Apr. 16th, 2011

lemon_says: (Hip)
I don't know what made me think of it. I was reading the paper and saw something about someone getting hit by a car, and then my mind started to wander. There was a commercial on TV for something by Stephen King--movie? Book? I wasn't paying attention--and the parts about the car and him came together and suddenly I had to look up his accident that I vaguely remembered because I just knew at that moment that he had a smashed pelvis too.

I knew his accident was far worse than mine, that his leg had nearly been destroyed, and I remembered he had the van crushed. I read the Wiki section about his accident, and then I ran across this, a piece he wrote in 2000 about the accident.

I've never been a wild fan of King. I have enjoyed several novels, although he tends to get a bit long-winded for my taste, and always takes the ick factor a few steps farther than I require. I very much enjoyed his forays out of the classic horror, like the stories "The Body" and "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption," but I admit that the first time I read Pet Sematary I didn't sleep well for days. That one stuck with me.

This article sticks in a way the novels can't, because he knows. Some of the things I remember noticing, or even saying, at the hospital are right here, written by someone else. The clinical detachment of the catalog of injuries: I've written that, only mine is not so extensive. It's hard to read something like this, that slaps you in the face with your own thoughts and brings it all right back to you.

Someone bumps the stretcher and I scream. 'Sorry, sorry, you're okay, Stephen,' someone says - when you're badly hurt, everyone calls you by your first name, everyone is your pal.

They don't just say your first name; they say it a lot. It's akin to talking to a salesperson who wedges your name into so many parts of the conversation that it gets creepy. Someone is always saying your name, always before they do something else that is going to hurt.

[T]here are echoing voices and hands that reach down to paint my dry lips with swabs that taste of peppermint.

Mine were lemon.

You try to tell yourself that you've been lucky, most incredibly lucky, and usually that works because it's true. Sometimes it doesn't work, that's all. Then you cry.

I can't find it now, but I remember writing a post about how many people told me how lucky I was. Stephen and I, we weren't lucky. We were luckier than the people who wind up dead, but I'd say we were significantly less lucky than those who don't get hit by cars or fall out of attics.

I went back and was reading early posts after the accident, and I'm struck by how optimistic I was, speculating that this might hurt for six months or so. I thought I got hurt and I'd get better, and I thought I'd get over it mentally. Turns out it doesn't always work that way.

To avoid ending on that note, I offer this post, in which I give a brief rundown of my hospital charges. In case you're curious, my hip is now up to approximately $730,000. I'm pretty sure Humana has a dart board with my face on it at this point.


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