Thursday, August 20, 2009

Five Years

I’ve been trying really hard to fight off the depression that seems to be looming over me, but it’s hard. Things are tough right now. We were struggling before mr b lost his job, and I can’t really fathom how we’ll make it through this. He spoke with a person at Unemployment yesterday only to find out that there have been no benefits paid since he started with Suck Company. This means one of two things: a mistake somewhere or giant assholery on the part of Suck Company. Either way, he is due his benefits, but I am terrified about how long it will take to resolve the problem. The bills won’t wait.

And in the midst of all the self-pity, I realized that as of today, it has been five years since I wrote this:

5 Seconds. That's about how long it took from the shift of the plywood and the man on the ground. He was squatting on a steep roof, putting down the plywood and he simply started sliding. There was no fault, no trip, no loss of balance, just a sudden sense of movement and he was going over. He fell straight down and landed square on his feet. He's lucky not to be paralyzed. He's lucky to be alive. I'm lucky. But it still sucks. Gravity worked and he fell and things changed.

What followed was a long parade of hospitals and surgeries and nursing homes and rehab and learning to give shots and cleaning potty chairs and wheelchairs and walkers and crutches and canes and assholes in the handicapped spots and limited access and financial worries and depression and anger and stress and pain and fear and so much more.

And I was reminded that things could always be worse. Things have been worse. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

I went back and read what I wrote at the one year anniversary, and strangely things are so different and yet so much the same:

Today is an anniversary. It has been one year since the five seconds that changed our life forever. The day that Fate decided that we were just having too damned good a time (what with all the stress and the bills and the small house) and the fucking bitch grabbed us by the balls and squeezed. Hard. In some ways, it seems like it was just yesterday that I was asking for your prayers (thanks for those, btw) and in others, it’s a million years ago. But it’s only been one. One year. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds since gravity took away my husband’s ability to walk properly, his ability to do the work that has been his life for almost 30 years, his pride, his plans, his relatively pain-free life. Fuck you, Isaac Newton. Fuck you, Gravity. FUCK YOU, whoever decided this was going to be our path.

I know, things could always be worse, but hell, that pretty much can always be said. And to be honest, your problems aren’t relative - they’re you’re problems. It’s not like you get hit by a bus and think, “Man, am I lucky. That could have been a train!” No, you think, “Motherfucking bus!” So there you go. Motherfucking roof.

In the beginning, I was thrown completely off kilter. I had a seven year old son and an infant daughter, I worked full time with a long commute, my house was too small, I had two pets to take care of, I was broke and I was tired all the time, and suddenly I had a husband who had been devastatingly hurt and needed care. It was like a sick damned joke was being played on me. When I first got the call, I was too scared to think about anything else but “please let him be OK.” I rushed to the hospital to find my usually energetic, workaholic husband laying on a stretcher shot full of narcotics just to keep the pain down to simply “excruciating”. The next few days were filled with doctors and nurses and surgeries and tears. In a week or so, it was nursing home hunting and wheelchair vans and tests and pain and trying to reign in a baby at a care facility and old, old people and my urine-scented birthday. Then there was shot-learning and hospital bed rentals and wheelchair ramps and potty chairs. And now there’s uncertainty about the future and bills and lawyers and grouchiness and more uncertainty.

Sometimes it feels normal. I forget we ever went through any of it. But then, he gets up and hobbles across the room and I think Oh My God, he’s going to be like that forever. And the concept of forever can be just too much to even think about at times. And it’s an odd injury to have, because when you hear “broken feet” or “broken heels”, you think about all the times you sprained your ankle or wrenched your knees or maybe broke a bone and you healed and it was over. But his injuries are so much worse than you would think. Both his heels were crushed to oblivion. There was nothing left of them to even try to set or fix. They were left to heal in whatever shape they took on. His feet aren’t the same. Immediately after the accident, his feet were the size of melons. Now, they are down to about 1.5 times their old size. While an uninjured person can point and flex their feet, he’s lost most of his movement. One foot has about half the movement and the other barely budges at all. So his balance is completely off. Uneven or sloped ground is extremely dangerous. While he can walk with a crutch, he can’t go very far. The pain comes on fast, so in high-walking places, he needs to depend on a wheelchair sometimes. When the bones grew into what they are now, severe arthritis filled in the cracks. This will only get worse with time. He doesn’t take physical therapy, since it serves only to cause him pain. He won’t improve any more.

But comp doesn’t care about anything but the wages. They don’t care that our lives are completely turned upside-down. They don’t care if this accident could be the nail in our We Will Never Ever Move Forward Again In Life coffin. The opportunity to use his skills to build an addition or fix up a new house? Gone. The opportunity to earn extra money with side jobs? Gone. The ability to run or jump or ride bikes with the kids? Gone. So much that they don’t care about is gone. It’s frustrating to play the waiting game with the insurance. And then there’s the psychological game you play with yourself: I’m not greedy, I’m not a bad person, but we need this to move on with our lives. He’s spent almost 30 years in this business, but he can’t do it anymore.. He has a useless BA and needs to be re-schooled in something that will allow him to work. That takes money.

This year was the year we were going to buy or add on to the house. Not so much anymore. We need to expand a little. I know, everyone thinks they need more room, but we do. We can’t share our bedroom with the baby much longer. And we can’t live with no closets and no storage much longer. But that takes money. We need to pay off the loan that we took out when the comp checks and the extra expenses couldn’t quite cover things. That means money. If we plan on going anywhere where a lot of walking is required and we need a chair or scooter plus the stroller, we’ll need a bigger car. Money. Said scooter? That’s right - Money. And suddenly your whole world revolves around money and it’s an uncomfortable feeling, when it’s not the norm. It feels icky.

It’s been a pretty icky year, to tell you the truth.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Kim said...

Gina, I had no idea. I guess we get so tunnel-visioned with our own problems that we don't realize the things other people are going through. I suck at saying the right thing, but I didn't want to slink away and pretend I had never read this. It really moved me.

Anonymous said...

When I said to you yesterday, "it could be worse," in regards to something completely petty and stupid this never even occurred to me.

I'm asking everyone I know in the industry if they have a job open.

And sending you relatively trivial hugs from across the city.

If there is ANYTHING else that can be done to help...

Lisa said...

There is nothing I can say or do to ease your worry and pain. Just know I am here and sending good thoughts your way to some how pull thru this. You have come a long way since then, and in spite of set backs, you have succeeded. Chin up girl, vent when you need to, I'm here to listen at least so you know you are not alone.

Jennifer said...

Words seem incredibly pathetic right now, but it's all I can really do from here. *HUGS*

Magpie said...

Crap - I didn't know that back story. Crap. I am sorry. I hope things turn around.

Shelly said...

Gina, that sucks. It's amazing that he's come so far in five years, but it doesn't make his job loss any easier. I really hope he find something soon.

3carnations said...

I'm so sorry for your struggle. I hope your husband will be able to find another job he can do, and that you all will find peace and security.

Dina said...

As several other people commented, I had no idea. I didn't know the total back story.You just put so many things into perspective for my own life. You know, when people say "It could be worse", That would be now referring to your situation. But let me say this much. You are one hellava strong woman. You DID make it through 5 years. Your family IS still together. Your children ARE doing fantastic, and your smile IS beautiful.
You amaze me, and even if you don't think so, you are a blessing.
Here's my hug and a drink if you ever need one.

meno said...

Of course i have no idea what to say. But i want to say something.

I'm sorry, i have no ideas about what to do.

Karly said...

Oh, wow, Gina. I didn't know you had all this going on. I hope the unemployment people get everything worked out quickly and that your husband finds work soon. And I hope that you continue fighting off the depression. Hang in there.

Jen said...

I am so sorry, Gina! This just really sucks, and it makes me sad and angry for you. You definitely deserve a break. I hope things turn around soon.

bluzdude said...

Wow. I just found your blog and was just sailing along, digging it, and Pow.

I am so sorry about the shitstorm you're going through now... I am truly hoping for the best for you and your family... Something's got to break right for you, doesn't it?

I'll stay tuned...