Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
With Sue laid up with her broken arm, our routines are all sabotaged, and we’re in an odd transition period in which every move needs to be planned out. Going to bed—she has to sleep sitting up on a couch for a while—is now a lengthy procedure of arranging pillows and quilts and getting her up and down in the bathroom. She’s eating right-handed these days, which must be a huge challenge for her. She doesn’t do anything right-handed, whereas I do at least a few things like using scissors and playing guitar.
We did manage a nice hike on Saturday, just five days after her accident. I Googled for trails near Pollock Pines, up toward Tahoe from Placerville, and first landed on Bridal Veil Falls (above). Then we found a sweet piney fire-road walk off the Mormon Emigrant Trail and strolled casually for an hour or so. She did great, especially after we found a perfect walking stick for her, which she now calls her “joystick.”
Yesterday it rained all day, pretty much unheard of in late May here in the Sierra foothills. We played Scrabble (I won only because Sue let me have “quo,” which the official Scrabble dictionary says isn’t a valid word, so I actually lost). For exercise I had to resort to throwing a tennis ball against the garage wall for half an hour. Over the years I’ve lost my curve ball, come to find out, but I can still zip my left-handed sidearm pitch in there for a strike. Must be like riding a bicycle.
Between the rain and Sue’s recovery, I’m coming to realize that our routine had been crafted into something like a fine Swiss watch, a perpetual motion machine that never even needed lubrication. You learn, at times like this, how fragile routines are. The sense that you’re in control of things is an appealing illusion.
Not a bad lesson to draw from an accident. But since we’re not the types to take things for granted, we didn’t really need a wake-up call to get our heads on straight.
In a few weeks Sue will be sleeping in our bed again. That’ll be nice. She’ll be eating with her left hand and pulling up her pants with no trouble at all. We’ll be walking our usual trails and probably laughing a little bit at what a klutz she was that day. She’ll wave her joystick at me and say, “Never again!”
Still, we’re already adapting to this new routine, finding ways to make it fun. You want to think you’re flexible about things, and all of us are, really, because nobody’s doing things the same way they did them twenty years ago. We changed, but we changed so subtly we didn’t notice.
It’s like how all your cells are different from the ones that made you up a few months ago.
How freaky is that?