The Hero in the Little Bottle, or: Thank Goodness; or: That #!*@$&! Dog!!!

Here is a sample bottle of some hydrocodone medicine.  You can see by the beat-up label that it’s kind of old.  The expiration date is 1995.

It’s part of my emergency kit.  The last time I took one was in 2010, when I was in India and broke my wrist.

Yesterday I was walking on a State Park trail enjoying the late afternoon sun when a lady walked by with her Golden Retriever.

“Is your dog friendly?” She asks.

“Well….sometimes.  She plays really, really rough,” said I.

By this time I had moved off the trail into a little grassy area to give the lady and her dog room to pass.

Instead, she decided to bring her dog over to “make friends.”

Before you could say “Oh fuck!” Atina was in her dog’s face snarling and making that fearsome sound dogs make when they’re fighting.  She was so determined, I found myself helplessly dragged along at the end of the leash.

Then I myself roared into life and dragged her off the terrified retriever, whose owner was triple quadruple terrified.

Atina had not finished snarling when I got hold of her, but she shut her face once she saw mine.

God I just wanted to kick her ass around the block!

I waited for the poor terrified lady and her dog to get back down the trail before I started back myself.  It was getting toward “coyote time” of the evening and I was in no mood for another confrontation.

As I led the now-chastened Malligator down the path, I spied a rock sticking out.  Watch out for that rock, my brain said.  Fuck you, said my body, and demonstrated my foot-drop so that I could trip on that very rock….and fall into thin air.

I saw the whole thing in slow motion.  The hard ground coming closer and closer….I dropped the leash from my left hand and the baggie full of dog poop from my right, and broke my fall with both hands.

Jesus Christ on a bicycle, I have rarely felt such pain!  Now I know why beating people on the hands and feet is such a popular form of torture.  There’s really nowhere for swelling and blood from broken blood vessels to go.  The pressure is maddening.

I’m able to this only because the first-aid measures of last night have much improved the situation.

First I managed to get myself and the Malligator into the van.  This was no small feat, since both of my thumbs were so swollen they were pulling my hands into claws due to the spasms in my thumb muscles.

Once I got inside, the only thing I could do was to sit down and bawl uncontrollably for a long time.

Next I had to remember where I’d stashed my emergency pain pills.  Fortunately my mind’s eye is pretty good, and I located the plastic box where I keep seldom-used meds.  It was dicey getting the box out of the overhead compartment, between my bad shoulders and my completely fucked-up hands.

I took a pill, then sat down to cry some more.  Eventually I remembered the Traumeel, that wonderful arnica-based homeopathic ointment.  It’s great for bruises and any kind of trauma that doesn’t involve an open wound.

And ice!  It required some ingenuity to get the damn ice out of the ice tray, but I did it.

As I was icing, I remembered that I am an acupuncturist.  I got some needles and by pressing my teeth into service, extricated a few from their sterile packaging.  I did some emergency points for general trauma, then did some decompressing local points.  After an hour the spasms had gone from my thumbs and the swelling was subsiding.

This morning my hands are much better, although I fear I may have further injured my already-fucked-up left wrist.  I guess I should call my hand surgeon’s office and make an appointment for next week….

(The Golden Retriever was fine, by the way.  Just a lot of noise and display, apparently, but soooooo NOT okay.  I might get the electric collar out for our next walk.  When she has it on, I almost never have to use it because she KNOWS what it means….)

Oh My Aching….

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Yes, that is a portion of my ample posterior.

Yes, that is my Sexy Sparkly Michael Jackson Stretchy Glove-type thingy.  I wear it under my wrist braces to keep my skin from wearing out.

Let’s see, now.  It’s all getting blurred together.  Thank God for credit card records.  That’s how I know where I was and what I was doing whenever I get injured.

I think the first thing was the wrist (again).  Since the last of the LEFT wrist surgeries was all the way back in 2000, I didn’t even think about the possibility of another one when I tripped over a log in the pitch dark and went ass over teakettle, making a one point landing on my left palm.

I felt the all too familiar sick crunching sensation, followed by excruciating pain.  Thank goodness I was with a friend, who helped me up, which I doubt I could have accomplished by myself, since I was upside down.

“Oh no!” He exclaimed.  “Can I do anything?”  He is a really nice man.

“Yes, help me up!”  At least I think that’s what I said.  He would be better able to tell you, or maybe not, as he was nearly as distressed as I.  He is a really nice man.

After a few volleys of,

“It’s broken.”
“No it’s not, it can’t be broken.”
“Yes it is, it’s broken.”
“No, it can’t possibly be broken.”

Etc, etc.  Look, we’re both Jewish, and we’ve known each other a really long time.  Thousands of years.

After a few of those volleys, he helped me back to my rig–that’s what you call any kind of a camping vehicle type thing–where I trussed my throbbing wrist up, smoked some pot, took a tramadol, which I soon regretted because, you know, the itch thing, did the dishes and went to bed.

In the morning I un-trussed my aching wrist and did a careful exam, gingerly palpating all the little bones and checking range of motion–clunk–there it was.  Not good.  I trussed it back up.

My phone rang.  It was my Hebrew Brother.

“How’s your wrist?”

“Broken.”

“Broken?”

“Broken.”

“Oh, well, how long are you staying?”

Before we hung up I heard him yelling “Goodbye!” from his Jeep outside my window.  Dear soul!

I moved farther North to get out of the blazing desert heat.  Three or four hundred miles and two thousand feet of altitude didn’t seem to make it get any cooler.

But since my destination had electricity and therefore air conditioning in my rig, I decided to make it my base camp for scouting hand surgeons.  I did find one, but he wasn’t going to be in the office for a week.  In the meantime, they told me, I could go another half a day’s drive North, where they had a walk-in orthopedics  clinic.  I opted for that.

In the meantime, I was not just sitting on my ass.

The campground is situated on a completely barren stretch of dessert, devoid of any vegetation save the thorny kinds.  I recall, in my college botany classes, learning that desert plants have to have thorns in order to protect themselves from being eaten.  In that case, why doesn’t everything that grows have thorns?

It’s easy to walk your dog there.  All you have to do is go to the “Designated Green Space”

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And there you go.  Actually, there the dog goes.

My dog is VERY friendly, and everyone wants to hear all about her.  You might say she’s a conversation piece.  You might not.  She doesn’t care.

A friendly couple with an aged obese spaniel were admiring her.  While chatting with them, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she had another admirer: the biggest, sassiest raven I have ever seen.  It strutted up and down, perhaps ten feet from us, uttering little raven-speak cackles and gurgles.

(Did I already write about this, or am I having a deja vu all over again?  Oh well.  A good story bears retelling.)

One moment, I am standing chatting with these nice strangers, and the next, I was hanging, suspended by invisible wires, my body parallel to the ground.  Then somebody cut the wires, just like in the cartoons, and my body obeyed the laws of physics and hit the hard packed sun baked desert with a thud.

That naughty raven got on Atina’s last nerve and it broke, and she bolted out of the gate like a two year old racehorse, forgetting about the me who had a good grip on the other end of the leash.  Before my lightning fast reflexes had a chance to unflex my leash hand, it was too late: the deed was done.  I was horizontal.

When she heard the resounding report of my corpus hitting the desert floor she came running and threw herself down beside me, plastered right up against me, panting desperately.

The shocked couple wanted to know if they could help me up.

“No, thank you, she will brace for me, it’s one of her jobs,” said I, placing my hands on her withers and pushing myself to my feet.  Atina rose to hers and flanked me closely as I hobbled to my rig.  Nothing broken.  Baruch ha’Shem.

You know how when you’ve got a headache, and then you drop a hammer on your foot, you forget about your headache for a while?

Well, first my wrist felt better, and after that my ass felt better.

Then they both started up hurting at once, and I didn’t want to drive anywhere, so I turned the AC on “deep freeze,” smoked the rest of the pot, and read escapist novels for a couple of days.

Eventually I had to (had to) take a shower, and in the course of human events I passed by the mirror and–holy mother of goddess, what in the hell is THAT???

You see that black, green, alien looking lump of dough?  That ain’t half the story.  You should have seen it a few days ago.  I should have snapped a shot then, but I was dizzy and had to go lie down for a while.

And now, just to ice the cake, I’ve been gifted with (drum roll Sheldon) a brand new thrombosed hemorrhoid!  Ain’t that nice!

Today I finally made it to Flagstaff, and called around about a hand surgeon.  I was dreading the inevitable question (which I did get):

“If you hurt your wrist days ago, why did it take you so long to call us?”

How good of you to ass-k….