I am home- I can see the Gulf on one side, the bay on the other from the 10th floor condo my wife Ingrid and I rented on Perdido Key. I love the sound of waves, I grew up on the Gulf coast, even worked as a deckhand on a few shrimp-boats.
Now I’m a classical guitarist (my friend Beth calls me a gassical clitarist), and I smell better at the end of work than when I picked shrimp. I have some really cool gigs coming up with some amazing musicians, a few with the man in the mirror, my archenemy and nemesis. The scars on my left wrist and right elbow are fading now, a full year and three months since the accident that almost terminated my career. It is time to write
We are hiking on a favorite trail of ours, just minutes from the house, and Ingrid says, “Last night I dreamed you were playing your guitar and a green snake was coiling up around your ankles.” Well that’s unsettling. Usually when she tells me her dreams it’s just trivial, like most dreams are. Mine are just silly and I try to get them out of my head as quickly as I can. “a green snake coiling up around my ankles”- wow. I wonder what that could mean. Ingrid’s late father, Anatol von Spakovsky, could foresee things. I think she got some of that, part of her Russian heritage. That coiling snake thing is creepy. Maybe it’s just nothing. I found out soon enough that it wasn’t.
When I hit the ground I knew something was horribly wrong, this wasn’t just a fall with a few bruises. I was walking fast on level ground when the toe of my boot caught on a root. A very small root, the size of a !@*#&^?! pencil.
!@*#&^?! (I will not supply profanity in my blog, that is the reader’s prerogative. Be creative and mercilessly profane as you please; if I wanted to convey “gee willikers” or “mercy me!” I would have written it out.) Again, !@*#&^?!
After a brief stint airborne I landed full force on my right elbow and a bit on my left wrist. At the time I thought the wrist was OK.
Instead of focusing on the excruciating pain like a normal person all I could think was “I won’t be able to play the concert Saturday. No more guitar ever. Career over.” Ingrid helps me up off of the ground, we hike back to the car, and head to the ‘Quick Care Clinic’ at Propst drugstore in Five Points. At this point I have deluded myself that all I have is a dislocated shoulder and it can be popped back in and I can play the concert in six days. The clinic is closed but will open in one hour, so we go home to wait. Ingrid helps me take a shower, even when I am lying to myself I kinda knew I might not get a shower for a long time. I was right.
While waiting for the clinic to open I had the brilliant idea to try to assess the damage. I went to my studio, picked up a guitar with my left hand, got it into position, more or less, and then with my left hand pulled my right arm into playing position. Moving the right arm was horribly painful but I was determined, if not especially smart at the time. So I played a measure or two of Bach’s Prelude from the 1st Cello Suite, and then the Preludio from Edin Solis’ Pasaje Abierto. The thought that this might cause nerve damage didn’t cross my mind. The results were less than spectacular, so I painfully extricated myself from my guitar and we went on to the clinic.