Progress Report 5

Brian J. Sullivan

It's 4:15 in the morning and I am awakened by the annoying chirping of a song bird right outside my opened window—the same bird who each morning calls me from my much needed sleep. Each day it's the same routine. He continues to chirp until I not only wake up but also physically get out of bed. I've even tried to outsmart him by feigning like I was getting up, and then when he flew away I went back to bed, only for him to come back and start up again.

Anyway, today's a big day and I need to get up and try to look presentable. I have a doctor's appointment to get my second cast off and a new one put on. Not something I'm exactly looking forward to, except maybe to remove the two earwigs which crawled down inside my cast and took up residency. I can only imagine what else the doctor will find once he cuts the cast off (I know several coins from the checkout counter made their way inside but never came out).

The removal of the cast requires me to be strapped to a cold hard stainless steel table in a compromising position (use your imagination). Once the cast is cut off, two large Mafioso type henchmen with no necks assist nurse Ratchet as they torque my noncompliant leg into a new position, and the fiberglass material is quickly applied. Once the rag is removed from my mouth and the beads of sweat are wiped from my forehead, I'm all right. I know the bone crushers are only doing their job.

For the record, this is the beginning of my second month of recovery from my near fatal accident and my third knee-to-toe cast. It is said that a serious injury will cause one to reflect on what's important in one's life. So it is with that perspective in mind that I've decided to explore the feminine side of my personality (or maybe I was hoping for some bonding or compassion during my next visit with nurse Ratchet). So I went and had my first pedicure (see enclosed pictures)! I chose fire engine red nail polish to contrast with the macho camouflage army green cast. And I must say they did an excellent job.

I have also pierced my nipples, which I did all by myself with the help of my welding torch to sterilize the awl. I have one gold and one silver nipple ring. They're small and discreet. People often ask if it hurt, to which I answer, "When I came to in the emergency room, I was feeling no pain." Once the swelling and tenderness from my piercing subsides, I have an appointment for a tattoo. It will be just below my belt line on my lower back. It will probably be one of my drawings from my sketch book. You'll be happy to know that I drew the line at getting a fuchsia colored Mohawk with an eyebrow piercing and a tongue stud! Other than that, everything is pretty normal.

My art is changing too! I never would have imagined that it would come to this. My once large scale oil paintings are being replaced by faces of reindeer painted on wooden clothes pins. I know it's a radical change, but I think I might be on to something here. I have created a whole battalion of them. Lined up like soldiers, I expect them to perform the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" at any moment. I mean, the personal satisfaction that I get out of them far out weights the monetary benefit I will ever receive. Such is the fate of an artist.

If I'm lucky, I get out of the house once every two weeks. Public aid sends a taxi over to pick me up and take me to Walmart. I, however, really don't need anything, so I use my time to drive around the store in the battery operated shopping carts. I play crash carts with all the old ladies (yes I am chauvinistic). I usually stay about two hours or until my cart runs out of battery power (hopefully near the front door).

Recovery is hard, especially the transition from the wheelchair to the crutches. I'm still having a hard time figuring out the left crutch from the right one. Why don't they mark one of them with a colored dot like they do contact lenses and save everyone (or at least me) the frustration?

But alas, I should not complain too much. I've cut down on my laundry by one sock a day. Now if I could only find a ride to my dance lessons, I'd be satisfied.

Can you say in your best nasal tone:" If It's Not One Thing, It's Another?"

Thank You