Night has always pushed out day; you must know life to see decay

It’s ironic that the last time I wrote it was about being the necessity of being repeatedly broken, and two days later I’d find myself in A&E (the ER) after falling about ten feet onto cold, hard concrete, shattering my arm in three places. I’ve never broken a major bone before, let alone into three pieces, and the agony was… relentless. I was doing a photo shoot with a good friend of mine, and we were incorporating the idea of levitation shots into our theme—something I was enormously excited about, and had done before, resulting in some really cool images looking like some paranormal force was in play. After spending the day shooting out in a small ghost town in the middle of nowhere, we returned to the city to catch some extreme outdoor shots—all with the assistance of my to-be-invisible balancing box. The final shot was going to look awesome—balanced on my box I was going to appear suspended in an alcove halfway up a building—but I had to make sure my feet looked suspended, too—not as if I were standing on something that wasn’t there. As I moved my feet to the edge of the box, it gave way, tumbling from the nook I’d climbed up into and down to the pavement, taking my bones and cries and scrambling limbs with it.

This was the front of the building, but I think nooks above the entryways were about the same height around the back in the alley where we were.

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 5.21.55 PMThe building was all locked up for the weekend and not a soul was in sight. I didn’t have my phone with me and didn’t know AC’s number by heart, and as I sat there screaming my poor friend ran to find out what street we were on and call an ambulance. As she was on the call I realised there was no way I could afford an ambulance and told her in a panic to hang up, but she said she’d cover it, and stayed with me until some downtown security patrol officers showed up. I was in frightening makeup and a hospital gown already, which likely did me no favours, and they kept me talking until the paramedics arrived. I remember them telling me my shoulder had been dislocated and being confused because the pain wasn’t in my shoulder, it was throbbing in my bicep/tricep area and radiating down my entire arm, and the lump seemed way too far down for a shoulder joint to fall to. My friend accompanied me to the ER in the ambulance and I remember arriving in a hospital hallway, screaming, the words “it has to stop, make it stop” repeated a hundred times, my only vocabulary. I kept calling for him, and I didn’t know how at the time but he’d made it.

I was there for four days. Bags of morphine, fentanyl, and hydromorphone were pumped into my veins and they did nothing to relieve the pain. I remember having to have x-rays taken of the arm, wrist, chest and shoulder and crying out, unable to move my body the way it needed to be moved for the excruciating pain and fear. Eventually they got what they needed, and confirmed the humerus had been broken in three places, and I’d have to be immobilised for a number of weeks.

photo (1)Every shift that came and went brought a new wave of doctors, nurses, and assistants, and the communication seemed to dissolve with every passing day. Naturally they wouldn’t let me leave until the pain was manageable, and it wasn’t anywhere close even with an IV, and I couldn’t leave on oral medication if that wasn’t cutting it. I had to—and still am, 2.5 weeks later—sleep upright, and was unable to shower for my entire stay. AC didn’t leave my side once; off work indefinitely just to take care of me, assuring me nothing was more important. I was and still am an emotional wreck with the gratitude of everything he’s doing. Timing and dosing my medication, helping me overcome my mortifying insecurities by helping me shower and dress, addressing the embarrassing side effects of strong narcotics alongside me and making me laugh in the process, holding bowls while I throw up into them (and onto him), cooking for me, cleaning my entire apartment, doing my dishes and my laundry because those I live with have offered zero help in the slightest… if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to have got through these past few weeks. Basic things like washing and dressing are impossible, as are cooking and doing dishes. I feel simultaneously like the luckiest soul in all the world to have this angel looking after me, guilty and frustrated that I can’t do anything in return, and lonely… so very alone. So scared of becoming the biggest burden, despite an arsenal of reassurances to the contrary. It’s been nearly three weeks without income; and every second of the day I’m in pain, useless, and dependent on someone else. It’s so frightening.

This took three days of writing in shifts with one hand, being propped up for as long as I could with pillows and pills, but I had to get it down. The emotions, the fear, the experience… I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. If you were able to get up today after a comfortable night’s sleep, shower yourself, put on an outfit, do your hair and make food for yourself while you replied to emails and checked Facebook… if you got to go to a job where all your limbs cooperated without second thought and got through a day without pain… if you’ll get home tonight and be able to embrace someone you love, and you know you’ll have a paycheque within a couple of weeks… if you have friends you can go visit or take a drive or have a glass of wine, or put on your own pyjamas… count your blessings so, so hard. I’m scared, hurt, and afraid because the world moves on without you. But more than anything, I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart for the small handful of friends and family who’ve come to keep me company, to bring me food and movies and a robot arm, to clean for me, to clean me, and to make me smile. To make me feel I still belong. I cannot thank them enough. And mostly, to my AC, who’s given everything and more to take care of me right from the very beginning. My protector.

A bolt of warmth, fierce with joy and pride and gratitude, flashed through me like sudden lightning. I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching—they are your family. And they were my heroes.

The Dark Side

There’s been a new girl in town since I first posted about my job situation – and I must confess: I don’t like her one bit.

She’s easily irritated, quick to aggravate, and finds her face hurting at the end of the day after sporting a constant and unbecoming frown. She lashes out and retreats from any form of human affection, instead preferring to curl up, alone, scowling at the world. Her heart thumps harder in true fight-or-flight fashion in a vain effort to beat out of her chest, desperate to get away from the stress of the situation in which its owner is placed. Her cheeks flush and hands tremble in a feeble effort to join it. She stomps down slushy streets unaffected by the mess she’ll make, pretending to talk on a cell phone, led forward by gritty perseverance and furrowed brows, no longer stopping to smile at strangers, or hold open doors. The black of her clothes complements the storm clouds of her demeanour, and the love and compassion of her soul has already escaped, leaving behind an ill-tempered, hostile recluse; an empty cage where her heart used to be.

She knows not where she is going. All control over her situation her been extricated, leaving her reluctantly in a dusty and derelict limbo. Her hands have been pried open; her grip on the future that seemed so solid lost. The world’s endeavours of peace and reassurance evaporate before seeping through into her heart, obstructed by an invisible armour impenetrable to all.

She falls asleep alone, accompanied only by her tears, a downpour of melancholy over the landscape of her bed. Even sleep cannot maintain a hold on her, and retreats elsewhere in the world of dreamers, along with efforts of love and kindness also given the cold shoulder. She spends her nights awake, afraid, entirely unable to let anyone in or see a way out.

This is her opposite – the girl whose life is led contrary to everything she believes and holds dear. Except somehow, in this time of dreadful uncertainty, she’s moved in. Taken over. Destroying everything normal, shaking it up with the hand of ambiguity, removing everything positive… imprisoning reality and unleashing the indefinite nightmare of limbo.

I can’t deal with this. All I need is answers, and nobody is able to give any. I’m asked to participate in an almost farcical scenario in which I act as if I’ll be let go in two weeks, training others and handing off all my duties – but also told not to worry, because I might be kept on.  It’s wrong, and every day is more stressful than the last.  I feel unappreciated and expendable, after I’ve put my heart and soul into this job.  I feel betrayed at being given hope for two months only to be brought suddenly into a harsh reality. But I don’t seem able to switch off. I just want this weight to be lifted, this uncertainty resolved.  I’ve never felt such panic, despair, loss of positivity – my outlook and behaviour this week feels alien. I’m doing everything I try so hard to avoid. I just want to feel normal again.