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Life is only what you wonder.

Friday, January 20, 2006

It Ain't Pretty

No posts in over three weeks?
I'd feel really guilty about that, 'cept I have a really, really good excuse. (Not that I need one, but you know what I mean.)
Just keep reading, and you'll see that I'm right.

I'm warning you in advance that this post is going to be a long one, so print this out and read it on your lunch break, or at least grab a drink and a snack.
And, as the title suggests, it ain't pretty, so consider this your first and only warning.
To make things easier to digest, I've broken this post into little "chapters" to make it easier for you to follow along.
Are you ready?
I am if you are, so let's get this over with!

    This Is Whack! Literally
It was on Tuesday, January 10th and had just turned dark when I noticed I was nearly out of cigarettes, so I walked two blocks from my house to go get some. On my way back, I'm walking along, minding my own business, when I suddenly hear running footsteps behind me. I go to turn around to look at who's running up behind me and WHAM! something hits me in the side of my face, near my jaw, HARD. I don't know if they hit me with a closed fist, or brass knuckles, or a pipe or what, but I saw stars --and I thought that was only something that happened in cartoons. It was hard enough to double me over and make me pass out for a few seconds.
Three teenage boys decided it would be fun to beat up a white boy walking alone.
Aside from the one blow, they didn't touch me. They laughed at me for a few seconds, ("You want some more, whitey? Haw haw haw!') then dashed away.
Turns out that one blow was more than enough to totally mess me up, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

You know the thing that's the most messed up about this situation, in my mind at least? They did it for kicks, just for the sheer masochistic thrill of it. I think I could deal with it a little better if they were after money. Or if I would have done something to them and they were after revenge. It still wouldn't be a great situation, but I think I could handle it better. They didn't even attempt to rob me, that wasn't why they did it. They did it because they could, and because there was nothing else to do.
And if you think I'm not totally pissed off at what happened, then you don't know me that well.

Anyway . . .
I managed to pick myself up and make it home, bleeding from my nose and mouth. And after I cleaned myself up a little I called the police and the husband, in that order.

The husband arrived first. The police din't arrive 'til over an hour later. My report didn't help much because I didn't get a look at their faces. All I could tell thell them was there were three of them, they were black, by their voices they sounded young, and the one that struck me was wearing a black coat, blue jeans, and white athletic shoes.
Not much help -- and we were totally out of range of the security cameras that were all around.
I would have gotten a look at them if I could, for identification purposes, but it didn't work out that way.

    Jimmy's Conduct Well Chastised
No sooner than the police left, the husband saw fit to chastise me for going out after dark.

"Don't you realize they could have just as easily killed you? Or put your eye out? What were you thinking going out after dark alone?"

I understand the reasons why he said what he did. He was upset at what happened.
It's like when Rico jumped the fence in our yard (who woulda thunk he could leap so high?) and I didn't know where he was. I totally panicked. When I finally found him down the block by the fire hydrant I scooped him up and gave him a smack across his nose. "Don't you ever do that again! You scared me half to death!"
Being chastised wasn't what I needed at that point, though. At that point, I wanted to just die. My face had swollen up where I had been struck, and I had a headache you wouldn't believe. I took some aspirin, and went to bed, thinking I would be OK in the morning.

    Business As Usual?
I went to work the next day, even though I was sore and my face was still swollen. I noticed when I tried to eat that it hurt to chew and my head wasn't feeling any better either.
Still, somehow I got through the day.

The next day I woke up feeling even worse, if that were possible. My head felt like there was something inside trying to get out. But worst of all, all around my right eye was black -- not just bruised, but black as ink -- and my face had swelled even more.
G. took one look and said to get dressed, he was taking me to the hospital.

    General Hospital (Condensed)
Arrived at hospital at 10:30AM. Resistration. Triage. Waited for four hours in the ER waiting room. Finally taken back and examined.
They took about five vials of blood, X-Rays, urine sample, CAT scan of face and head, Opthamologist tests vision, various doctors test reflexes, motor functions and question endlessly. While waiting for a diagnosis, finally given a painkiller (Morphine!). Diagnosis: Facial fracture in five places, possible break of skull at the jawline. Treatment: Surgery was required to repair the fracures.
At 6:30 given a room to await surgery sometime the next day. Jimmy's Comment: I could very easily see how people could get addicted to Morhine. That's good stuff!
    We Can Rebuild Him - We Have The Technology
Hooked up to an IV, instructed no food or drink until after surgery, made to urinate in this plactic container so they could measure it, otherwise left alone.
Nothing to do but watch TV.
Do you know how horrible it is to be confined to a bed, with nothing to do but watch the boob tube? Sure, it's fun for awhile, but it get's very tiresome very, very quickly.
My surgeon, Dr Hatch
came a little later to tell me what they were going to do. Apparently, I had five fractures in my face. Four of them were around my right eye, and if not corrected my eye might sink into my skull, or more alarmingly, pop out of my skull. Either way is bad.
The other fracture was in the part of the face where the cheekbone meets the jaw, which was why it hurt so much when I tried to eat. They were going to put two metal plates in my face to repair the fractures. One half-moon shaped plate under my right eye, and another L-shaped one for my cheek. To minimize scarring they were going to insert the one under my eye through the socket, and the other they would insert from the inside of my mouth and attach it to the cheekbone.
    TV Time
That night and all the next day I had nothing to do but watch TV. Caught Isaac (designer Issaac Mizrahi's talk show). What a queen! After ten minutes I had to change the channel, his mincing and swishing was getting on my nerves.
Finally got caught up on what was happening on The Young and the Restlesss and watched a dozen episodes of The Golden Girls and The Nanny.
Have you seen the commercial for life insurance with Meridith Baxter? Something about her just doesn't seem right. I know she's gotten older and all, but it looks like she's not really old at all but is wearing old lady make-up. Maybe she's had too many face-lifts or something, but it looks weird, like she's wearing a mask. Check it out yourself and see if I'm not right.
    Under The Knife
At 7:30 PM the next day I went down for surgery. After I huffed the oxygen thing they put over my mouth and nose, I rememer nothing. Cut to my hospital room a few hours later. I'm even more swelled up on the right side of my face than I was before, and I didn't think that was possible. I have pretty blue stitches all around my right eye, along the lash line and the right side of my mouth is so puffy I can't even talk right. I look in the mirror and feel like the Elephant Man.
"I am not an animal!"
I was finally given some juice - my first thing to drink in over 24 hours. It was cranberry juice, and I usually can't stand cranberry juice, but it tasted wonderful.
    Doctor's Orders
I was released the next afternoon. Breakfast consisted of chicken broth and orange juice and Jell-o.
Doctor gave me orders before I left: Total bed-rest for four days. I could only get up to use the bathroom, then right back. No strenuous work/activities for two weeks. By that the Doc meant anything that required standing or sitting or being vertical for any length of time.
Liquid/semi-solid diet for a week and a half, at least.
Given precriptions for antibiotics and pain (Oxycodone).
G. picked me up to take me home. They wanted to wheel me to the car in a wheelchair, but I insisted that I walk. I'd been lying around too long as it was.
When I got home I went right to bed. Still in bed, watching the boob tube, but at least I was home.
    Video Break
Have you seen the video for "Pretty Vegas" by (the new) INXS? Close your eyes it almost sounds like Michael Hutchence, doesn't it?
I knew when they did that Reality Show Rock Star: INXS that they weren't going to choose the blonde chick, or the black chick, or the black dude with the mohawk. I knew a white dude would win. They were looking for a Michael Hutchence clone, and I guess they found him.
Still, good song, good video, and the lead singer (whatever his name is) is pretty hot, though, isn't he?
    Back In Business
I was supposed to spend a full two and a half weeks in total bed-rest, but bills were piling up, and even if that weren't the case, I was going stir-crazy just lying around.
It was against Doctor's Orders, but I went back to work the other day. I'm almost back to normal, 'cept there are parts on the right side of my face where everything's numb. My plastic surgeon said that was from nerve damage. He said the feeling might come back eventually, but there's no way of telling.
    In A Nutshell
So pretty much the first part of my New Year totally sucked.
Although, I must say the liquid diet I was on totaqlly obviviated the little "kangaroo pouch" I had gotten over the holidays. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone, but my tummy is totally flat now.
    Jimmy Rants For A Few Moments
I've written this over the course of about four days, off and on, when the painkillers aren't making me too groggy and my thoughts are coherent.
I'm trying not to think too much about it, partly because wallowing in self-pity and regret is something I regard as a waste of time, and in my experience nothing good ever comes from it, but mostly because everytime I do, I get more and more angry.
It just sucks that you can't just stroll to the store without someone messing with you.
It totally blows that, once again, I'm a victim.
I loathe the fact that people are going "Tsk, tsk! Poor Jimmy!" because I hate, hate, hate when people feel sorry for me.

But bitching isn't going to change anything. Shit happens, whether you want it to or not. You go through it and you either don't survive, or you get stronger from the experience.
Pretty soon I'll be stong enough to go through anything. Bring it on!
I'm a survivor. I'm not just going to give up and die, and I'm not going anywhere any time soon.

    Thank Yous
Thanks to everyone who sent e-cards and emails. Didn't get them 'til this morning, but they're appriciated. Mucho, mucho!
A big thanks to my best bud Fireguy for spreading the word on what happened when I wasn't able. You're always in my corner, and I won't ever forget it.
And thanks to you (yes, you) for your support also.

Excelsior!