Wednesday, June 25, 1997

Joournal entry, viewing the car

6/25 Sinéad takes me to Highland Hospital (more like Calcutta without the sacred cows than the Highlands of Scotland) where they moved Neil to operate on his face. So depressing after Kaiser. He looks better every day. Just to be near him, I massage his feet. He sticks his toe into my boob. Feeling a bit better are we?

Yesterday we went to the wrecked car and took our things out, and to banish ghosts. (Blood over the car and my book of Scottish kings we were reading from when it happened. The other day, he drilled me on the dates of the kings, our first attempt at reclaiming our lives.

I couldn’t remember very much, I worry about his concussion, his spinal fluid’s quit leaking. In my Famine book, a list of Scottish kings on Kaiser memo paper—something he’d written down to wile away the hours. I nearly cried when I found it. I took his jacket home and washed the blood from it.

The car was in worse shape than I expected. I noted the bent steering wheel, the broken windshield and the missing rear-view mirror where Neil’s face made impact, the driver’s seat shoved forward from my body. The right fender utterly crushed, the doors buckled (they wouldn’t open after the accident—we had to crawl out the window). The engine dropped down like it was designed to do.)

After leaving Neil (who goes into surgery at 7 AM tomorrow), Sinéad and I went out for sushi in San Anselmo. Things are still pretty foggy. The baby’s pelvis was crushed by Myle’s truck, an accident while we were in LA with Barney O’Reilly, Jr. Dave was in an accident too. Dave takes me back to Verona’s for I ache so much I’m weeping, and I can’t stand the noise of the TV at Sinead’s. I have no reserves left whatsoever. I resort to a Percodan to relieve the pain. Weep uncontrollably in the hot tub.

It hurts to sit up and write. I’m still at Verona’s, dependent on Vicki and Sinéad. Vicki took me home to get clothes, pillows and videos on Fri. She had a Dr.’s appt. in Santa Rosa. I was exhausted from the ride north and the heat. I dozed in the car, in suspended time. The trees, and parking garage seems so surreal.

I visited my chiropractor. He said it looked pretty bad, my back was swollen too. Didn’t want to do anything for a while. Vro’s to come home today. I’ve been tending Herman who’s not so chipper, with a crushed lumbar vertebra.

I begin my mornings with Ibuprofen and a hot tub. My left knee and right ribcage hurt the most—especially my right kidney, where Niel’s knee caught me square on (which probably saved his life, keeping him from going through the window, though my lung was punctured in the process). I can barely walk or breathe. (Vicki and I check Herman into Novato Community Hospital for observation.) I’m afraid to be alone, and so push myself too much: I break out into adrenaline sweats and can’t stop shaking.

I can barely handle clothes on my body, more than half of it is bruised, mainly my left side. Huge hot hematomas on my thigh and upper arm. Feels like I broke something in my left hand. I can only sleep on my back (carefully), and every move is excruciating. Getting into and out of bed is an expedition. The hot tub is my only salvation.

I’m worried about scar tissue forming in my muscles and lung, so I try to do some exercise in the pool every day. Can’t use my left arm yet. My lung is bothering me. I miss two paid performances I was supposed to do with Kirk Whipple in Santa Rosa. I sound like a bellows, breathless, wheezy. No way I could read poems out loud—even sitting down. Peggy Maddock’s husband tells me it takes 6 months or more. I’m beginning to believe him.

6/26/ Alison called to say Neil came through the post-op fine, though it took longer than expected. I begin to weep. My stomach’s been in knots since 7 AM. I said a mantra for him over and over.

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