A Guitarist’s Nightmare 5

Huntsville Hospital, April 2012

The pain was pretty bad after the surgery, and I hated feeling so trapped- my fingers worked but I couldn’t move my right arm at all and the left wrist had been operated on too, a metal plate had been installed. I figured the right arm and elbow probably looked like an erector set. I learned how to get around the room while hauling the IV stand with me. I couldn’t wait to get out, but with another surgery looming thought it would never happen. Luckily for me they eventually decided that the broken scapula could heal on its own without surgery so I was sprung after a few days. Everyone at Huntsville Hospital was very nice and I was very well taken care of. At one point the orderly was changing the sheets and when he was finished I asked “Don’t I get a chocolate mint under the pillow?” he said “How about I get you a bag of chips?” We had a good laugh. But when all was said and done, I wanted out of there. I felt like I was in jail. I very much appreciated the visits of friends and family. Ingrid’s brother Alexis came to see me several times, and my friend Kristey Fry.

My task for the next three weeks was to keep still, change the bandages every day, and take medication as needed for pain. And try not to go crazy. While it might seem a lovely vacation to be given a bottle of eighty percosets, told to do nothing but rest and rot your brain with Netflix as much as you want for twenty-one days, in reality it was maddening. I tried the best I could to be positive but I kept thinking that I would never get through this, I’d never play again, and that music as a career was over for me. The grayish tinge to my right hand and the first look at my scars when the bandage was changed did nothing to lift my spirits. On my left wrist it was about an eight inch scar, the sutures holding the skin closed, and it was swollen. I remember staring at it thinking “This will never be functional ever again.” The right arm was a huge zipper of a scar around the elbow I had shattered. The way I coped was to have the attitude of wait and see. Don’t celebrate defeat until you actually achieve it.

Kristey made it a point of coming over every day pretty much to assist with changing the surgical dressings. It’s a lot harder than you might think, there was a lot of ground to cover, taping the sterile dressing to the wounds and then wrapping them up with gauze. Here is the bandage team, sorry the shot is out of focus but so was I. Ingrid is on the left, Kristey on the right. Both of them excellent at yelling at me if I tried to express defeat or tried to feel sorry for myself. They took all the fun out of it.