Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mike's Story Part 61 - Thumb

   A call:  Mike’s broken his thumb.  He was assisting the guide of a tour group in Prospect Park. His horse, Mack Truck (not really but the name was similar,) the biggest, baddest horse at the stable, had been acting up; he didn’t "get along with" another horse on the ride. 
   As they crossed the intersection, Mack Truck "must have gotten stung by a bee" because he bucked.  Mike landed on his thumb.  The bone got pushed back into his wrist.  
   His body is still in shock so his mood remains upbeat.  But after surgery which installs six brightly colored pins into his hand that come out the other side, he sleeps through the next three months.  Each prescription for painkillers lasts thirty days.  If he can’t stand it and takes a little more one day, he pays at the end of the month.
   This happens in August.  Mike goes to the drugstore to throw himself on their mercy, showing them his cellphone picture of what lies beneath his bandages.  The drugstore sees the light.
   The following month, he appeals to a doctor he doesn’t know but who’s available on Sunday.  As he is required to do, the doctor refuses to give him a prescription for extra painkillers.  But after seeing the picture he says, “Do you want morphine?  I can get you morphine.”
   The picture garners gratifying horror in every venue he tries.  Medical pros are speechless; waitresses, aghast.
   The cast is scheduled to come off on October 9th.  Two days later, Mike wants us to fly to Los Angeles, so he can take me down memory lane; and Oregon, where I’ve never been but where we're planning to move.  However the main reason for my presence, although I don't realize it at the time, is so that I can be a witness to his meeting with the Ashland Police Department about the break-in.
   I’m not sure the removal of the cast is going to signal the end of his pain, nor that this is the right time for our reconnaissance trip.  But when Mike looks forward to something, he cannot be gainsaid, particularly when one’s only argument is uncertainty.
   “I need to get back as soon as possible,” I tell him.  I will not get paid for any work missed while I’m away.
   To do everything on our agenda, he’s mapped out a schedule that will take three weeks.
   “This is something you could never do,” he says.
   “Organize this, think of everything.”
   “Why do you say that?”
   “The way you planned to remodel your kitchen, not taking into account that the floor tiles need to come up when you install new cabinets.”
   “I know nothing about remodeling or construction; that’s why I consult professionals.  But that’s not the same thing as being disorganized.  I organized that whole Petrocollapse conference on seven weeks notice and we got through it with everyone getting a stipend and on speaking terms.”
   “Good for you.”  Having had his say, he is already focused on the next project, a backgammon game.
    No matter what happens, we always revert to his image of me as an empty-headed woman, a stereotype he picked up from tv five decades ago; certainly not from his mother, the NSA cryptanalyst, although I embody the worst aspects of her as well.
   After the cast is removed, I pick him up at the hospital.  He hands me a slip of paper.  I don’t have my glasses on so don’t see what it is.
   “Guard this with your life.”  I put it in my wallet.
   We walk home.  At the door, he hands me another slip of paper.
   “Go fill this at Duane Reade.”
   He’s in pain or I would tell him to do it himself.
   Instead, I oblige.
   When the prescription is ready, I pick it up and give it to him.
   “This isn’t Keflex!” he shouts.  “They gave me a painkiller!”
   I go back to Duane Reade but the pharmacist is gone for the day.
   I don't remember the details now but I was at fault on this one.  And he was certainly in great pain as well as worried because the future flexibility of his hand was at stake (which he didn't explain until afterwards.)  But that doesn't stop me from feeling fed up.  I've fallen down on the job but it's not a job I applied for.  What about Mike himself, opting for the meanest horse in the stable?  Does it cross his mind to question that choice?
   I will kill him.  I will strangle him.  I will bend back his thumb.
   If Mike's employees were indeed patsy/hatchet men of the government, I understand how they could have smashed his computers.  I would have fantasized something along the same lines and I’m not a twenty-something male with a tattoo.

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