I am finally released with crutches and a brace:
I’m just out of the ER and don’t even know if I can make it that far on crutches. When I arrive, she’s on hold and waves at me to go do some shopping. But aside from the fact that I’m still in a mild state of shock, that’s out of the question because I can’t carry anything. A manager sees my plight and offers an electric cart. I nearly tear up at the offer.
R locates the DWP night crew out by Dodger Stadium, which gives her just enough time to drop Lola and me home, and return to the scene of her own disaster.
Now I’m alone in a darkened house. My sister is on a trip with her new love to New York, an excursion that promises to be everything her original honeymoon trip was not. That trip, sabotaged by a family death, ushered in a year of unimaginable tragedy that culminated in the death of her father. Is it too much to ask for her to have this simple joy? I know if she finds out about me, she’ll turn around and fly right home. I’m determined for that not to happen.
Meanwhile, I don’t even know where the light switches are. The hard kitchen tiles and their wide crutch-eating grout scare me.
I reach for contact numbers on the fridge: cat sitter, landlord. Then I call the one friend I have in LA who is an expert on tibial plateau fractures. His wife had the worst kind from skiing. It took three surgeries and over a year to recover.
By now, my knee is swelling into a pillar and I’m starting to panic. No ice in the house and, because I had ice in the ER, I foolishly refused pain killers. It feels like it’s going to explode.
I call my friend. By now it’s 10:30 at night. He promises first thing in the morning, to bring over an amazing machine that circulates ice water around the affected area (they’re pros at this). But something in my voice tells him not to wait. He gets in the car to bring it over now. He’s an hour away.
What I don’t know is that he’d just taken sleep meds. Half-way here on the freeway, his eyes start to close. Miraculously, he makes it to the house, and sets up the ice machine which feels like the closest thing to heaven I can imagine. He locates some Tylenol (or does he go out for it?) and it makes a difference. Just having him here is a huge comfort, as even getting to the bathroom is a scary project. If I fall, I want someone here. Even if he’s in coma in the next room.
The following day the cat sitter comes by. One of the jobs I had willingly taken on was cat care, hospice care for one old cat in particular.
I am truly touched by their care and not even thinking twice about it, I call my step-brother a pediatrician, for an orthopedic referral. I get the referral but unbeknownst to me, he puts family ahead of his hippocratic oath and blabs to the airwaves (how was he supposed to know?). Word travels fast and before I can stop it, my sister is alerted. After all my efforts at secrecy and independence, I feel pissed and completely betrayed. But I managed to delay the news long enough; it’s too late for her to come home early. Maybe it’s good she’s prepared; it’ll give her a chance to adjust. Because it looks like she’ll be hosting me for a lot longer than she’d planned…