi. Her front grill was pushed in and the bumper shell shattered on the driver's side. We pulled over where it became apparent that we were going to have to wait in line for the police to take down our report details as we were the second fender bender to have occurred there in as many minutes. In fact, as we were standing around waiting for the police cruiser to appear, several more cars came sliding down the hill out of control. At least two ended up in the side yard of the house I grew up in.

All this time of course, I was bent double in pain, swearing under my breath at the evil sense of humor of the gods, and the slow reaction time of Duluth's finest. We eventually completed our business but it meant a good forty-five minute delay in getting to urgent care. Once there, I went through the drill of giving my story to every single person in scrubs which unfailingly led to a series of misunderstandings. Somehow my explaination of breaking a rib by coughing came across as "difficulty breathing," "asthma," "shortness of breath," etc. The doctor ordered a nebulizer treatment that made me cough - an unusually cruel trick - and one that did nothing for my problem. A new chest and rib xray turned up clueless results which lead me to assume they were looking at someone elses insides as mine clearly had a large treble hooked musky lure buried in my guts which would have been obvious to anyone looking at the correct picture.

In the end (a long time coming), I was given some powerful pain meds with a followup prescription for same and sent home.

Hence I am sitting in a curiously pain free fog as I dash off this little memoir wishing that I were able to sleep sitting up for I know that as soon as I lie down, the broken ends of my nonexistant failed rib will begin to grate as I shift and turn seeking a comfortable position. Then the coughing will start and then I will get out the shotgun to end it all.

So, look forward to the next installment where our Charlie Brown christmas tree will topple over and catch on fire just as we are about to open presents.

Dog bless you everyone.



Blogger Cheesy said...

Oh sweetheart I'm so sorry you are having woes. That just SUCKS!
Kudos to your kiddo for taking charge of getting you in though. He gets a gold star. Can't really fault him for the accident. Snow and ice catch us ALL at some point in time. Please heal fast!

10:55 AM, December 24, 2008  
Blogger lime said...

oh gees.....seconding everything cheesy just said. that bites the big one. you do have a good kid. i hope the pain meds help you rest. i hope the docs get their heads out of their asses and help you heal.

very, very gentle hugs to you. hope christmas is better.

11:26 AM, December 24, 2008  
Blogger Kristie said...

When I was a little girl, and we still lived across the bridge in Superior, a trip up to the Miller Hill Mall at Christmas was always a treat. They had the best Christmas displays that moved and everything. I had never seen better; of course, I was little and hadn't seen much. :)

Driving there is so scary, and I'm always surprised people don't start down the hill and keep going right into the lake. That's why I laugh every time my mother suggests I move back.

I'm sorry about your rib, your cough, and your accident. What a crappy Christmas eve. Of course, now that you have all that out of the way, the rest of the holiday will be smooth sailing, right?

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

7:24 PM, December 24, 2008  

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