Well, its time. Time to get back up on Old Bloggy and see if I can stay in the saddle.
After certain life experiences there is a period of time during which one’s feelings are just too raw to speak of them. The worse the experience, the longer the time. It was just over a year ago that my best friend back in Philly, Henry Miller, died suddenly and unexpectedly. When I got the news via an email from a mutual acquaintance, I was staggered. And when I opened my mouth to tell Cindy what had happened, I started bawling like a baby. I felt worse, because I could not get back to Philly for the funeral; our worst snowstorm of the year resulted in the cancellation of my flight.
I met Henry through cycling, more specifically because we both did spin classes at the same sports club. He approached me as he told me later, because he noticed some guy coming to class, every time in a different bike jersey. So he figured I must actually cycle rather than just spin. I would never have thought to approach Henry, I’m from Minnesota. If you listen to Garrison Keillor’s monologues on The Prairie Home Companion you’ll understand. People from up there aren’t just cold, we don’t thaw out. I don’t seek people out, nor do I make friends easily. I’m guarded and don’t like to let people into my life. When son Andrew was little and had a bit of speech difficulty, he summed-up my feelings exactly when he said “Yeeve me ayone!” It’s not personal, it’s just the way we Minnesotans are.
Although not pushy, Henry was kind of like a magnet; he could draw you in before you knew what you were getting into, and by then it was too late. When Henry said we were going on a fifty-mile ride, you had to do some math in your head and calculate that truly it would be sixty. He rode more miles each year than anyone else I knew.
And it was because of Henry that I was injected into a group of people I would never have otherwise met. An incredibly diverse group of varying backgrounds and abilities, but all “stamped” with the “Henry Seal of Approval.” I still ride once a year with the people I met through Henry.
It was because Henry was always in motion that it was so hard to believe that suddenly he had stopped, unfathomable, unfair. I was angry for sometime after Henry’s passing; it was just so wrong. There was and remains a hole in my life, one that cannot be filled. Yes, time does help, but it’s just an anesthetic, not a cure. I miss you, Henry. I’ll miss your energy, your kind spirit, your sence of humor, your gentle soul.
It took me a year to get around to talking about Henry, and 10 days to talk about the surgery I had on my shoulder one year to the day that Henry passed away. So, that gives you some idea of the order of magnitude of my recent event. I had a torn rotator cuff and a torn biceps tendon repaired in my left shoulder. The biceps tendon was just a throw-in, you know, a value-added kind of gesture on the surgeon’s part. I procrastinated so long on getting the rotator cuff repaired that my shoulder joint tore-up the biceps tendon. This was another wonderful result of my persistent habit of sticking my head in the sand and hoping a problem will just go away.
The perfect 10 I referred to in the title is the 10 I scored on that pain chart you always see in the doctor’s office. It’s the one where there are little faces that gradually get sadder and sadder the closer you get to 10, where the poor little face is crying its eyes out. It was the day after the surgery, and the Princess was fed-up. I was pacing around the house, moaning in pain when she grabbed up the phone and called my doctor’s office. She could see the weekend looming and the inability to get hold of any of the culprits that had created the monster she was living with. Faced with voice prompts and defensive office staffers, I overheard her say finally, “Lookit, my husband is in intense pain here, and I need to talk to some damn body.” I ain’t dressing that up; that’s a direct quote. I don’t call her The Princess for nuthin. Within half an hour I was in a room being looked at by the surgeon, an anesthesiologist, even the good-lookin young gal that had fit me for the sling.
I think it was something of a test, but when the surgeon took hold of the dressings taped over the surgery site, tore them off and he didn’t get the loud howl he expected, he realized that the pain I was experiencing was every bit as bad as having the hair on ones legs removed with wax. There weren’t actual tears coming out of my eyes like the little chart showed, but I was whimpering like a unconsolable six-year-old. It was not one of my prouder moments either when The Princess volunteered that I was one of “those people” who just can’t handle pain. That made me cry. But it probably led to the surgeon’s solution, the one they usually rely upon, more drugs. So, to the Ropivacaine (in the pump over my shoulder feeding into the wound site and continuing the effect of the nerve block) the Oxycodone and the Dilaudid he added Valium. The Valium of course did nothing for the pain, it just made me indifferent to it. Thank God and The Princess, this got me through the next couple of days.
The only other comment I’ll make is on the subject of The Princess’s driving. About 99% of the time when we go somewhere in the car I do the driving. And I’ve explained how for over 40 years I have enjoyed The Princess’s helpful backseat driving tips. So now the tables are turned, and I am literally riding in the back seat. Of course, one cannot resist. So today on a short trip out to breakfast I asked several times for some climate control. It was a sunny day, and I was so hot that my shirt was getting perspiration stains. Holy crap, after the second comment I got, “Why do you always have to make such a big deal out of everything? Why do you have to be such a pain in the ass?” The rest of the trip was made in silence, with the heater in the “off” position.
Bear in mind, I wasn’t even criticizing her driving, just asking to be basted while I was being roasted. Do you think she’ll be able to take 40 days of my helpful hints, let alone 40 years? And by the way, The Princess has what I’d call a “herky-jerky” style of driving. Nothing is smooth, everything is sudden. Sheesh, I’m going to have whip-lash by the time my turn in the back seat is over. But I’ll tell you, her herky-jerky style with the medical profession I can handle.
It’s great to be back. Thanks for reading.