Thursday, July 9, 2015

How lawn care led to medical care

What thought do you suppose was running through my head as I felt myself falling to the ground last week, after getting my feet tangled in a piece of lawn furniture I was trying to move while mowing the lawn?

Obviously, your answer cannot be an expletive-filled, Lord's-name-in-vain laced observation on the unfairness of life. Well, it can be, and it is part of the answer, but I guess what I'm looking for from you now is what else was going through my head as my ribs prepared to meet the ground with a fair amount of force, directly contrary to medical orders which had demanded that I do not fall again?

Let me help you. The thought was one of the following: a) This is going to leave a mark; b) Boy. This is going to really hurt; c) Who's going to tell my physician's assistant that despite her looking me directly in the eye and saying, “Do not fall down ever... ever again,” because it certainly isn't going to be me?; or d) Fall out of bed, breaka bone.

The answer is d). But more about that in a moment.

First this: just about every piece of physical damage I have done to myself in recent years has happened when I was doing some random act of gardening. I don't really care for gardening, it's really Sheri's idea of a great way to spend time. But the fact that I was stung 15 times by bees and have now just done some serious damage to my already damaged ribs while mowing the lawn, certainly gives me reasons for what had been heretofore just a random lack of interest to become a very strong dislike.

True, being stung by the bees led to the discovery of my multiple myeloma, but, then, how's that working for me? Right?

But back to the “Fall out of bed, breaka bone” thought.

My younger daughter Alison, who is about to turn 44 years of age (maybe 43) and her sister Jennifer developed two of the most basic skills in opposite manners. Jennifer chose to focus on learning how to walk and took a while to make speech a goal. Alison was much more interested in talking than moving, figuring, in retrospect, I suppose, that she could voice her opinions to people as they passed by, as opposed to going to where people were and then having nothing to say.

We were actually worried that there may have been some developmental issue involved. It soon became apparent that she had simply been storing up smartass remarks so that she was ready to effectively interact with those around her.

She quickly learned that she could say things and people would react. If nothing else, they would stop ignoring her and pat her on the head. One of the first times she noticed this, I think, was when she fell out of bed one day and broke her collarbone. One and all were told, “Fall out of bed, breaka bone.”

Well, we all felt bad about that, and initially she kept it to herself except when people asked why she was wearing her little figure eight brace to mend the collarbone: “Fall out of bed, breaka bone.”

But as the queries began to dry up, she added to her sad saga: “Daddy bad. He no watch. Fall out of bed, breaka bone.” I'm not quite sure where she came by this thought, her sister perhaps, but it quickly became fact that I was in charge of her for the day, she fell out of bed and landed on her collarbone, and it was my fault, never mind that it happened before I went on Alison-watching duty.

The fact that she insisted on telling this story, over and over was bad enough. The fact that she was just learning to speak made the whole thing sooooo much more agonizing: “Daddy... daddy... daddy bad. He... he... no... he no... he no watch... Fall out....Fall out of... fall out of bed....breaka bone.” Oy.

Let me tell you, a sweet little blond-headed cherub looking sad with a figure eight brace pulling her shoulders back labeling her father as the perpetrator of the need for her brace... You can say it was an accident until you feel that you may need your own figure eight brace to keep your shoulders from slumping, but you would not want to take the witness stand and compare stories. When people heard “Fall down, breaka bone. Daddy bad...” Perry Mason couldn't have helped my case.

Anyway, that's what was going through my mind as I headed for the ground, ribs first. I was right- it did leave a mark, it really did hurt, and no one at the cancer clinic was especially pleased that I had fallen down and hurt myself again when I had been specifically instructed not to do that.

The damage was done to the same spot that has been sore from the beginning of my feud with multiple myeloma. Nothing was broken, but it still hurts a lot and keeps me awake. But at least lying awake at night, gives me more time to think about why all these things keep happening to me. On the plus side, I did break my fall with my face (insert your joke here).

Maybe Alison's sad report on her accident was actually some sort of curse. Maybe I shouldn't have told her that Shetland wool came from Shetland ponies subsequently causing her ridicule when she was older... Oh, wait a minute. I told her sister that and it led to a whole other tale of woe. Let's save that for another day.

There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere