is hard, hard candy suckled away into the memory of a taste. when i breath deep i can still smell it, all hypothetical and meaningless, fainter every day.
when i stayed in jail and had a tough 17 hours with a badly shattered wrist and no morphine, my resolve was clear and strong. (my husband was the sole caretaker for my daughter in my absence.) my rage was outrageous. i was going to do what all women ought do when they get roughed up and i was going to do it now! as soon as i got away from the smell of bologna sandwiches and shit, foot sweat and spit drying in every phone transmitter and well…
after i got a smoke and a light from an off duty guard and collect called my elderly mother to fetch me at 10:30 pm…
i went to the pharmacy.
i had to get the dope they wrote me up for in the ER. the dope they told me i was entitled to by law even if i went to jail. the very same dope i had then lived without for close to 18 hours as my cubemate bitched and hivemates shit and spit and sweat while nothing but blind rage kept my body from going into shock. that was some sorely needed dope to say the very least. i doubled the written for 1-2 tablets q.i.d to 3-4 tablets prn and began that evening to fleece myself with the first of a thousand swallows.
gulp, gulp. flick, suck. fresh air blows through my hair. three left turns and i’m at my home. my tits are sore from expressing milk by one hand and i smell like jail. my arm is bursting out of whatever they have put it in. throbbing and stabbing pains that interrupt my speech. my husband comes out to greet me. we argue three sentences and i unwrap my emergency room tethers and bathe. i sleep then with a pillow mountain for my arm in our bed by myself waking only for moments of tremendous pain. he’s downstairs on the couch. (i can’t pick the baby up in the morning…)
the next morning i call the surgeon’s office until someone finally arrives to answer. they reluctantly take me in to wait in their room with no guarantees. but, i have to believe that they believe that i’m lucky because i was afforded five minutes in which to schedule a next day surgery and another letter for dope, much better dope. i heard, “plate, titanium, screws, norco, tomorrow.” it was all fine with me. (he watched the baby while i was there.)
when they took the rest of the bandages off my arm they looked so disappointed. how could i have let this type of 3rd world swelling take a hold of me? i had to tell them that i had been in jail just to explain it. they warned, while almost threatening, that if i couldn’t get the swelling down that i wouldn’t “get” to have surgery. so i tried to take it easy that day. after all, i had to take care of my toddler while my husband worked for the rest of the day and i had to get in to cook at my own job as soon as i woke up from anesthesia. i told them i’d keep it elevated, because, what else could i say? fuck you?
at this point it had become clear that i couldn’t change a diaper by myself. i needed him to be an arm of mine. there was, isn’t and would never be anyone else who could or would do it. so he stayed then. he agreed to help our daughter until i had two arms again.
he stayed with our daughter while i went into surgery. so many hours just to get wheeled in. i’m there calling my staff as often as possible telling them that “we’re pulling a late one” and “i need all the hands i can get (stay tuned…)”. they finally wheel me in… very distant doctors and others put my mask on and i count, just like i did when i was five years old, and the next thing i remember is screaming, “OH FUCK! MY FUCKING ARM!” it’s my voice that wakes me. they’re putting my arm into the carter pillow and they’re fucking it up. how is this possible? it’s a motherfucking foam pillow. the man who woke me from anesthesia two hours early is made to apologize to me. i thank him, but i couldn’t be happier. i’ve
i’ve got to go to the pharmacy and to work. and i do! i grab a light bottle of percocet and a bottle of juice and then mom, sweet mom, drives me 18 miles to work almost.. until her car craps right there at my highway intersection. we call one of my employees, she slows down to 5 to pick me up and mom waits for dad. i head down the highway away from poor mom with a woman with dreadlocks who’s smoking weed at the wheel and i’m barely conscious and all i can think of is not losing my job. so that’s what i do. that becomes, in the next two painful weeks, more important than my divorce or even myself.
and i make it. i don’t lose my job. i never missed any work while my husband watched and washed and diapered my baby.
then the work dried up for the rest of the winter and so many other things happened.
he’s still here.