I think there’s a reason my first novel I chose to title my first novel, Into The Dark and not Please Buy This Novel or The Bookie’s Gonna Take My Thumbs!
(Though the latter kinda pops.)
I have indeed been wandering somewhat aimlessly through a seemingly-impenetrable shroud of darkness of late, though honestly, I had no idea how serious the situation had actually become. In retrospect, I know the exact date, moment, and time when things began to go askew: September 15, 11:33 am are the date and time. As for the moment…
My lovely bride and I were returning from the vet with our trusty canine companion (who had contracted a mild case of kennel cough from a new groomer) completely unaware that our lives were about to change forever.
I had a case of dog food in one arm, flyers from the driveway in another, when I tripped on a stone pad in front of a set of wooden stairs leading to our home. Jerry Lewis – or if you prefer, Chevy Chase – would’ve been proud of the impromptu “dance” I engaged in before falling upon said staircase. I hit the wooden structure with all the force of a drunken rampaging Hulk. Unlike Bruce Banner’s other half, though, my frame is all-too vulnerable to injury. All I can vividly recall is my wife calling out to me as I fell. That, and the pain.
Brief, but unbelievably intense pain.
Following that, I found myself on the lawn to the left of the “killer staircase”, writhing in literal blinding agony. I soon discovered that closing my eyes while remaining perfectly still helped to alleviate the effects of the waves of torment coursing across my mortal form. An ambulance bearing two guardian angels arrived thirty minutes later – though we live a scant eight minutes form the local ER – and I soon found myself in a hospital bed receiving a grim diagnosis.
My left hip had fared far worse in the collision than the wooden staircase. It had, in fact, been shattered. In retrospect though, the outcome could have been far, far worse. If my head collided with the stairs as hard as my hip did, I would be either paralyzed or dead. And so, twenty-four hours later The Hook underwent a full replacement of a fragmented joint.
“We’re all stunned… this should be happening at 72, Mr. Hookey, not 52!” – my ER doctor, a genuinely kind physician with a sense of humor.
The surgery itself was fairly routine. My experience while under anesthesia, however, was not. Something extraordinary happened to me as I lay in a medially-induced slumber, but I’m just not ready to share the details at this time, sorry.
Titanium isn’t vibranium… but it’s pretty cool.
My surgeon expected me to spend three to four days recovering from my procedure but as usual, Mistress Fate had other ideas. As it turns out, I am anemic and simply put, lacked the required strength for physiotherapy. On Day Eight however, I mustered the power needed to take a stroll down a hallway with a walker and to climb and descend a set of stairs in the physio gym. (The son of an addict, I resisted taking my pain pills – until I finally accepted how vital pain management is to one’s physiotherapy regiment.) As soon as that Herculean task was completed, however, I undertook a few more excruciating missions:
- Sloooowly getting into the passenger seat of our car in order to avoid spending money on another ambulance ride, this time to our home.
- Ascending those dreaded front stairs, this time successfully.
- Moving through our home to the rented hospital bed my spouse had set up in our dining room where I would spend the next six weeks sleeping on my back instead of my usual side.
- Sitting on a commode while struggling with my IBS, now amped up a thousand times by the fact I couldn’t find the strength to push while struggling with waves of pain coming from my body’s attempt to bond with a titanium hip. (My apologies for the imagery.)
- Adhering to restrictions such as not bending over or pivoting backwards or most importantly, not breaking 90 degrees with my new hip.
The weeks following my accident have been dominated by challenges: financial, physical, and mental. The psychological scars left by my incident have effected my creative journey as an author as well – to say the very least. Ironically, I found myself with a very open schedule, one that was very conducive to writing.
And yet, I was hopelessly blocked.
Time and persistence allowed me to open the creative flood gates eventually. Then I started to lose faith in myself as an indie author responsible for his own marketing strategies. And so, long cerebral story short, I unpublished and republished my book in the span of 48 hours after much soul-searching. Nothing would please me more than landing an agent, or better yet, getting the attention of Neil Gaiman, Henry Winkler or Stephen King as a certain writer did recently – but I’m completely on my own.
But I’ve finally accepted my fate and most importantly, made peace with it.
I’ll never be the man or bellman I was but I’m still here, ready to rage against the dying of the light, every single day if necessary. And I am ecstatic to report that my medical experts are quite pleased with my progress. Fortunately, my family has spurred me on as I work out four times a day and as I go walking at a track, where senior citizens leave me in the dust. I’ve never felt more blessed to live in a country where my surgery, hospital stay, in-home nurses and physiotherapists haven’t costed me a dime.
God bless the Great White North.
This has been the most laborious post I’ve ever written. Period. I’ve had no real desire to share this latest adventure but I feel you deserve some explanation for my recent erratic online behavior, friends. I will now take questions from the audience…