Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million

Angsty memories of less pleasant stuff...


I'm ahead of the architects.


Their idea of a fun time is to leave us drafters idle while they do things out of order and then dump seventeen pages of redlines on us at 4:30. They're great people; I love my job, but its frustrating getting all my work whipped out, having time to waste (discretely) and knowing no matter how fast and accurately I work, I still get to stay late. And I can't really work on article illustrations while other folks are around, so I gotta sneak it in while they're away however briefly - text windows look innocuous. (I'm so sorry for the delay, ciri, I'll scramble to get these to you asap!!)

Have a new (old) article up at FARP. Yay...

And now I tell gruesome stories of my past, 'cause with my back hurting lately I've been thinking about it a lot...

It was raining that day, a drizzly, determined rain, and I was excited for a number of reasons. I was planning to spend the night with my best friend Elise... she'd just gotten her license, her parents were out of town (as were mine, that's important later), and we were reveling in the idea of 17-year-old freedom.

I had just gotten a new job, food service at the fair. The fair wasn't open yet, I think it was the day before, and we were doing general set-up. The cutest guy was eyeing me, and we were out in the rain raking sawdust into even ground cover. Not the most fun work I've ever done, but these were interesting people and interesting times.

Boring details, I know, but they are the things I remember.

I remember the oddest things... the bag of M&Ms that exploded in my lap. Trying desperately to open the door, unable, somehow, to see outside and realize there was most of another car jammed into the side of our car. I wonder, now, if the window wasn't shattered. I had a concussion in two places, one on the side of the head, and I suppose I might have spider-webbed the window. I was wearing my seatbelt, I always have and will, and I remember the bruising where it caught me across the shoulder and the lap. Watching video of crash test dummies still makes me wince.

I remember waking in the drivers seat, and not remembering crawling there from the crushed passenger side, trying to answer the EMT's questions. I didn't remember driving. I didn't, did I? I didn't have a license, I didn't think... I couldn't remember my phone number. I could barely answer their questions. My back hurt, I finally isolated at their verbal prodding. My head was spinning, and my back sort of hurt...

I passed out again getting out of the car. I woke up and was terrified not to remember... anything. I was in an ambulance, with a woman more injured than I. I recited the words to Simple Gifts, because it was the only song I remembered, and I was glad that no one asked me my name. The attendant was puzzled by me, and I begged him to quiz me on math. I had to know something...

He didn't know anything that challenged me, but even multiplication tables were something.

The hospital didn't want me.

I had no proof of insurance, and my parents were out of town. They x-rayed me, extracted my sister's phone number, and released me into her care with a rough diagnosis: crushed fifth lumbar, concussion. Go see a Doctor on Monday. No meds, because of the concussion, wake me up every couple of hours. Never mind that I had passed out again on the examination table. The ride in Becca's poorly-sprung pickup was hell.

I remember my sister, asking if I would be alright alone while she went to get the spare mattress with her husband. I said I would, I had a wall to hang onto. I didn't want to move, or sit, or think. It hurt too badly.

I remember the wall falling away from my fingertips and waking to the dog licking my face.

I remember being turned away from the doctor's office, again because I didn't have proof of insurance. (Believe me, I was insured. I was well-insured, and my parents were pissed as anything that I didn't spend the weekend in the hospital... I have never forgiven those people...)

I remember the therapy; I couldn't do much more than stroll stiffly on the treadmill and sit quietly through the heat/electrode treatment.

I remember how odd it was, being back at school a few weeks later. I was always the kind who needed to be reminded: no running in the halls. Now, I couldn't even keep up with the flow of hall traffic. I was given a free pass with my teachers, leave early, come in late, special chair, whatever I needed. But no one else really knew what was wrong with me. All they knew was that some slow girl was holding up traffic. They only knew I gasped and grabbed at walls when I stepped wrong, and I couldn't hold a door open. Nothing looked like it was wrong. I didn't have a brace at that point, and the cane I tried only got in the way. I was stubborn, too, and proud. I didn't want people to know I was hurt, and I sat in the uncomfortable chairs and I battled the crowds and I turned in my key to the elevator.

Oh look, more work to do. Maybe I'll continue this later, though I kind of think it's out of me now so I probably won't. There's not much more: 'Then I got bored and depressed and made EMG out of desperation and now I'm not depressed and I don't think being bored will ever be a problem. The end.'

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