Monday, April 23, 2007

The Good Work Thursday That Became The Painful Friday ...

When your mechanic tells you ya may as well save your money on that very expensive repair and put it towards a new car, you just KNOW the vehicle is done for.

We've been taking our car to this garage for about three years now ... so our guy's seen exactly what the poor thing has been through. He's got records. It's all on paper. Now that it's over ten years old, on its second transmission (!) and has a slew of even more things that are Just Not Working anymore, Chris and I finally had to admit it was time to let this one go and save up for a new car.

Key words: "SAVE UP". Oy.

Since we got this news right before Christmas, we've been dealing with this for a while now. And it's been a dry, dry freelance season for me, more full of developing pitches for new terrific projects that I care about. But it's all good ...

I have to say the biggest surprise was to find the silver lining in this situation. Thanks to our car not working, I have had to decline a lot of volunteering that I tend to normally enjoy doing ... and have had to concentrate on developing my work further so I can sell projects. So I've been doing all the things I always say I want to do, and always complain I never have enough time to do -- namely, write and draw.

(That also sets up a whole other post, but that one's for another day.)

It's amazing how much time you really have in your day when you're not frittering it away doing other things that aren't developing your skills and aren't making you any money. (And don't misunderstand me, I know volunteering and helping people out is valuable and worthy work of participating in. If everyone pitched in, the load would be lighter all around. Key word here: BALANCE.)

All this to set up and say that last Thursday had been a really good day ... I had written a chunk of a new chapter for one of the stories Chris and I are collaborating on. I uploaded a new one-page story on my ComicSpace profile page and updated my page there. Then I finished layouts for 7 pages of a project that really means a lot to me (more on that later!). I felt I was getting meaningful work done! I emailed the layouts to Val for feedback then headed upstairs to find some stuff.

I had gotten a call from one of our friends in our Nashville Comics Creators group a couple days earlier. He had been burned out of his apartment on Good Friday (he and about 100 other people in his complex). He was safe and back home now in another state, staying with his folks 'til he figured out his next move. He'd called me because I have the extra copies of our group's APAs, and I could get him replacement copies for about 6 of the 12 issues. I went to look for them.

I pulled the box of extras out and started to make a set. I also grouped out the extras, which I planned to drop off at our meeting place, so new members could have them. I spread the booklets out on the floor and just stopped to enjoy and admire the different covers for a bit. Since we each take turns drawing/creating the wraparound cover art, it was just fun looking at the great ideas everyone comes up with.

I re-boxed the back up set, and got up -- only to slam right into one of our filing cabinets. Hard. Talk about freak accident. I got up with some force -- since I was holding the box -- and hit the edge of the cabinet with the back of my hip bone, right at the base of my spine. The edge was so sharp, the metal cut right through at least two layers of clothes, and into my skin. I fell back down onto my left side, literally stunned. The shock felt like one of those cartoon moments where the mouse bonks the cat on the head with a mallet and the cat's whole body resonates from the blow and he kind of shimmers off the TV screen. I don't know how I didn't drop the box of APAs.

I lay there on my side a little while until the pain passed. Then got up. I felt basically okay so I really, thought nothing more of it. I did feel like a good chiropractic adjustment might be in order really soon. And it did hurt but I went about and did the rest of my work for the day (which I honestly don't even remember what that was. It might have been email. I might have written some more. I dunno.)

I didn't limp too much, considering. I mentioned the blow to Chris that night when I showed him the cut. The water from the shower didn't sting like I expected, so I was very relieved. We went to sleep.

Then I woke up at 2am in excruciating pain.

It was frightening, really. My neck hurt, my forehead hurt, and my fingers were all tingly. Actually the tingle went from my neck down my tendons all the way down to my hands to the ends of my fingertips. I got up.

I debated, but decided to let Chris sleep. I was VERY alert and really just hurt like hell. I thought it best to let him sleep because while I didn't think I was needing an ambulance, I knew I definitely needed to get x-rays. I was going to need him to bring me to the hospital as soon as it was daylight. Especially when I heard the grindy noises in between my ears. That just scared me.

So I stayed up and made sure I could stay awake. I could have woken him up, sure, but the extra 4 hours of sleep for him would be helpful. He would worry enough later when he got up. And frankly I was too tense to sleep, so I wasn't worried about passing out or anything.

I stayed up on the sofa and watched TV. (Lotsa boring crap on overnight, let me tell you.) Even our normally comforting public television station couldn't relax me. Maybe it was just as well, since I needed to not be sleeping anyway. Later when Chris' alarm woke him and he came downstairs, I asked him to bring me to our doctor. As he dressed I called the doc's office and made a request for an emergency appointment and they fit me in as soon as I could arrive. Before we left, I emailed 5 of my nearest and dearest, told them what happened and asked them to please pray for me.

I told my Doc how my brain felt bruised all along inside my forehead, like I was wearing a bandanna inside my head. It was weird. And even though part of me felt hyper-alert, part of my head also felt really "dumb" (though that could have been from the sheer lack of sleep.) From that and the tingly pain I described, then showing him how I got hurt, he suspected the blow had been hard enough to have caused me whiplash and even a possible concussion(!).

He sent me downstairs and within the hour I got several x-rays taken of my neck and upper back from different angles. After those grindy noises I was flat out scared what they would find. A technician read them right away and reported back to the doc and I went back upstairs. The x-rays -- THANK GOD -- came back okay. (To say I was relieved about that is a super-duper understatement.)

All this from just getting up to put a box away? Geez Louise.

Chris' job was to make sure I rested all weekend and that I didn't experience any neurological symptoms (blurry vision, hearing loss, slurred speech). The doc gave me a prescription for painkillers because it was all pretty bad and painful but when I stopped by the pharmacy later I was honestly afraid to get them, so I didn't. They would make me sleepy and I was afraid that if I was supposed to watch for neurological symptoms JUUUUUST in case, then I'd rather live with the pain for a little while, and know I was in proper working order, you know what I'm sayin'? Pain is supposed to be a helpful warning sign in some situations, after all.

When we were done at the Doc's we were starved, and had lunch nearby on the way home. We also decided to pick up some ice cream and M&Ms to help my recovery (YAY!) and a few groceries we needed for the weekend. We took it all pretty slow since we had to do this on foot.

But again, oddly enough, since we didn't have the car, the extra little walk we had to take to do these things and get back home actually helped my back considerably! I was able to crack/adjust it before we got on the bus to the grocery store. Then by the time we got home, my fingers no longer tingled ...

Talk about silver lining ...

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