The nurses know that you’re helpless and when they try to roll you over and you scream in pain, they just keep pushing you. If you say “I can’t!” they take that as a challenge to their authority.
If you throw up all over yourself and your hair, they yell at you in annoyance. “Why jou dint use the pan!” They cluck their tongue and tie your hair back as tight as they can with a piece of torn latex glove. That’ll teach you.
The instant you hit the pavement, your whole world turns over. You can feel all your organs rearranging inside you like planets.
After six days, the image of a squashed cockroach won’t go away. I’ve just inched across my bed using my arms to support me, dragging my legs together like a broken mermaid. If you move slowly enough, you might be able to avoid the stabbing burst of pain in your groin. The fractured tail-bone is always in play, but the pain from that at least stays where it belongs.
Any sudden noise or unexpected movement sends shock-waves of pain radiating from my pelvis. I jerked when a bottle of water spilled on my bed, and it took hours to move again. “Bones have feelings too,” my physical therapist explained. “It’s only been a week. Your body is still in shock.”
My helplessness only matters to me. No one sees it as a call to duty. My husband plays music in the other room, blasting all the bands I hate. When I call his name, he won’t answer. Finally, I start screaming HELP at the top of my lungs as if I were on fire. Still, he won’t come. Just as I start to cry, he says “What?” He was taking a nap.