It’s like this: I’m kind of a traditionalist. I believe in the Old Ways. They’re solid. They’ve got the weight of History and Tradition. So, if I’m going to tell you this story, I’m going to have to start it with one of the Classic Forms:
“So, I’d had a couple of drinks…”
Yeah, I know.
…about two or three weeks ago, and then felt like peacefully snoozing on the sofa. Several hours later, my lovely wife, Sylvia, returned from a night out with the girls, and I welcomed her and chatted with her amiably for a short time. And then, I thought: “Why not clear away my wine glass, and a few other dishes, from the coffee table? Why not get my ungainly carcass off the sofa, so that my Beloved has a place to sit down?”
For me, it was but the work of a moment to translate this thought into Action: I leapt from the sofa, gazelle-like, daintily grasped the wine glass in my hand, and headed for the kitchen…
Except that as I stood up, I suddenly conceived a new plan, to wit: I would allow all the blood to drain from my face, and then collapse like a sack of coals — and believe me, there was a larger-than-usual bump as my ribs hit the arm of the (otherwise) overstuffed armchair on the way down. Didn’t break the wine glass. Didn’t even let go of it. Carefully cradled it in my hand as I fell.
Sylvia was looking at me with Undisguised Alarm. A terse colloquy ensued:
“Are you all right?” “…No!”
In fact, I hurt like hell. You know how, when you’ve suffered a sudden injury, there’s this moment where you’re waiting to see which way the thing is trending? Because for the first 30 seconds or so, I really thought that I was heading south. “Oh, whoa, I may have totally screwed myself up,” I mused, if mused is the word I want.
But gradually things calmed down a bit, and I started laughing. This didn’t reassure Sylvia as much as you might have imagined. “What’s so funny?” “Well, you know how the doctor prescribed all these new medicines recently?” “Yeah…” “Well, one of them says, ‘Hey, careful with alcohol and this medication.’ And another one says, ‘Hey, really don’t stand up suddenly while taking this medication.’ ”
The last was the Big One. If you take medication to lower your blood pressure, especially for the first several weeks that you’re on it, you need to be careful when standing up, especially if you’ve been lying down. You have to first sit up, wait three seconds, and then stand up.
And indeed, you might have asked yourself, in the past, “Why do people even have high blood pressure? I mean, if it’s so bad for longevity, wouldn’t it just be evolved out?”
And part of the answer is, “Well, high blood pressure is good, if you’re a little overweight, and you don’t want to pass out if you suddenly jump up, perhaps because There’s a Tiger!”
So I called my sadistic Physical Therapists, to tell them that I wouldn’t be coming in (I was Seriously Screwed Up: two days after the injury, I actually went to meet John to walk wearing only one shoe, because I couldn’t face putting on the other one just immediately right in a row like that). And the darned Physical Therapists said, “No, you should just come in, because did you know, we’re Physical Therapists, and you’ve had an injury, and it’s sort of What We Do!”
I’m way better now, though I’m told that I’ve probably popped an intercostal junction between a rib and its adjoining cartilage (no broken ribs as such, though). I know all about this, because I had an intercostal separation when I was about 17, while climbing, and after two years of pain I went to see a doctor, and he said, “Yeah, you’ve got this thing, and there’s really nothing that we do for that: you just live in pain for several years, and then it slowly gets better.” And, as it turns out, that’s still the Standard of Care.
(Post #7 of 16 Posts in 16 Days)