Friday, November 16, 2007

I’m a good patient/bad patient type. I’m good in that I learn as much about my situation as I can, and follow instructions. I’m careful about medications and don’t over-medicate; in fact, whenever possible, and with the doctor’s knowledge and permission, I move by degrees to the smallest dosage that works.

I’m a bad patient in that I loathe being sick (and in this case, partially immobilized) and dependent on others. I’m a very active, independent man; I adore driving and being able to take off and do whatever I want whenever I want. For about a month and perhaps for six weeks, I won’t be able to do any of that. If ONLY I’d broken my left rather than my right ankle, I wouldn’t have the frustration and feelings of helplessness that envelop me from time to time. But I’m having a lot of trouble with that and, as a result, I’m probably trying to do too much too fast.

Fritz is being Fritz and there’s nobody like him. I first realized how much he loved me ten years ago when I got back from Greece with a vicious airplane virus and he came down to Boston to nurse me back to health. He’s very patient with this impatient patient but sometimes I get a very stern look that tells me I’m attempting too much for my current level of crutch dexterity and that if I’m smart, I’ll back off and let him take charge.

So here’s the situation. I went to the orthopedist yesterday morning and had the temporary splint taken off. The doctor and her crew were super to work with. New x-rays were taken because she was pretty sure that the damage wasn’t confined just to my ankle and she was right. I have the hairline crack across the medial maleolus at the bottom of the tibia, the big bone of the leg, and also a crack toward the top of the fibula, the slender bone. The good news is that there’s no displacement of the pieces of bone on either side of the fracture lines—I fell hard enough to fracture the bones but not hard enough to rupture the membranes on the bones’ surface, and those membranes are holding things together like a delicate internal cast.

I left with a bright red fiberglass cast from my toes to just below the knee. The fiberglass comes in a variety of colors and I figured why not make a splash? I told her I could not continue with percocet as a pain reliever because any pain would be preferable to the nausea and extreme dizziness that came with the percocet . We worked out a dosage for ibuprofin to control pain that’s working without side effects and still taking care of discomfort. I tend to have a pretty high pain tolerance anyway (I made it through Reagan and Bush--so far), so it’s all working out.

I’m going to have to miss a couple of performances I have tickets to, and Christmas shopping (about half of which I had already done) is going to be difficult. I’m going to have to learn a lot of alternate procedures (we got through my first post-fracture shower this morning thanks to a lot of forethought) and not to feel guilty for leaning on Fritz for so many things. I’ll miss the upcoming Sweat gatherings tomorrow and perhaps in mid-December as well. I’ll get over it--I just have to adjust to the reality of the situation.

Craig Smith, the practically sainted director of Boston’s Emmanuel Music died suddenly and unexpectedly this week. He was only 60 years old. Emmanuel, named after the Back Bay, Boston church where the group is housed, spans the baroque and the modern, with forays into the Romantic period. The music-making is of the highest quality and has included cyclical performances of the complete Bach cantatas, the complete Schubert (including at least one of the operas in concert), Schumann (including HIS big opera Genoveva in concert), Brahms, Ravel, and a lot of premieres by important contemporary composers. Smith's collaborations with composer John Harbison and the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson were highlights of his incredibly varied and distinguished career.

Always one to seek out and join with the new, Craig Smith worked as music director for enfant terrible Peter Sellars's productions of the three Mozart operas to libretti by Lorenzo da Ponte and memorably collaborated with modern dancer/choreographer Mark Morris on Handel's L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed il Moderato.

The large pool of first-rate singers and instrumental musicians we are blessed with in the Boston area always blossomed under Smith’s leadership. There are a number of fine conductors and composer-conductors associated with Emmanuel to keep things going for a while until a suitable replacement can take on the over-all direction of the company. But Craig Smith's death leaves a big void in Boston’s music scene, and his much-beloved presence will be sorely missed.


The doors are on the house now, siding is going along well, mostly devoted to sheathing the undersides of the big overhangs with V-groove pine plank, now that the under-soffit lights have been installed. Electrical and plumbing continue to progress and we’ll go out next Monday to an office building in nearby Exeter to view examples of the acid washing that will bring color and texture to our concrete floors.

IKEA deliverd our kitchen cabinets in knocked-down form for us to assemble early this afternoon. These days, the road to the house is lined with cars of all the subcontractors and their crews. Today there were one plumber, three electricians, three siding men, the general contractor, and the wallboard/plasterer who came to take measurements and resolve some questions. I wish I could just walk up to the site any time I want like I used to, but I have to wait until Fritz can take me up in the car. I do hope the next six weeks go by very fast!

be a good patient & do what the doc says.

one word for christmas shopping: internet. Best. Thing. Ever.


Gosh, Will, I'm sorry you've been placed on the injured list. I'm glad you escaped the necessity for surgery, though. Here's wishing you a speedy recovery and a cast-free New Year's!
...sorry to hear about the injury. Since next week is Thanksgiving, I've got a decent amount of free time coming. If you'd like, I'm glad to come up for a day, keep you from going totally stir-crazy, and give Fritz some reprieve.

I could be tempted to bring up a baked good or two as well :)
you are full of events/news like always.
sitting still with a fracture for a while could be therapeutic for you to let things be
if not
have your partner call for some major sedatives!
The bright red cast sounds cool. I think red and green would have been better, but I reckon you have to injure yourself after Thanksgiving to get that. You could add a nice string of lights for holiday parties.
Sorry for your misery. It's amazing how many people are injured while checking out various building projects. May your convalescence be short and the pain tolerable. Sounds like the perfect time to get caught up on your reading!
I'm sorry to hear about this, and hope the healing process happens quickly and without any complications. I'm really glad you have Fritz to help you. He rocks. As for Christmas shopping ... the internet was made for situations like this ... and also eBay, which is totally addicting (not that I know anything about that ... ahem). So, put your feet up, have Fritz bring you some rum infused egg nog, listen to your favourite Christmas music and shop!
Gosh, I worked with Craig Smith on Peter Seller's HANG ON TO ME at the Guthrie back in 1984. I was Production Assistant on the show and did a lot of music photocopying for him and helped run the singing rehearsals.

What a loss and how very sad.
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