Thursday, February 17, 2011
Dawn Black Out
Sprawled on my massive bed. Heavy breathing. A little gentle moaning. My hair in disarray. Hot and bothered, beads of sweat are forming. It’s hot. It’s really, really hot. Hate to be immodest but this cashmere has to come off now. And the t-shirt. I can’t wait any longer. It’s been too long. Way too long. AND I AM SO HOT!
I stagger up like a drunken sailor and head to the kitchen where I grab the giant scissors. Time for a dramatic gesture. I grasp two layers of fabric with one hand and start hacking away. Right up the
middle of my gorgeous navy v neck cashmere and my black t shirt. Voila.
Okay, so now I try to pull the left side off but with that arm hanging limp and useless, its not easy. I pull too hard and the blinding rush of pain is excruciating. I scream in agony, burst into floods of tears and collapse back into the bedroom with the destroyed cashmere flapping open to reveal that witty old post mastectomy bra—nice and flat on one side as I don’t even have the energy to stuff it with an old sock these days.
WHY am I in such pain? Because four days ago I blacked out at 630 am in the morning and broke my bloody collarbone and gashed my big fat head as I caught the sharp metal corner of a chest on the way down to the icy Spanish bathroom tiles. The pain really is brutal and since then have not been able to remove aforementioned Tshirt and sweater. The clothes I went down in have not left my person since. That’s how it is for single mothers. I’ve been too unwell to mind and the one bit of good news about an unruly, hormone-raging, mood-swinging teen is that they really could care less if you wore a sack for a year. A couple of times over the long lonely weekend, I tried to work out how to disrobe but the concussion kept me too dizzy to even stand for very long. And yet the balmy heat this Valentine’s day is suddenly suffocating and I must SHED these garments now!
Why did I black out 4 days ago? Well, in full martyr mode I was preparing the morning bowl of three weetabix, sliced bananas and honey for the sleeping teen (yes, capable of feeding himself but you try persuading a lumbering 15 year-old to whip up breakfast AND get to a bus that leaves at 7.05 am) but as I poured the organic milk, started to feel amazingly nauseous and light-headed. Thinking I could just deliver the cereal before hitting the bathroom, I hurried into Nicks room but the cereal bowl slipped through my fingers onto the wooden floor and I screamed out “Sorry—I’m FEELING SICK!” as I lurched into the bathroom. And that’s all I remember till I woke up a few seconds later unable to move with the teen looking utterly horrified and deeply traumatized by his prone bleeding parent.
It was a first. I’ve never fainted in my life. Frankly, I think it’s a pretty lame annoying thing to do. But in my defense I’m able to point out a few extenuating circumstances …More reconstructive surgery (seven hours and kicked out immediately with no preventive antibiotics) on December 15 that – yawn, yawn, led to another staph infection that led to emergency surgery on january 3rd for removal of the implant thus leaving me a mono-tit once again !! Of course, being extra careful once the damage is done, ‘they’ then ordered six weeks of IV antibiotics followed by two weeks of oral antibiotics but that witty little course did not prevent me from getting the worst case of flu in many a year which brought on a stupendously bad cough which led to last Thursday night when I truly could not face the tedium of another sleepless night of painful hacking so I took my evening antibiotic and then downed an Ambien which didn’t even work and when I woke up an hour later coughing so hard my ribs hurt I popped half a vicodin and okay—two hours later, still coughing, I polished off the other half.
So that’s what did it. A drug lightweight. As I regained consciousness, I felt bad. As in sick, dizzy and in pain. I couldn’t move. I haven’t had such rapt attention from my big loveable lug of a kid for—well a really long time. He hovered and did as I asked. I was so cold on the tiles and my head was pounding. He put towels over me. I tried to get up but as I did a searing pain sent me back down. Now Nick’s a pretty cool customer and not squeamish like his old mum but I could tell by his wide-eyed staring at my forehead that some damage had been sustained. He played it down though and quickly came up with the huge bin containing our first aid supplies. He tried to swab me with disinfectant stuff but I asked for the spray and then he deftly found a big bandage to put over it – ordering me very firmly “Just don’t look at it mum”. After several attempts, he finally managed to help me to my feet and back to bed but this pain was pretty scary. I thought I had dislocated my shoulder. The room spun around a bit and suddenly, even though I hate Nick growing up, I wished he was older and had a license. I asked him to call his sister who could perhaps get him to school but no answer there.
There was nothing else to be done. Help me on with my Uggs, I pleaded. He had two Finals starting in about 25 minutes. I had to get him to school. He’d already missed the Spanish Final on Monday due to the flu he’d passed on to me and it had taken several indignant emails to higher-ups to persuade Senora Salazar that her nasty message telling me that no Finals could be retaken was incorrect. Steering one-handed I drove like a bat out of hell all the way to school down near Venice on Robertson. “Just don’t look at your head” Nick begged me again as he hopped out of the car. I promised and headed home –feeling weak, woozy and tearful with pain.
And here’s the really bad part. I had no cell phone. The night before, despite my raging flu, I had driven Nick to his weekly 8 pm therapy appointment. Instead of going in to the session and at least complaining bitterly about his lack of studiousness, I was thoughtful and didn’t want to infect anyone with the flu and instead drove around like a moron getting things like toilet paper and printer ink. I was desperate to discuss some of the more egregious things on Nick’s Facebook page (pointed out to me by my hawk-eyed therapist) but no—I left them to their own devices and Nick subsequently admitted that they discussed the BBC car show TOP GEAR- and only TOP GEAR for the full hour.. He could discuss Top Gear with his dear mum and save her a grueling trip out on a chilly school night.
Anyway, on the way back, we stopped at McDonalds for grub and I actually put my phone down to get a very unhealthful drink to go with my Super Size fries before guiltily hurrying out. I called Mickey D’s as soon as we got home but knew it was a ludicrous waste of time – as confirmed by schoolground photos emailed by the thief from my iphone the next day (and recorded, as they are, on my gmail).
Soooooo, no longer knowing anyone’s number cos they’re all so safely stored on one’s phone, it took me another 6 hours to rustle up a friend to arrive. It was one of the few numbers I remembered – an old home number imprinted on my brain and by some miracle the owner of this number, my dear pal Brooke, had just arrived back from NY and so I was finally rescued from my bed of pain.
(Daughter Lola was quite adamant that I should have called 911 – but I’ve never before broken a bone and who calls 911 unless things are very dire? I’ve called enough ambulances for dad in my time. I was NOT about to call one for myself) So Brooke took me to her Toluca Lake chiropracter who xrayed me with an ancient machine but it displayed most definitely a sad and broken collarbone and then it was off to my family doctor get ten stitches in the huge gaping hole I had only glimpsed at about noon.
Rather worryingly, doc kept asking “Don’t you want your plastic surgeon to take care of this?” and in fact he looked distinctly like he could live without this grim task- but it was now after 4.30 and I had to admit I’d been given the complete cold shoulder by Dr Bob—He was in surgery all day but I’d pleasantly emailed the office and Dr Bob asking if he at least could recommend a colleague to repair my face. Treating me like a stranger, they told me to go to an Emergency Room.
“I mean just because you’ve left me titless not ONCE BUT NOW TWICE --don’t feel like you owe me the courtesy of a phonecall or a follow-up,” I thought to my bitter self.
So after about 5 numbing injections to my noggin, the doc did a stirling job of stitching me up---and we headed home whereupon my darling son has never treated me so sweetly and divinely ever.
He told his sister that the scene of me collapsing to the floor had replayed in his head throughout the day. He was too far away to stop me falling and help in any way and he clearly felt impotent and more than that-scared stiff. He’s already confided to his therapist that he’s terrified I will die and so by the time I was in bed at 8, Nick was hovering like a hawk.
I asked him to pass the hand cream. He squeezed it out and gave me a hand massage. I asked for a pillow and he brought six of them. I asked for a glass of water and he brought it with slices of lemon cut up. He gave a demonstration as to how I should sleep on the one side I was permitted and kept asking—maybe sixty seven times- if I felt okay. “Do you think you might faint again?” and when I staggered up to pee, he followed and stayed outside the door, listening for a telltale thump. SOOO touching and sweet but suddenly this heavenly display of love just made me want to cry. The guilt! It’s enough that he’s adopted, father-less and has learning differences. Do I have to scare the living daylights out of him as well?
At this point I am hyper aware that folk must be thinking me one of the dullest, sickest old bores alive since it is patently true and one friend one australia did actually confirm this fear, only faintly disguising her frustration with a text saying "You poor bugger. Have run out of commiserations."
So I’ll be fine. It’s all relative. Coulda been much much worse. The concussion factor has been dull though—dizzy and faintly nauseous for an entire week and worst of all—I HAVE NO SENSE OF SMELL OR TASTE AT ALL. A classic concussion symptom. I’m truly hoping they return. It’s very odd having not a clue what I’m eating. Last night Nick did a taste test- He mashed up sausages, yam and baked beans and I shut my eyes. Absolutely not a clue what I was eating. Got it wrong every time but we had a good laugh. And that’s the kinda good times I enjoy of an evening now.
A far cry from some of the glam evenings that are highlighted in a spread of my old photos in British Vogue this month.